If you’re an expecting mother, chances are you’ve heard about or experienced those two terrifying words: morning sickness. Feeling nauseous or sick is extremely common for women during their first few weeks of pregnancy. Although, whoever coined the phrase “morning sickness” really wasn’t specific enough—it can happen all day, all the time, at any time.
According to Fit Pregnancy, nausea in the first trimester is normal for up to 85% of women. For some, morning sickness is just a slightly sick feeling; for others, it’s a 24/7 battle. Nausea symptoms usually begin about four to eight weeks post-conception, and continue throughout the first trimester—although for some women nausea can be a common feeling for the entire pregnancy. Luckily for most, morning sickness symptoms ease up after 14 weeks, and get easier with subsequent pregnancies.
However, hoping that your nausea will eventually end doesn’t necessarily make the current feeling of ickiness any better. How can you make it through those first few strenuous weeks? Luckily we’ve compiled the best ways to conquer morning sickness.
One of the simplest ways to conquer morning sickness is to make sure you eat little and eat often. Not having enough food in you or having too much can sometimes influence the nausea you feel. Eat small snacks and meals throughout the day to keep your sugar and protein levels up and your stomach at an even pace. Choose foods and snacks that are high in protein and rich in vitamin B, such as nuts. Avoid anything rich, spicy, acidic, fatty or fried that could trigger nausea, and choose foods which will pack in the most nutrients in a small amount, that you can eat throughout the day.
More often than not, pregnancy sickness is caused by foods we simply smell—you don’t even have to eat them for them to upset your stomach. Miriam Erick, a senior dietician and nutritionist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, says:
Morning sickness is often smell-associated. Estrogen is the hormone that’s responsible for the sense of smell, and if you’re a high estrogen hormone person—like when you’re pregnant—you have the radar nose of pregnancy. Ugly smells, smells you can’t get away from and potent smells will make you nauseous.
Erick recommends carrying a fresh scent along with you during the first trimester of your pregnancy. Choose a bottle of lemon extract or fresh rosemary to add to your bag, and sneak a little sniff when you feel a wave of nausea coming over you from a smell closeby. You can’t always choose where and when a smell will make you feel ill, but being prepared is a great way to combat those pesky scents.
Most importantly, be your own best advocate during your pregnancy. Track your symptoms and queasiness for the first few weeks to see what sets your stomach off, and what helps to calm it. Once you have a better idea of how your body responds to certain conditions, you’ll be better capable of taking steps to change your situation. Don’t be afraid to speak up during your pregnancy, and ask others to make small changes that can help with your nausea. Does your spouse’s soap smell set you off? What about your coworker’s afternoon popcorn? When you know more about what causes issues, you can feel more comfortable toward being vocal about your needs.
And of course, if your morning sickness is severe, or continues past what is considered a “normal” timeline for most women, don’t be afraid to mention something to your doctor and ask for his or her opinion. You may be all about self-sufficiency and powering through, but don’t feel like your nausea has to be a one-woman show. Reach out, ask for help when needed and conquer through your morning sickness.
During the first few weeks of pregnancy, morning sickness can be debilitating for even the strongest of women. But, it doesn’t have to be. By eating high-protein, small meals consistently, keeping a fresh scent handy and asking for help when needed, you can quickly conquer your morning sickness. Try some of these tips to pass through your first trimester with flying colors.