Morning sickness, what a misnomer. This pregnancy ailment, experienced by 90% of women, can have the ability to really blight the first few months of pregnancy. Morning sickness is not really morning sickness at all. For most women the sickness can hit at any time of the day, with some feeling the effects from dawn till dusk. Not all women actually vomit, however the effects of permanently feeling nauseous shouldn’t be underestimated.

We’re not entirely sure yet of the mechanism behind morning sickness – there are several theories out there. The most commonly thought reason is that morning sickness is in response to the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) that is at its highest level in the early part of pregnancy. This hormone is released from the implanting ball of cells, and serves to keep the lining of the womb a rich and hospitable environment for the soon to be fetus and baby.

Another common, although more disputed, theory is that morning sickness serves to ‘protect’ the fetus from damaging chemicals at a time when it is at its most susceptible in terms of development (6-18 weeks). Many women find that they are naturally turned off alcohol in the first few months, and that the smell of someone smoking near them can make them feel revolting. Others find that meat or strong cheeses turn their nose, which may be nature’s way of helping you to avoid foods that may carry nasties in them such as listeria (which can cross the placenta and potentially cause fatal harm).

So, what can we do to ease morning sickness? The good news is that for most women this will start to improve considerably after twelve weeks, for most resolving completely by twenty. For those that need help getting through these tough few weeks of morning sickness, here are some top tips and home remedies that can help.

How to ease morning sickness

Carry small carbohydrate based snacks with you wherever you go to ease morning sickness.

1. Carry small carbohydrate based snacks with you wherever you go

Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced during the day can stave off the worst effects of nausea.  Pregnancy nausea relief foods​ like carb based snacks are quickly metabolised and so can help curb the feelings more quickly than other food items.

Eat a plain biscuit or a dry piece of toast as soon as you wake up to ease morning sickness

2. Eat a plain biscuit (such as Rich Tea), or a dry piece of toast as soon as you wake up

Often an empty stomach can exacerbate the nausea.

Eat little and often to ease morning sickness

3. Eat little and often

Give up the three meals a day habit, and move to eating double as many small meals a day. During pregnancy, the hormones designed to limber your body up for labour (yes, even this early in pregnancy) can affect other parts of your body, such as your gut. The sphincters that usually serve to keep food down, work less efficiently, and can sometimes allow food to travel back up the food pipe, making you feel sick (and contributing to acid reflux which is also common in pregnancy).

Keep hydrated to ease morning sickness

4. Keep hydrated

Dehydration is one of the most serious consequences of morning sickness. Always keep a bottle of water with you, and sip regularly. Downing great glugfulls will only worsen the feeling.

Avoid spicy greasy and garlicky foods to ease morning sickness

5. Avoid spicy, greasy and garlicky foods

These aggravate the digestive system and won’t do you any favours.

6. Sea-sickness bands

These bands, like the Sea-Band wrist band to relieve nausea, work according to the ancient Chinese principle of acupressure. Follow the instructions to place them correctly. They may be uncomfortable at first, but you’ll get used to them.

Ginger to ease morning sickness

7. Ginger

There is some evidence that raw ginger can help stave off nausea. Try adding grated fresh ginger to hot water and drinking first thing in the morning, or throughout the day as needed.

At the end of the day, if you’re really struggling then just eat what you can manage, even if that’s a chocolate bar or a slice of cake. At this stage of pregnancy the fetus has little nutritional needs, and so it’s best to eat something rather than nothing. You have the rest of your pregnancy to make up for it, and can pick back up a balanced and healthy diet when you start to feel better.

And remember, in extreme cases, if you haven’t been able to keep down anything, and even water is a struggle, then see your GP as there are medications that exist for serious cases.  

Read next:

The Jury is Out On These Morning Sickness Home Remedies​

What to Eat & What Not to Eat for a Healthy Pregnancy​

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