5 helpful tips to score you some relief
Nothing bursts the early-pregnancy bubble like nausea and vomiting. You expect a pep in your step and that magical pregnancy glow, but instead, many spend a good chunk of their first trimester hovering over the toilet bowl and plugging their nose at every strong smell.
The good news is that it’s a sign your body is working hard—and the even better news is that there are things you can do to make it more manageable. Here, we give you the scoop on the queasiness, plus five of the best natural remedies for pregnancy nausea and vomiting.
What causes nausea in pregnancy?
In early pregnancy, there’s a huge spike in the pregnancy hormone (hCG, human chorionic gonadotropin)—it should double every 48 hours (you might hear it being called the “doubling rate”). Unfortunately, this sudden surge in hormones often comes hand in hand with sensitivity to strong smells, loss of appetite and nausea. Though the reason for this is still a bit of a question mark, it’s speculated that hCG influences glycemic control and can mask low blood sugar, which sometimes includes those same symptoms.
When does nausea start in pregnancy?
This is different for each pregnancy—each human’s development is unique after all, with our own genetic makeup and hormone profile. Some people glow through the entire pregnancy, but for those that get nauseous, it typically kicks in around the sixth or seventh week of pregnancy. That’s when the pregnancy hormones climb steeply, supporting the exponential growth rate of the developing embryo.
When does nausea stop in pregnancy?
Nausea in pregnancy typically lasts until the 12-week mark, gradually decreasing from week 12 to 14. If you’re really unlucky, nausea and vomiting can potentially last longer, even for the full pregnancy. This is called hyperemesis gravidarum, and its symptoms can be so severe that IV fluids and antinauseant medication are needed. But for more manageable early-pregnancy nausea, here are some help tips and remedies to help you get the relief you need.
What are the best natural remedies for pregnancy nausea?
1. Start your day with ginger.
This natural remedy (sometimes called by its plant name, Zingiber officinale) is an effective antinauseant for pregnancy and is safe to have multiple times per day. You can have ginger in a capsule or candied form, or make your own ginger tea by boiling washed slices of ginger with water for a few minutes. Starting the day with a mug of freshly made ginger tea is the perfect way to prime yourself for a much-needed breakfast.
2. Eat bland, easy-to-digest carbohydrates every three to four hours.
We know this one is tough when raging hormone levels are making you feel green, but frequent eating will help reduce hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and curb the severity of your early-pregnancy nausea. Try for complex carbohydrates, which keep your blood sugar levels up for longer than simple carbs, and opt for bland flavors to keep the queasiness at bay (think: banana, peanut butter toast, oatmeal or fruit smoothie).
3. Load up on water and electrolytes.
During early pregnancy, you’re more susceptible to dehydration and an imbalance of electrolytes. And when nausea is super severe, you might balk at the idea of drinking water. Layer in vomiting and you’ve got a perfect storm for dehydration—which, in turn, makes nausea worse. To stop the spiral, aim to drink two litres of water each day, a little bit at a time. You’ll also want to get extra balanced electrolytes like potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium, because they can help curb the fatigue and dizziness that often come along with early pregnancy. Try coconut water, miso soup or bone broth for tasty ways to get your fill of electrolytes and hydration.
4. Try for nine (yes, nine!) hours of sleep.
Pregnancy is a hefty biological process. Just think: An embryo grows exponentially each day, going from one cell to two, then four, then eight, etc. And there’s basically no slowing down. Your hormones are raging, with progesterone soaring to an all-time high. Progesterone tends to make you hot, constipated, and oh so tired. But people in their first trimester typically have less severe nausea when they get nine or more hours of sleep daily. Grab a little nap in the afternoon if you can—it all makes a difference.
5. Lean on Vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 (A.K.A. Pyridoxine) has been shown to decrease nausea in pregnancy—it’s actually one of the go-to ingredients in morning-sickness meds. It’s required for protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism and the creation of red blood cells and neurotransmitters. Plus, it helps with hormonal mood swings. That’s why you’ll find it in Bird&Be’s The Gentle Prenatal, which has all the essential nutrients to support early pregnancy—Methylated Folate (5-MTHF), Vitamins B6, B12 and C, DHA, Iron and Choline—without the extras that can make nausea worse (save those for when your stomach settles!).