If you talk to enough moms, you will learn that “morning sickness” can happen at any time of the day (or night!) Often dreaded, usually endured, rarely life-threatening (except in the case of Hyperemesis Gravidarum.)
Statistics vary, stating that 50 to 90% of pregnant women suffer from nausea at some time during pregnancy.
And it is non-existent for many women!
During the last four years, I have researched this topic exhaustively for my clients and it seems about time to compile all my info in one place.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could enjoy a nausea-free pregnancy?
So what causes nausea in pregnancy?
The most common hypothesis is that it is caused by pregnancy hormones; another hypothesis is that there is an evolutionary advantage to avoiding toxins in food.
However, when a significant number of women experience NO nausea during pregnancy, it makes me wonder what is really going on…
From an evolutionary survival perspective, it isn’t logical that women would be debilitated by nausea during pregnancy. Food aversions make sense, in terms of avoiding potential toxins, but nausea & (ahem) vomiting? Not so much.
From what I’ve seen in my clients, the most common causes of nausea/vomiting are:
Blood sugar issues
An overloaded liver
Emotional issues (mostly unconscious)
Ideally, moms-to-be would address these issues before conception. Most of the suggestions below work best if applied before pregnancy, so please share this with your family/friends who are planning on having a baby in the near future!Disclaimer: These suggestions may not work for everyone, so please don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if necessary.
How can we avoid Nausea in Pregnancy?
Address nutritional deficiencies.
Several studies have shown that prenatal vitamins taken before conception can prevent pregnancy nausea completely in some women.
Vitamin B6 especially, has been shown to alleviate pregnancy nausea. Best to start taking 100 mg/day for 2-3 months prior to conception, or start as soon as you know you are pregnant if it is not already in your prenatal vitamin. Make sure not to exceed 100 mg/day from supplements.
Even better, a whole-foods diet that includes organ meats (such as 3-4 oz of liver 2x a week) can provide all of the necessary B vitamins. Chicken liver paté is delicious and also provides iron, Vitamin A and folate (folic acid.) Here’s a great recipe for you (scroll down the linked page!)
Avoiding grains, legumes and excessive nuts can be helpful. All of these foods contain phytates, which inhibit mineral absorption. Many mamas who eat a low-carb Primal diet (no vegetable oils, low sugar, no grains or legumes) report no morning sickness or food cravings.
And of course, make sure you are sufficient in Vitamin D3 & Magnesium to ensure proper hormonal balance.
Update: Epsom salt baths before bed or Magnesium Oil rubbed into your skin every eve before bed may help with nausea, too. I am in the process of researching this, but it is certainly worth trying & definitely won’t hurt (test the Magnesium Oil on a small patch of skin first–I can’t use it because it makes me itch!) And Magnesium will help your sleep–you are going to need it!
Keep your blood sugar stable.
Small meals eaten more often are helpful in keeping your blood sugar stable. Also, eating low-carb (50-100 gm/day) can make a big difference for some women. Try eating protein & fat at every meal to slow down blood sugar rises.
Support your Liver.
The rise in estrogen during pregnancy can create nausea for some women if your liver isn’t adequately processing the excess. (Everyone’s hormonal balance is different, which is why I believe some women can eat a crappy diet & still have no pregnancy nausea.)
Sufficient protein can make a huge difference, since protein helps the liver to work properly. I suggest .7 to 1 gram of protein per day per pound of body weight as a general recommendation.
Milk Thistle is a herb that helps the liver detoxify. Best to start taking it 1-2 months before conception. An extract is easiest. Look for 70% silymarin. 240-280 mg/day.Pregnancy safety: Milk Thistle has been commonly used as a food, and a couple of small studies have shown no side effects when used in pregnancy, but most medical providers will not recommend it until larger studies are done.
Clear emotional issues.
For a few women, the distress of an unplanned pregnancy can trigger nausea. Or sometimes it is a belief that you need to feel nauseous in order to know you are pregnant or to have a healthy pregnancy (untrue, by the way!) Other beliefs can influence whether or not you have nausea.
EFT is really helpful in quickly clearing these issues and beliefs. If you have tried all the nutritional suggestions and you are still nauseous, it may be helpful to delve a bit deeper.
There are many home-remedies to reduce nausea, too. Ginger, acupressure bands, lemons, peppermint tea, etc. Easy enough to find on a Google search! But all of these may be totally unnecessary, if you can get your nutrition dialed in before conception and clear any emotional issues/beliefs that may contribute.
What has been your experience with pregnancy nausea?
What has helped?