12 Foods For Fighting Morning Sickness and Nausea

By Myrah M.

The first trimester of pregnancy can be challenging. If you are a first-time mom, you may be concerned about all the changes you are experiencing, especially morning sickness.

Morning sickness is a term used to describe nausea and vomiting experienced during pregnancy. However, some women may also experience symptoms like headaches and dizziness alongside nausea and vomiting.

These symptoms usually start during the first trimester of pregnancy, which is about 4-6 weeks after conception, and may last until the 12th week of pregnancy. For some women, these symptoms may last throughout the whole period of pregnancy.

Having bouts of nausea and vomiting doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you or your baby. Morning sickness is one of those natural events that occur during pregnancy—and you are not alone. Research has shown that 70-80% of women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Sometimes, the name “morning sickness” may be misleading as you can experience a wave of nausea at any time of the day—even at night.

Why do we have morning sickness?

There is currently no known cause of morning sickness. However, it is believed that a sudden increase in hormones during pregnancy and sometimes reduced blood sugar are common causes of morning sickness.

Morning sickness may be worsened by exhaustion, stress, eating certain foods, increased sense of smell, or increased sensitivity to motion.

How to relieve morning sickness

Just because morning sickness is a natural occurrence does not mean you have to let it ruin your mood and make you feel drained for the rest of the day. There are some pretty easy steps you can take to help relieve your symptoms. One way is controlling what you eat.

Studies have shown that increased consumption of certain foods like white bread and soda may increase the severity of nausea. So avoiding certain foods may help reduce the severity of your nausea. To help relieve morning sickness, eat small meals throughout the day so that you’re never too full or too hungry. In addition, you’ll want to avoid rich, spicy, greasy, or fatty foods. When you feel nauseated, bland foods like saltine crackers, chicken broth, ginger ale, and pretzels are your best friend. You do not want to eat something that would further upset your stomach.

Now that you know which foods to avoid, what can you eat to reduce the severity of your morning sickness?

Foods to eat to fight morning sickness and nausea

While it is true our body reacts differently to different foods, here are 12 foods you can eat to reduce morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy.

  • Lemons
    • Lemon or lemon juice has been found to be a great remedy for morning sickness. A study involving 100 pregnant women with nausea and vomiting found that inhaling the scent of lemon was effective in reducing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
    • Whether you want to breathe it in, sip it as lemonade, or just suck on a freshly cut slice, lemon always comes in handy during your pregnancy. Lemon is also very safe. There are no known complications from using or consuming lemon during pregnancy.
  • Ginger
    • Ginger is a popular traditional therapy for reducing nausea and vomiting in many situations, including pregnancy. Ginger contains bioactive compounds like gingerol and shogaol, which have been shown to reduce nausea. Ginger is safe and effective in reducing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. However, there are concerns about what dose of ginger is considered safe, so consume ginger-based meals in moderation. Consult your physician to make sure you are staying within a safe dosage limit. Ginger is easily available as tea, candies, lollipop, and capsules. It is also a common ingredient in chai tea.
  • Saltine / Soda Crackers
    • Keeping a pack of saltine or soda crackers beside the bed and eating a few before getting up may be useful in keeping morning sickness at bay. A survey involving 230 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists revealed that 88.5% of the doctors recommended snacking on soda crackers as a treatment for moderate nausea during pregnancy. Saltine crackers make an excellent choice for foods eaten during pregnancy because they are very bland and less likely to trigger nausea. Remember, it is best not to put anything on your crackers. Eat them plain, the way they come out of the box.
  • Applesauce
    • Applesauce is a popular food for people experiencing nausea. Applesauce is a member of a group of food referred to as BRATT. BRATT is an acronym that stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea. These foods are helpful during pregnancy because they are typically bland and easy to digest.
  • Pretzels
    • The sight and smell of cooked food can often trigger nausea during pregnancy. This is why it is best to avoid preparing and cooking food when you’re sick, as the sight and smell of food could trigger nausea. Pretzels are a quick meal fix that require little to no preparation. They also have no strong odor, and are gentle on your stomach, making them less likely to trigger nausea. An interesting study of thirty-nine pregnant women in a prenatal clinic revealed that pretzels are effective in helping to reduce nausea and vomiting in the early stages of their pregnancy.
  • Cold foods
    • When having bouts of morning sickness, you may tolerate cold foods better than warm dishes, and this is because cold foods have a more subtle smell. Aversion to odor is a common occurrence in pregnancy, and the aroma of food is more likely to trigger nausea. Cold foods like sandwiches, raw vegetables, and salad may help combat nausea. However, do ensure they are properly prepared to prevent listeria and other pathogens. If you have a sweet tooth, you may also try other favorable options like popsicles, yogurt, ice cream, cold fruits, and other frozen desserts.
  • Broths
    • Broths and other liquid meals like chicken soup are better tolerated than most other foods when you are feeling nauseated. They also provide hydration and electrolytes, which are particularly important, especially if your nausea is accompanied by vomiting. To help manage your nausea and reduce vomiting, drink soups and other liquids between meals rather than with meals.
  • Plain baked potato
    • Like other bland and odorless foods, a plain baked potato is easily tolerated as it triggers nausea to a lesser extent than most other foods do. If you are not a fan of baked potatoes, you may also boil or steam the potatoes. Fortunately, potatoes are relatively high in both potassium and vitamin B6. One medium potato contributes about 10% of the recommended daily value of B6, a vitamin officially recommended for the treatment of mild-to-moderate pregnancy sickness and vomiting.
  • Bananas
    • Bananas are another food rich in vitamin B6, which could help alleviate morning sickness. Bananas are also a part of the BRATT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea) recommended by the American College of Gynecologists for managing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
  • Herbal teas
    • Herbal teas such as mint, ginger, chamomile, cinnamon, and peppermint tea may help alleviate morning sickness. In fact, peppermint tea has been hailed for its age- long benefits in pregnancy. In general, peppermint tea is considered to be safe, but you’d want to consume it (and other herbal teas) in moderate amounts due to its emmenagogue effects (ability to stimulate or increase menstrual flow even when it is not due). To be safe, stick to no more than 1 to 2 cups per day and consult your physician as needed.
  • Avocados
    • Avocados are another excellent source of vitamin B6, which makes them helpful in fighting morning sickness. One cup of avocado slices contains around 20% of the daily value for vitamin B6. In addition, avocados are packed with fiber, which is crucial for optimal health during pregnancy. So with avocados, you are not only keeping nausea at bay, but you are also staying healthy.
  • Toast
    • Toast is a safe bet when it comes to food to eat when fighting morning sickness. In fact, many pregnant women swear by it. For people with moderate morning sickness, general practitioners and midwives often advise women to eat dry toast or a plain biscuit before getting out of bed. Toast is also a part of the BRATT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea) recommended by the American College of Gynecologists for managing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Remember that every pregnancy will be different, and there is no one-size-fits-all diet guaranteed to work for everyone. Just try a couple of remedies and see which one works for you. If you are using herbal teas or other supplements for treating morning sickness, make sure you speak with your healthcare provider about it to ensure you are not putting your baby at risk. If your morning sickness is so severe that you are constantly throwing up and even losing weight, it may be time to talk to your doctor about the possibility of having hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy).

You got this. :)

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