Morning Sickness: How to Handle it and How Our Prenatal Can Help
We hate to call it morning sickness because we know that term is almost offensive if you’re experiencing the all day every day type of symptoms that many women feel during pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting can hit at any time of day, and are one of the most common and most dreaded pregnancy symptoms.
While morning sickness typically only lasts through the first few months of pregnancy, it can be hard to hold out hope that better days are ahead. After all, it comes at a time when anxiety around pregnancy loss is high and you have little support to lean on since you are likely not sharing the news with many outside of a few close family or friends. We hear from lots of mamas that they’re just counting down the days until the end of the First Trimester, and we get it.
So since our aim is always to inform and empower, we want to share with you what we know about nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, how our prenatal vitamin can help ease some of your symptoms, and how best to take it if you’re hit with queasiness.
What Causes Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy?
There are several theories as to what causes nausea and vomiting in pregnancy
- Hormones - several hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and human gonadotropin hormone (HCG) rise dramatically in pregnancy. During the first trimester, the body is responsible for the production of these hormones as the placenta is being formed. Near the end of the first trimester, the placenta takes over production of hormones, and for many women, nausea and vomiting starts to subside. It is believed that the burden on the body of the rapidly increasing hormone load is to blame for nausea and vomiting.
- Vitamin deficiencies - while hormones almost certainly play a role in morning sickness, the intensity of the nausea and vomiting you experience may be influenced by your nutrient status before and during pregnancy. Nutrient deficiencies have been linked to more intense nausea and vomiting. While many vitamins can contribute, the most common deficiencies are Vitamin B6, B12, Magnesium, Zinc, and Vitamin D. This is part of the reason we recommend starting a high quality prenatal at least a few months before trying to conceive. We also recommend talking to your doctor or midwife about preconception bloodwork to understand your nutrient status and where you might need to fill specific gaps before becoming pregnant.
- Genetics - there seems to be a genetic component to morning sickness. If your mother or sister had bad nausea or vomiting in pregnancy, you stand a greater chance of also experiencing it. This started as an anecdotal observation which was then further studied, with findings suggesting that there are certain genes that are associated with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Two contenders, genes known as GDF15 and IGFBP7, are produced in large quantities by the placenta in early pregnancy and have a receptor in an area of the brainstem linked to vomiting and reduced food intake. This could be passed down from mother to baby, supporting the genetic theory.
- Evolutionary protection - some believe that nausea and food aversions are nature’s way of preventing you from eating food that easily spoils or can harbor pathogens (things like meat and fresh produce) as a way to protect a fetus from a dangerous foodborne illness.
- Gut health - we know that gut health influences overall health in many ways, but a certain detrimental gut bacteria called H.pylori has been found in 90% of women diagnosed with the severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). We know gut health is so critical for mamas and babies in general which is why we developed our Pre/Probiotic. It supports a healthy microbiome and helps prevent dysbiosis like that seen with H. Pylori.
While there are many remedies for pregnancy nausea, finding one that works for you can be a bit of an iterative process - testing and trying different things to find what works at different times. Think of these remedies as tools in your toolbox, and if one isn’t working, try another.
And before we get into it, we want to take a minute to address the severe form of morning sickness we mentioned earlier. It occurs in up to 3% of mamas and is known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). HG causes vomiting multiple times throughout the day. It can make holding even water down impossible, and it can make reading remedies like these maddening as they provide very little relief. HG can be dangerous for both you and baby if left unchecked. If this is you, we recommend you reach out to your provider for medication and/or fluids.
Now, onto the remedies:
- Ginger - ginger has long been known as a cure for nausea of all causes. Try sucking on ginger lozenges or sipping on ginger tea. We love Tummydrops lozenges and Earth Mama Morning Wellness tea.
- Vitamin B6 - as we mentioned, Vitamin B6 deficiency has been linked to pregnancy nausea and supplementing with up to 100mg of Vitamin B6 is considered safe and effective in fighting pregnancy nausea. Our Prenatal Multi includes a very supportive 40mg of the well absorbed pyridoxal-5-phosphate for nausea support, but you can safely take up to 60mg more if you are still experiencing symptoms.
