Tips for nausea

by Réka Morvay on December 23, 2023

Nausea is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, which happily fades of its own accord somewhere around the beginning of the second trimester (around week 12) for most women. It is often called morning sickness, which is a complete misnomer, as it can occur at any time of day.

Some consider this nausea to be a protective factor, discouraging the mother from ingesting anything potentially dangerous to the developing fetus.

There are some things that are known to make nausea worse. For many women, being hungry (low blood sugar) paradoxically triggers nausea, so try carrying around some bland food items to chew on, like crackers or rice puffs. If you find that nausea is worst in the morning (which is after a long period of fasting when your blood sugar levels are lowest), be prepared with a few crackers or some sweetened tea on your nightstand to raise your blood sugar first thing after waking up. Try to eat more frequent, but smaller meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels even. Also make sure you get enough protein, and that your meals are balanced between carbohydrate and protein content.

Pregnant women are generally more sensitive to smells and tastes, which also means that strong smells and tastes are now more likely to make you gag. Avoiding trigger smells/tastes and keeping up good oral hygiene (brushing your teeth) could help you with this problem. Also consider mints or chewing gum to drown out unpleasant smells and tastes.

Iron, which can be found in high concentrations in most prenatal vitamin formulations, can also cause nausea. If you notice that your nausea peaks right after taking your prenatal vitamin (regardless of the time of day when you take it), consider switching to a formulation with less iron, or taking folic acid supplements in addition to consuming a varied diet instead of taking a prenatal vitamin supplement. Folic acid is the only supplement that has actually been shown to prevent fetal abnormalities.

Some anti-nausea remedies:

Mint. Peppermint especially is known to settle the stomach. Try drinking it in tea form, or take it as candy, or chewing gum, whatever works best.

Ginger. Fresh ginger is best, but in a pinch, ginger ale may work, too.

Water. Keeping hydrated is important anyway, but the feeling of a dry mouth may trigger nausea. Drink up!

Acupressure wristbands. Can’t hurt to try!

Vitamin B6. Available in Hungary without a prescription as MagneB6 (includes a magnesium supplement), vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce nausea in the first trimester. If you’re wary of adding artificial supplements to your diet, try increasing your vitamin B6 intake by eating more bananas or baked potatoes with the skin on, both excellent sources.

If you find that your nausea prevents you from getting adequate nutrition, or that you literally cannot keep food down, consult your doctor as soon as possible. There are anti-nausea medications on the market, though these are not widely prescribed in Hungary.

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