by Tina Jenkins, FGHG Naturopath
Early pregnancy is an exciting time however, it can also be a challenging time as many women often experience some associated nausea. The nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (known as NVP) often tends to kick in around the 7-8 week mark of the pregnancy and typically tends to start to ease off around the 10th week. This usually means that for many women there is often around 4-6 weeks where they will experience some degree of nausea on a daily basis.
Is there anything that can help?
There are many options that are available that may help reduce nausea during pregnancy. Often it is a matter of finding what works for you; which may not be what has worked for a friend. Nausea during pregnancy is complex and there is usually no one solution that suits everyone. This means that you may need to try a few different things before you find something that provides some relief. Most options will not completely remove the nausea however, they can often make it less frequent, less severe and thus more manageable.
Top tips to reduce nausea
- Eat small amounts of food more frequently (every 2-3 hours). Don’t go for longer than 3 hours without eating. This helps reduce fluctuations in your blood sugar levels (particularly drops in your blood sugar) which often tend to trigger nausea. Eat before you are hungry, because when your blood sugar levels drop, you will feel nauseated and fatigued, and the motivation to prepare any food (let alone nutritious food) will be over taken by the desire to lie down or vomit. The grazing approach to food is appropriate for all stages of the pregnancy.
- Always keep a good healthy snack in your bag (e.g. almonds, piece of fruit etc) to avoid any delays in eating and so that you have quick and easy access to good food when you are out and about.
- Keep a nutritious snack next to your bed and eat this before sitting up in the morning. E.g. wholegrain crackers or nuts
- Ginger is an old nausea remedy. Make ginger tea by grating half a teaspoon of fresh ginger into a mug of boiled water and infuse for 5-10 minutes and drink 3-4 times a day – add lemon juice or a little honey occasionally for a change. Or try 2 teaspoons of ginger added into your meals, pickled ginger or sucking on crystallised ginger (inch square by a quarter inch thick). Alternatively ask your naturopath for ginger liquid extract or tablets.
- Whilst ginger tea is often helpful in reducing nausea, some women respond better to other herbal teas such as Chamomile. I remember seeing one patient who had tried nearly everything to help reduce her nausea to no avail, however, once we introduced a good quality chamomile tea she experienced significant improvement for this time in her pregnancy. ** Always make sure you source a good quality raw herbal tea for the best therapeutic action.
- Wear travel sickness prevention bands. They are positioned over acupuncture points on the wrist that reduce nausea (from your chemist or Fertile Ground Health Group)
- Try acupuncture. Many women experience relief from their nausea after a session of acupuncture.
- Talk to your naturopath about a Vitamin B6 supplement. Research supports the use of vitamin B6 during pregnancy to help reduce nausea. Clinically I find that appropriate doses of Vitamin B6 will often take the edge of the nausea and make it a lot more manageable.
Keep in mind
If vomiting occurs more than 3 times a day, and this is not relieved by self-help or natural remedies, then medical help should be sought. Prolonged vomiting can lead to dehydration and threaten the health of the mother and baby.
If you have gone off or are unable to stomach a lot of different foods it may be worthwhile to consult your naturopath for a dietary assessment to ensure you are covering all of your nutritional requirements. Naturopaths are often able to suggest alternative dietary options to improve your nutritional intake and support a healthy pregnancy.
Tina Jenkins is a highly qualified naturopath bringing more than 20 years of experience to FGHG. Tina has always had a special interest in helping couples with fertility problems and has particular success in treating women with PCOS, irregular and/or absent periods as well as problems with ovulation. Over the years, Tina has treated thousands of patients providing her with a wealth of clinical experience, which coupled with her extensive qualifications, brings enormous benefit to Tina’s patients especially in the area of infertility. Tina has also assisted numerous parents regarding children’s health care problems and as a mother herself, has experienced firsthand the many benefits natural health care can bring to young children.