Nausea or Morning Sickness During Pregnancy: Tips for Indian Moms
Fitterfly - Team Nutrition
- Posted On June 18, 2019
Nausea or Morning Sickness
Morning sickness, which includes nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) is typically caused by pregnancy hormones, especially in the first trimester. Having said that, morning sickness can happen any time during the day and the name is a misnomer.
Some studies say it happens to over 50% of all pregnant women, while others report it that 80% women experience it at some point during their pregnancy. But, there are many women who do not have any morning sickness.
Usually it goes away on its own during the second trimester without any intervention and in some cases, women experience vomiting towards the end of their third trimester.
Morning sickness and diet
Spicy or oily food may irritate a sluggish digestive system and cause heartburn, indigestion leading to nausea and vomiting if you are prone to it. But, this may happen regardless of pregnancy, which is why one can’t conclude that spicy food causes morning sickness.
Apart from the surge in certain hormones, vomiting during pregnancy has many causes including conditions like hypertension or even if there is a spike or drop in blood glucose. If it is not mild and affecting your food intake, your doctor will usually determine the cause.
How much is too much?
In the first trimester, many women are worried about their baby receiving enough nutrition because they are not able to eat enough or they are throwing up. Many studies show that it is normal and usually not a cause of worry even if the pregnant woman loses a kilo or two in the first trimester or if you are unable to eat adequate calories. And this is okay provided the blood tests and BMI is maintained and as long as you are not dehydrated and able to function normally when there is no vomiting.
If it affects your day to day work, your doctor may prescribe an anti-emetic. In some cases, if it is too severe, which is a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum during which the patient may experience dehydration or dizzy spells. So the patient may need to be hospitalised for treatment to maintain hydration and energy levels.
Sometimes, when pregnancy symptoms like nausea stop, people worry about a miscarriage. This is not always true. It is better not to worry about nausea coming and going and check with your doctor if you have specific concerns.
Diet tips for dealing with mild nausea or vomiting
Some studies have found that ginger is effective in treating nausea, however there is not enough evidence to take extra ginger as a medical treatment.You may continue using it in your cooking or in hydrating beverages like ginger tea, ginger ale etc. Some women even find respite by chewing a small grated sliver of ginger with fresh lime.
Here’s some guidance from our expert dietitians at Fitterfly Pregnancy Nutrition program on how to alleviate morning sickness.
- Avoid strong smells that trigger nausea.
This is a good idea though it varies for each person. Some pregnant women can’t bear the smell of rice, dals when it is being cooked while others find they can bear the scent of oranges and so on. Try and avoid cooking or eating whichever foods trigger nausea or vomiting.Using an exhaust fan also helps rid the house of an offensive cooking odours.
- Keep some crackers by your bed and try to eat a piece before waking up.
This is one remedy which works for many women. Some prefer crackers, while others prefer plain toast. Both are plain foods and help settle the stomach but there is no research to show why this helps.
- Try not to have a long gap between meals.
If your health permits and your diet plan allows for proper portions, it is a good idea to eat some snacks in between meals.
- Avoid packaged foods.
Women often complain that they find it difficult to cook healthy snacks in addition to meals so they find it easy to carry biscuits or chips. However, these are avoidable as they usually have extra sodium, sugar and preservatives which are not good during pregnancy. If you have to order food or snacks, look up our detailed Guide for Eating Out During Pregnancy.
- Some women report that home remedies like dried gooseberry (amla), desi mouth fresheners (mukhwas) like jeera goli work like a charm.
It is usually safe to eat these in small quantities. However, you need to check the ingredients if you are buying any such items for things like sugar or added food colouring. Again, we recommend you use homemade ones.
Other remedies you can try:
- Ask your doctor about Vitamin B6 supplements
This is effective in some cases and doctors may recommend Vitamin B6 supplements to alleviate vomiting.
- Try not to lie down immediately after eating
Walk for about 10 minutes after meals to help digest the food.
Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy
Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.
Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: its role in placental development
Morning sickness and thyroid function in normal pregnancy.
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