A woman’s body endures many changes during the first trimester of pregnancy. These include the introduction of human chorionic gonadotropin, also called the pregnancy hormone, and an increase in estrogen production. Hormonal changes, combined with stretching abdominal muscles and a heightened sense of smell, cause nausea in up to 90 percent of pregnancies. Reduce nausea during pregnancy by identifying and avoiding foods and environmental influences that make you feel unwell.
Controlling Your Diet
1Eat foods that are known to combat nausea. Some foods that provide the nutrients and calories necessary to sustain your pregnancy also soothe morning sickness. But don’t be too concerned if your diet isn’t as balanced as you’d like it to be during early pregnancy. Many women have a very short list of foods they can tolerate during the first trimester.
- The starch in whole grains and legumes reduces acid in your digestive tract, making nausea less severe. Combine complex carbohydrates with lean protein for an energy boost that may improve your condition. Examples of whole grains include whole wheat bread and corn. Examples of legumes include beans and peas. Lean protein can include any cut of meat or poultry where the fat has been trimmed, or meat alternatives such as tofu.
- Bland crackers will settle your stomach when you can’t keep other foods down.
2Use fresh ginger in your food and drink. Fresh ginger is an alternative remedy for all types of nausea, and is safe for pregnant women to consume. Grate ginger root and sprinkle it into tea or seltzer water. You may also bake it into cookies. Store bought ginger ale or ginger candy can help, but read labels to make sure products are derived from pure ginger instead of artificial flavoring.
3Eat less, but more often. Preparing small meals and snacks, and frequently consuming them, can help to reduce nausea. Overeating or gorging on food infrequently will increase the feelings of nausea right after you eat.
- Hunger pangs may trigger nausea, so try to start eating before you feel hungry, or immediately after you feel an urge for food.
- Do not overeat. Eat until you are satisfied, then wait until the urge for food returns before you continue eating.
4Avoid foods that trigger nausea. The types of food that trigger nausea change from person to person and can even change throughout the course of your pregnancy. So, it is important to monitor the types of foods that make you nauseous during the different phases of your pregnancy and avoid them.
- Foods to steer clear of include fatty foods, spicy foods, foods with a strong odor and foods with unappealing texture. Foods you previously enjoyed may seem unappetizing during early pregnancy, and you should avoid eating foods that make you feel nauseous when you think about or smell them.
- Do not drink alcohol at any time during pregnancy. Besides subjecting the fetus to birth defects, it also exacerbates nausea.
5Drink plenty of water. Doctors recommend that you drink at least 1.5 quarts (1.4 liters) of water per day to keep yourself hydrated and prevent vomiting.
- If food often seems unappetizing, drink small amounts of water throughout the day. Carbonated seltzer water might be more soothing to your stomach than plain water.
- Make sure you are not chugging water first thing in the morning. Try keeping some saltines on the bedside table, nibble them in the morning, and wait at least 30 minutes after waking up to consume any water.
6Take your prenatal vitamins with food and water. The nutrients in your vitamins can overwhelm your digestive system and make nausea worse, so make sure to eat before you take the vitamins and drink plenty of water before, with and after taking your vitamins.
- If your prenatal vitamin still bothers you when taken with a meal, talk to your physician about switching to a less potent vitamin until your nausea spells subside.
- Some prenatal vitamins contain extra vitamin B6 to combat nausea.
7Add sources of vitamin B6 to your diet. Vitamin B6 can help control nausea. Try eating foods rich in vitamin B6, such as chicken breast, beef, chickpeas, potatoes, and bananas. You can also talk to your doctor about taking a B6 vitamin — 100mg twice daily should help with nausea.
- Vitamin B6 supplements can be combined with ½ tablet of Unisom (doxylamine) — this combination nearly mimics an FDA approved morning sickness/nausea medication called Diclegis.
- Do not use doxylamine if you are still breastfeeding another baby.
Controlling your Environment
1Adjust your environment to eliminate nausea triggers. Whenever it is in your control, avoid perfumes, candles and household cleaners that seem to bring on queasiness. Other environmental factors that may need to be adjusted include room temperature and lighting.
2Get plenty of sleep. Sleep for at least eight hours per night and rest whenever you feel tired. When your body is weakened due to exhaustion you are more likely to succumb to nausea.
3Avoid stress. Stress increases the amount of acid in the stomach, which, in turn, can lead to queasiness and nausea. Take time out of schedule to plan some relaxation time and, whenever possible, avoid the triggers of stress. This should help in eliminating feelings of nausea.
- If your nausea is particularly bad, it may be wise to take some time off of work. This will reduce your overall stress levels while allowing you to recover from debilitating episodes of nausea.
- Prenatal yoga, meditation, aromatherapy or a warm bath can be useful tactics to reduce stress.
- For more measures to help reduce stress, see the Reduce-Stress wikiHow page.
4Get plenty of fresh air. Being in fresh air can help reduce nausea and can benefit the health and growth of your child. So make sure to get plenty of fresh air during your pregnancy
- Avoid smoke and smoking at all costs. It can trigger nausea and also cause birth defects in your unborn child.
5Make sure your home is clean. Hire a cleaning service or enlist the help of friends to help you clean your home. As odors, sights, and other environmental factors have been shown to trigger or reduce feelings of nausea, it is important you keep your living space neat and clean.
- If you own cats, never attempt to clean their litter box yourself while pregnant, as you could potentially contract toxoplasmosis and pass it on to your unborn child.
Using Alternative Treatments
1Understand the limitations of alternative treatments. Some home remedies, folk remedies and alternative treatments suggested to eliminate nausea during pregnancy have yet to be proven effective by medical science, while others are merely supported by anecdotal evidence. However, claims by women who have experienced nausea during pregnancy suggest that certain alternative therapies can provide relief, so they are worth considering.
2Try acupressure. Acupressure, which is a method of applying pressure to certain points of the body to promote increased blood flow has shown some efficacy in treating nausea. Acupressure wristbands can be useful in dealing with pregnancy related nausea. The wristbands can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies and drugstores.
3Get acupuncture therapy. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin metal needles into pressure points on various parts of your body. Some women find it helpful in treating nausea during pregnancy.
- When seeking acupuncture, make sure you find a respected and well-reviewed acupuncturist.
4Undergo hypnosis therapy. While there is no scientific research to support this, some women claim undergoing hypnosis therapy can help reduce feelings of nausea during pregnancy. Hypnosis attempts to alter existing feelings or patterns of behavior by making suggestions at the subconscious level.
5Utilize aromatherapy. While some candles, scented oils, and other aroma-based products have been proven to trigger nausea, some women claim that immersing yourself in the right aroma can reduce the effects of nausea during pregnancy. If you seek to use aromatherapy to treat your pregnancy related nausea, you will necessarily have to undergo a process of trial and error to identify the smells and scents that are right for you.
- Lemon essential oils have been shown to reduce feelings of nausea during pregnancy.
6Do Yoga. Yoga, which is a form of meditative stretching, can help in reducing pregnancy related nausea by reducing stress. Some positions that help alleviate nausea include:
- The modified reclining hero pose
- The downward-facing, cross-legged pose
- The inverted pose