Perhaps no single physical symptom quite exceeds the discomfort and inconvenience of morning sickness, and no other symptom can affect your pregnancy and diet so greatly. When you feel sick, you don’t want to eat—but of course you have to, to nourish your body as well as provide nutrients for your baby. So how can you eat well during pregnancy if you are dealing with morning sickness? In this article, we discuss what causes morning sickness and possible changes you can make to your diet to ease your nausea.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is caused by the hormonal adjustments your body is undertaking as you accustom yourself to being pregnant. For many women, morning sickness is the first sign of pregnancy. Other lucky moms may never experience a bout of nausea for the next nine months. For some expectant mothers, morning sickness ends in about the fourth month of pregnancy. For others, morning sickness stretches on well into the third trimester.
Because morning sickness varies so greatly from pregnant woman to pregnant woman, and because its exact cause is not really understood, it can be difficult to treat. Many over the counter remedies for nausea are off-limits to pregnant women, so finding a way to ease symptoms can be daunting. However, there are dietary changes that can be made to make morning sickness less of a debilitating issue.
Dietary Solutions to Ease Nausea
If you have morning sickness, you may feel like eating only refined carbohydrates, such as crackers and toast. However, don’t go overboard with these foods, which don’t really address the underlying cause of the nausea and can contribute to weight gain. Instead, try to eat protein, as difficult as it may be. If the thought of eating meat turns your stomach, consider alternative sources of protein like raw organic nuts, raw organic nut butters, whole organic eggs, and chicken broth.
You can also ease your queasiness with ginger. But don’t purchase ginger ale, which is loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Instead, make your own ginger tea by boiling slices of ginger root in filtered water. Sweeten with stevia and sip throughout the morning. You can also add ginger to your homemade chicken broth to help ease your nausea while still getting the protein you need.
The important thing is to stay nourished and hydrated. Hunger can cause you to feel faint and dehydration can cause an entire range of health issues for both you and the baby. So even when you don’t feel like eating or drinking anything, go ahead and try to use these dietary suggestions to stay on track.
Drinking water is also crucial during morning sickness. You need to replenish your lost fluids, and drinking water can help you stay on track. At a minimum, you should be drinking half your body weight in water every day. Add more if you are vomiting, or if you drink caffeinated beverages.
What If It Doesn’t Get Better?
If your nausea is getting to the point that you cannot function, then it’s time to speak to your OB/GYN about prescription medications that can help bring the symptoms back under control. Many women have found that with prescription medications and the dietary changes outlined above, they can function quite easily throughout their first trimester.
If you are vomiting frequently, be on the lookout for the signs of dehydration. These symptoms include dark, scanty urine, thirst, loss of appetite, dry mouth, fatigue, weakness, and loss of skin elasticity. These symptoms are important to monitor not only because of the problems that dehydration causes for the mother, but for the baby as well. If you feel you may be dehydrated, call your OB/GYN or head to the nearest emergency room immediately for treatment.