Nausea of Pregnancy
Nausea of pregnancy can look very different for each individual. It varies from
mild to severe, lasting from a few weeks to months, arriving in the morning or at
night, and it can include vomiting, or not. During first trimester, some form of
nausea is not uncommon. Approximately 50% of pregnancies are affected by
these symptoms at some stage. Nausea often resolves after the first 12–14
weeks of pregnancy, however it can persist for months (and occasionally for the
full length of the pregnancy).
As mentioned, nausea may occur at any time of the day but is most common in the morning, thus the term “morning sickness”. Considering the many hormonal and metabolic changes that take place to permit healthy fetal growth and development, in addition to the emotional adjustment to impending parenthood, the occurrence of these symptoms is not entirely
surprising. Mild symptoms of nausea and vomiting during the first trimester are
often linked to the numerous hormonal changes that are occurring and are
considered a positive indicator of a healthy pregnancy (however the absence of
nausea does not automatically indicate a problem). A higher incidence of nausea
is seen in those with recent or chronic elevations of stress, and in subsequent
pregnancies. There is a lot that can be done to ease, or eliminate nausea
naturally, but in certain more advanced cases, a referral might be warranted.
Nutrition: Eat smaller meals throughout the day and try to combine some protein
with each meal to help stabilize blood sugar levels (this is not always easy as you
can only eat what is appealing and in many cases this is simply crackers and dry
toast!). Ideally avoid letting your stomach get fully empty (even leave a snack on
your bedside table just in case). Avoid fried foods as excess fats increase bile
production and might exacerbate the issue. Many women do well with salty,
sour, and cold foods and drinks.
Beverages: Sip on ginger tea throughout the day. To make: combine 1
tablespoon of fresh grated ginger in 1 cup of boiling water for at least ten
minutes. Chamomile and peppermint tea are also helpful for treating nausea.
Also, make sure that you are adequately hydrated as dehydration can exacerbate
nausea. Some women like sour lemonade. Homemade or store bought
electrolytes can be helpful. Remember, if you are actually vomiting, a significant
amount of fluid and natural minerals are lost every time.
Supplements: Studies have shown that vitamin B6 (aka Pyridoxine) significantly
reduces the severity of morning sickness. As well, if you are unable to take
ginger as a tea, ginger root extract capsules are a good alternative. Vitamin C
has also been shown to help with nausea. In addition, Milk thistle in tincture or
capsule form supports the liver and helps it with the burden of excess hormones.
Magnesium has a role in nausea of pregnancy as well. As always, please come
in for a visit to get an individual treatment plan that is safe and effective for you
Acupuncture and acupressure: The point Pericardium 6 has been known to
alleviate nausea in research. It can be needled in the clinic, or you can apply
acupressure to the point yourself, or using sea bands from the drugstore. As
well, an acupuncture protocol with multiple points designed for your unique
picture can make a world of difference in nausea, stress, and overall wellbeing.
Other: Stress management, wherever possible, can only help the situation. As
well, if vomiting is excessive, your primary care provider might recommend
If you are suffering, try some of these tips, and don’t suffer alone. We are here to
help! Book in for a complimentary 15 min meet and greet to discuss my
approach and your concerns today!
Dr. Stephanie Peltz has been practicing naturopathic medicine since 2008. Her area of expertise is in women's and childhood health including preconception care, fertility concerns, pregnancy, and postpartum care. You can find her at Dupont Naturopathic Family Centre on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other Saturday. Click here to make an appointment