Nausea can affect up to 80 per cent of pregnant women and about half of these mamas-to-be will then actually vomit or retch.
To be honest, I’ve never really understood why it’s referred to as ‘morning sickness’, especially since studies have shown that the problem is oblivious to time of day. Only two per cent of women get feelings of nausea primarily in the morning, while 80 per cent have nausea throughout the day.
Nonetheless, I have found remedies that lots of women have found helpful, even if the science isn’t there to support it.
This one is a popular morning sickness remedy. The acupressure point of interest here is located on the inside of the wrist about three finger widths (a woman’s own finger widths to be exact) above the wrist crease, between the tendons.
Studies in support of acupressure for morning sickness are a bit of a mixed bag, to be honest. Some women reported that they did feel better, others found it didn’t help. Bottom line – no side effects and it certainly can’t hurt!
For women who like ginger anyway, this is a terrifically popular remedy for morning sickness. Studies showed results that are a little more positive than for many other complementary therapies.
However, before we get too excited, the studies tend to be small and really poorly conducted, and no standardised formula of ginger is used. So, drawing any kind of conclusion can be difficult.
Pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, seems to be the go-to vitamin to relieve morning sickness. There are two studies comparing vitamin B6 to a placebo for morning sickness, and the results look good for the nausea – but not for tackling vomiting.
The studies were small and not robust enough to be conclusive, but at the same time, B6 is considered to be safe and lots of my patients swear by its success rate.
Antihistamines are the oldest drugs used for the treatment of nausea and vomiting. They are totally safe in pregnancy, as are specific anti-nausea drugs such as metoclopromide and ondansetron. I personally think these tools are underutilised.
Feeling constantly nauseous, even without actually throwing up, is miserable and you can end up malnourished if all you can keep down are dry crackers and flat lemonade.
Keep it simple
Here are some general tips and tricks that I’ve found will help most women – even without the big studies to back them up:
- Drink plenty of fluids because being dehydrated makes nausea and vomiting much worse.
- Be sure to get enough sleep. Being tired also makes nausea and vomiting worse.
- Have frequent small meals or snacks throughout the day, instead of fewer big meals.
- If you know the smells and foods that set you off, avoid them.
- Avoid eating deep fried food and/or foods that are spicy.
- Feel better soon!