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Some women love pregnancy and all that comes with it, including the notorious pregnancy “glow,” experiencing the feeling of a tiny, growing miracle, and the way strangers suddenly hold the door for you. For other women, the experience is less pleasant – grappling with swollen ankles, acne that you thought was long gone when you left junior high school, and morning (ah-hem, all day) sickness. According to the American Pregnancy Association, nausea affects up to 85 percent of all pregnant women with 60 to 70 percent actually throwing up. While the exact reasoning behind “morning sickness” is unknown, there are some ways that may help to help ease the associated symptoms.
As someone who is nearing my third trimester, I can attest that these researched-backed tips have truly helped me. But, at the end of the day, you have to do what feels best for you. Pregnancy is such a unique experience for each woman and listening to your own body and honoring its needs is most important during this time (and always).
When we’re not feeling well, it’s a natural inclination to reach for refined, easily digestible carbs like plain toast with butter or saltine crackers. But, according to a 1999 study and further enforced by a 2010 study, intake of higher protein foods is linked to less nausea and vomiting during your first trimester. Add a scoop of protein powder to your fruit smoothie, top your toast with peanut butter, have a hardboiled egg, munch on trail mix, or opt for a cup of Greek yogurt – you may be surprised with how much better you feel. (Side note: this tip was a game-changer for me!)
According to a 2016 review released by the Journal of the American Medical Association, vitamin B6 helps to reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. While typically found in a prenatal vitamin, vitamin B6-rich foods also include beans, bananas, nuts, fortified breakfast cereals, and animal proteins like chicken, pork, and fish.
With notable significance in traditional medicine and long touted for its ability to ease an upset stomach, ginger – by no surprise – may also help with morning sickness according to the same 2016 review. Go ahead and make your own homemade ginger tea or toss some fresh ginger into your favorite smoothie.
While most women report hunger as the culprit for rapid onset of nausea, getting overly stuffed can have the same impact – and we can thank an increase of progesterone for our somewhat sluggish digestion over these next several months. In case hunger strikes, keep a handful of healthful snacks nearby; snack bars, fresh fruits, and homemade granola will do. I found that sipping on a nutrient-rich smoothie throughout the morning immensely helpful when bouts of nausea would creep in during the first few months.
Try these smoothies for a nourishing way to feed you and baby. Smoothies, in general, are a nutritious way to “eat” if nothing else sounds appealing. These three options are great choices – calling for nausea-calming ginger. Start with these recipes when your tummy is giving you trouble and amp them up even further with our simple ideas.
Popsicles are also natural thirst-quenching treats that can really hit the spot when you’re fighting an upset stomach. Make your own homemade, nutrient-rich pops rather than going for the sugar-laden, artificially-colored, store-bought varieties. Keep these tummy-taming Kiwi Lime Popsicles in your freezer – your future self and baby will thank you.
And most importantly, happy Mother’s Day to all the soon-to-be moms, mothers, grandmothers, mother figures, pet mamas, nurturers, and women that help support each other and lift one another up. You’re all needed and help make the world a better place.
McKenzie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, nutrition writer and communicator, who truly loves meeting and connecting with people. Grounded in science with an integrative and holistic approach, she aims to make the world a healthier, happier place by helping people feel their best from the inside out and encouraging others to restore a judgment-free relationship with food. McKenzie has been a contributing editor for the award-winning publicationEnvironmental Nutrition and her numerous articles, nutrition tips, and recipes can be found in publications such as The Chicago Tribune, Today’s Dietitian, Food and Nutrition Magazine, and more.
McKenzie graduated magna cum laude from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Nutrition and completed her dietetic internship at Bastyr University in Seattle. She is a member of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a member of the dietetic practice group, Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine. When she’s not dishing out nutrition tidbits, you can find McKenzie cooking in her sunny kitchen, hiking along with her favorite Southern California trails, or packing her bags and heading out for her next adventure.