- Magnesium - Magnesium is another common deficiency and topical sprays and lotions or Epsom salt bath soaks can help nausea as Magnesium is well absorbed through the skin. We love Ancient Minerals spray and 8 Sheep Organics lotion. Our Prenatal Multi contains 400mg of gentle but effective Magnesium Bisglycinate. It can safely be taken alongside additional supplementation through the skin.
- Acupressure - applying pressure to the P6 or Nei Guan point on the wrist is commonly used to help relieve nausea. Companies like Sea Band and Reliefband make bands that you can wear on your wrist to target these points.
- Acupuncture - like acupressure, acupuncture can be useful in fighting nausea. We recommend finding a licensed practitioner who has significant experience in working with pregnant women.
- Blood sugar balance - keeping your blood sugar stable can help manage nausea. Try to eat several small meals throughout the day, and include a protein and/or fat at each one to keep blood sugar stable. Our Collagen Protein is a great way to add protein to your meals and snacks - it’s flavorless and easily mixes with any liquid and many soft foods.
Know that these remedies may not work all the time or for everybody, so keep them all in mind and cycle through them as you need to find some relief. You might even keep a little kit in your purse or readily available at home - a bag or basket full of some ginger lozenges, water, Vitamin B6, topical Magnesium spray, acupressure bands, and some snacks like salted cashews, bland crackers, and bananas.
How Our Prenatal Can Help
We designed our prenatal with optimal health for mamas at the core of its purpose. This means we considered how to optimally nourish mamas to replenish and maintain optimal nutrient levels so that mamas start out pregnancy well-nourished and without unwanted deficiencies.
Of course we always recommend nutrient testing if available to you, but in general, the longer in advance you start your prenatal, the better chance you have at avoiding severe morning sickness due to vitamin deficiencies.
We included optimal but safe doses of key nutrients known to support nausea, like 40mg of Vitamin B6 (as well absorbed pyridoxal-5-phosphate) and 400mg of Magnesium (as gentle but effective Magnesium Bisglycinate).
Tips for Taking It
Prenatals have a reputation for being difficult to swallow (literally) when mamas are feeling sick and queasy. This is part of the reason we formulated ours as a powder, as it is easier to swallow, digest, and absorb. However, most prenatals do dose at minimal amounts, so occasionally mamas will experience a bit of adjusting to the higher nutrient content in ours. You may notice things like brighter yellow urine or some cramping in your tummy. As you get into the thick of First Trimester nausea, you may also find it more challenging to get down (like most foods and drinks that aren’t totally bland!). Here are some tips for adjusting:
- Take with food: whether you’re experiencing nausea or not, we always recommend taking your Prenatal Multi with food for best absorption.
- Start small: start with ¼ scoop per day, then go to ½ scoop per day, and then 1 scoop per day.
- Split the dose: if you’re already pregnant and worried about getting enough Folate or other nutrients, try splitting the dose throughout the day (you can simply scoop a full scoop in the bag and then shake a bit off to blend with your favorite beverage at each meal, leaving the scoop face up in the bag so you know how much is left in your dose for the day.
- Cut the flavor: If the light sweetness is too much for your nausea, try mixing it with something bland like cooked oats to dilute the flavor, or adding oats to a simple smoothie. You can also cut the sweetness with more tart flavors like lemon, raspberry, and cacao.
- Change the temperature: some mamas do better with icy cold beverages or room temperature foods rather than warm or hot, as aromas that trigger nausea are generally more pronounced when warm. Play around with the temperature to see what works for you.
- Change the texture: if liquids aren’t working for you, try something more substantial like yogurt, or try sipping as a simple smoothie with banana and nut butter through a straw.
- Rest easy: If you do throw up shortly after taking your Prenatal Multi, you do not need to take more later in the day. Just try again tomorrow with a smaller amount at a time and rest assured that this will pass and you and your baby are still getting great nourishment.
We know you’re longing to share your exciting news and to feel like yourself again so that you can enjoy the fun parts of pregnancy. So hang in there mama. Know that you’re doing your best to stay nourished by taking our Prenatal Multi. Give yourself grace and accept that you can’t do it all right now. It will get easier and it will be worth it!
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