Sniff a Fresh Scent
Whether it’s the less-than-pleasant whiff of the garbage truck rumbling by, or the smell of your coworker’s perfume in a crowded elevator, certain scents will turn your tummy. “Morning sickness is often smell-associated,” says Miriam Erick, a senior dietician and nutritionist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and author of Managing Morning Sickness: A Survival Guide for Pregnant Women. “Estrogen is the hormone that’s responsible for the sense of smell, and if you’re a high estrogen hormone person — like when you’re pregnant — you have the radar nose of pregnancy. Ugly smells, smells you can’t get away from, and potent smells will make you nauseous.”
When you can’t open a window or walk away, try sniffing fresh scents. Carry a bottle of lemon extract or a sprig of fresh rosemary in your bag, and stealthily sneak a sniff when needed. “I call it the scent between you and the rest of the world,” says Erick.
You may be all about self-sufficiency and powering through your pregnancy, but being vocal about your feelings to those around you can help alleviate morning sickness misery. Your hubs probably doesn’t know that his scented soap makes you queasy, or that giving you a kiss — post pizza dinner, without brushing his teeth first — gets your gag reflex going. So tell him and let him know what little changes he can make to help you feel better. (And when your mood improves, he’ll feel better too.)
Track Your Nausea
Your queasiness may seem to come and go as it pleases, but by tuning into your body and your surroundings, you might find that your morning sickness isn’t so random. If you find yourself getting nauseated at the same time every evening, says Erick, it may be from the smells of your neighbors’ cooking. Queasy at 3 p.m. every day? A coworker’s afternoon microwave popcorn habit could be the culprit. Once you’ve identified your sickness triggers, you can take the appropriate steps to avoid them wherever possible.
Read also: 6 GENIUS WAYS TO FIGHT PREGNANCY FATIGUE
Find Foods That Work for You
Even if eating is the last thing you want to do, you need to get food into your stomach — it’s just a matter of figuring out what. “Every mom — and every queasy tummy — is different. What spells relief to one may spell P-U-K-E to another,” says Heidi Murkoff, co-author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Though there’s no hard-and-fast rule about which foods work best for all morning sick mamas-to-be, many women find that it’s easier to keep down certain types of food. Bland, carb-rich snacks like crackers, dry cereal, and pretzels have seen many preggo gals through morning sickness, as have ice cold treats like watermelon and Popsicles. Fatty and spicy foods may upset iffy stomachs, but if you find that they work for you, by all means, go ahead and eat ’em.
“If you’re concerned about getting enough nutrients, try chicken soup, which will help both hydrate you and give you some calories,” suggests Mehmet Oz, MD. “Also, eat more cold foods—hot foods may trigger nausea as they are more likely than cold foods to have an aroma.”
It sounds like a no-brainer, but getting your eight glasses a day can feel like a monumental effort when your stomach won’t keep anything down. Despite that, it’s essential to get your liquids in because the more dehydrated you become, the more nauseated you’ll become, according to Greenfield. To stay hydrated, try different ways of tricking your body into accepting fluids: Erick has found that for some women, salty snacks like potato chips and cheese curls “settle their stomachs and trigger their thirst.” Others swear by crunching on ice chips or sipping ice cold or piping hot beverages. “Temperature makes a difference,” Erick says. “If a beverage is a tepid middle temperature, it sometimes makes people gag.”
Read also: BACK PAIN DURING PREGNANCY: REASONS
Eat a Little — and Then a Little More
When it comes to eating, many women find that grazing all day settles their stomach. “I call it the Six Meal Solution,” says Murkoff. “When your tummy is empty, the stomach acids have nothing to feast on but your stomach lining, compounding nausea. On the other hand, eating too much can overtax the digestive system, also leading to quease. Keeping your tummy a little bit full all day and all night is the best defense against morning sickness.”
Murkoff suggests keeping a snack stash (crackers, pretzels, dried fruit, and nuts — or whatever you can keep down) nearby at all times. Nibbling a little bit before you get out of bed in the morning can stave off nausea, and a light bedtime snack will stabilize your blood sugar throughout the night. Eating small snacks throughout the day can also enable you to keep some food in your stomach at all times.
Get Creative with Ginger
Ginger has long been touted as a stomach soother, and studies have shown that it may help quell the queasies. Try adding a thin slice of ginger to hot water or tea, or sipping flat ginger ale. Doesn’t sound appetizing? Snack on a handful of crystallized ginger candy, nosh on gingersnaps or gingerbread, or find your own tasty way to soup up the root. Erick suggests microwaving ginger jam and pouring it over vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Nausea’s not easy to ignore, but finding something — anything — to take your mind off it may help you forget it for a while. Read a book, do a Sudoku puzzle, or go for a short walk. Some moms even claim that exercise relieves their nausea, but make sure to talk to your doctor before going that route. And of course, listen to your body — if you start feeling tired or more queasy, it’s time to stop.
Carry a Survival Kit
No matter how many times it happens, puking in public is not something you ever get used to. But to make the sticky situation bearable, don’t leave home without stocking your bag with a few morning sickness must-haves. Greenfield suggests packing a clean blouse and a toothbrush, toothpaste, or bottle of mouthwash to help you freshen up post-puke. Breath mints are a smart move, too. It’s also a good idea to carry a plastic (barf) bag for those dreaded can’t-hold-it-until-I-reach-a-bathroom moments, plus a snack stash of crackers or pretzels that you can munch when your stomach starts to feel empty or upset.
Consider Taking Meds
If you’re having a hard time keeping anything down, then it’s time to see a doctor who can determine whether you need to take something. According to Dr. Robert Atlas, ob-gyn and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Medical Center, a combination of vitamin B6 and the sleep aid Unisom has been proven to alleviate morning sickness symptoms for some. If that doesn’t work, a combination of stronger prescription medications, such as an acid reflux blocker, like Protonix, and a bowel stimulant, like Reglan, may also bring relief. (Of course, before taking any medication, you’ll want to check with your doctor.) “For severe sickness, you may want to talk to your doc about prescription medications like scopolamine, promethazine, prochlor- perazine and trimethobenzamide,” says Dr. Oz. “All have been shown to be safe for use during pregnancy.”
Once you get the okay, don’t worry about the meds harming your baby — the relief they may give you will be good for you and baby. “It’s important not to let morning sickness go too far in the interest of avoiding medication at all costs,” says Greenfield, “because the dehydration, calorie deprivation, and starvation state is really unhealthy for the baby.”