Nausea in Early Pregnancy
You envisioned a radiant pregnancy with thick, lustrous hair, a dewy glow, and an adorable baby bump. Instead, you find yourself facedown before the porcelain king, puking your guts out, struggling to stay hydrated, and wondering how to nurture the little life inside you. Oh, woes. What to do?
First of all, despite how you feel, don't panic. Nausea in early pregnancy is very common and can be a reassuring sign that your pregnancy hormones are at work! Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help ease your nausea and vomiting.
Though good nutrition is essential during pregnancy, your baby is still tiny during the first trimester. At 12 weeks, your baby is about the size of a plum. At 6 weeks, your baby is only the size of a bean! You do not need to choke down extra calories at this point in your pregnancy to help your baby grow. Eat what feels right to you and listen to your body. A doctor I know lived off graham crackers during her first trimester because it was the only food she could stomach. Dry cereal, fruit, crackers, a piece of bread, or string cheese are all great options to get a little food in your stomach and nutrition for your baby. Avoid any foods that are spicy, greasy, or heavy, and take a prenatal vitamin daily to help cover any deficiencies in your diet.
Another tip for preventing nausea is to avoid hunger. Many women feel nauseous in the morning when they get up and get going without anything in their bellies. When sick, we want to avoid eating to prevent more vomiting. However, pregnancy is not a time of illness! Having an empty stomach can actually increase feelings of nausea. It's a great idea to keep a few crackers and a glass of water on your bedside table so that when you wake up, you can eat a little bit before you even get out of bed. During the day, eat small, frequent meals and keep a healthy snack in your car or purse.
Constipation often rears its ugly head in early pregnancy and only makes you feel worse! Preventing constipation is preferable to treating it. Do your best to drink plenty of water, eat the fruits, vegetables, and whole grains you can tolerate, and go for a daily walk or engage in some other form of physical activity. Take a daily stool softener, such as Colace, to help keep you moving.
Suppose these dietary and lifestyle changes are inadequate for keeping your nausea in check. In that case, there are some medications you can try. A combination of Vitamin B6 25mg three times daily and Unisom (doxylamine succinate) 25 mg once daily can be helpful. Another safe medication is Emetrol. Ginger can be consumed in pill form by taking 250 mg three times daily, or you can enjoy sipping some ginger tea throughout the day! Aromatherapy can relieve nausea by diffusing lemon, cardamom, or peppermint essential oils. You should always check with your doctor before taking any medication or supplements.
While nausea during pregnancy is admittedly miserable, it often decreases significantly by the second trimester. In those early queasy days, remember that pregnancy is not a time of illness but of change, growth, and new life! Enjoy the sweet, tender truth that all the hard days will be worth it when you finally hold your precious little one in your arms for the first time.