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Morning sickness

General characteristics

General characteristics

Morning sickness is the term used to describe the nausea and sometimes vomiting that can occur in the early stages of pregnancy, not only in the morning but sometimes all day long and well into the evening. It is considered a normal part of a healthy pregnancy by many professionals in the pregnancy field.

It occurs in over 50% of pregnancies and can begin within the first few weeks of pregnancy, often fading around weeks 12-18 but can occasionally last longer. Symptoms can range from mild nausea to severe and frequent vomiting, often triggered by smelling something such as a type of food or even things like petrol and other chemical smells. Occasionally, vomiting can become prolonged and pose a risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance which may require hospitalisation for a period.

Several theories exist as to why morning sickness occurs. One is that it is the body's natural way of avoiding ingesting or inhaling certain toxins such as food-borne microbes or substances that may genetically damage the baby. Interestingly, the stage of pregnancy when morning sickness usually occurs corresponds to the time when the development of the embryo is most susceptible to the influence of chemical disruptor's that may harm the baby's development (between weeks 6 and18). It may also be the influence of changing hormone levels as it can also occur in the early stages of taking contraceptive medicines or HRT. Some also suggest a link with low blood sugar and advise eating snacks such as plain crackers regularly to maintain blood sugar balance. Others have suggested that the pregnant body is undergoing a mild detox to make the mothers body a cleaner, healthier place for the developing baby. Excess acidity in the stomach and in the system generally is also a theory.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Try eating slightly smaller meals more often to help keep blood sugar levels more steady. Try to avoid being hungry by carrying crackers, rice cakes or other snacks wherever you go.

Try to avoid eating too many foods that will cause blood sugar drama such as sugary foods, white flour products and starchy foods. Increase your protein intake instead in the form of unsweetened yoghurts, organic dairy, nuts, etc.

Keep a packet of plain crackers by the bed and have a couple before getting out of bed in the morning. Its an 'old wives' remedy but has much merit. Some women insist they have to eat whilst still lying down to get the full anti-nausea benefit.

Sipping ice cold water can help to settle and calm the stomach and prevent vomiting.

Pieces of candied ginger, dried ginger in capsules and ginger ale taken throughout the day helps many women who suffer with nausea.

Eating a small amount of protein just before bed seems to help some women.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Strong peppermint tea can help to settle the stomach and reduce nausea and vomiting. Make a pint or so of tea using 2 -3 teaspoons of dried leaves, stand for 10 minutes before straining and sip throughout the day when nausea strikes.


Try chewing a pinch of mixed aromatic and tummy soothing seeds such as fennel, caraway, aniseed, cumin and dill seeds.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Studies have shown that multivitamins containing inorganic iron (i.e. from non-plant sources, which is most conventional pregnancy or pre-natal multivitamin/mineral formulas) can make symptoms of morning sickness more severe and that stopping them reduces this. Take nettle tea instead for a rich source of easily absorbed organic iron.

Acupressure, acupuncture and acupressure bands worn around the wrist have all helped reduce the severity of the symptoms of morning sickness for many pregnant women.

Many women find relief from taking a teaspoon of organic cider vinegar in a little water in the morning.

Try a half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a little water up to 3 times daily to help relieve nausea and reduce acidity in the stomach.

Many women find relief by taking Vitamin B6 tablets at a dosage of 10-20 mg daily.

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