Nausea is miserable, whatever the cause. Couple that with the three-month window in pregnancy when nausea is common, and it’s good to find some useful ways to counter that urge to hurl.
There is no magic bullet for nausea in pregnancy, or any time, but there are methods that have proven useful and are worth a try. Here are six:
1. Eat when your body is cooperative. – The nausea of pregnancy is fickle. One minute you’re running to the bathroom, and the next you’re actually hungry. So when you’re hungry, eat. Take advantage of the moment, and have a snack or a small meal. Keep something appetizing on hand for those moments, at home and at work.
2. Sneak in some protein. – Many people report feeling nauseated by protein-rich foods like meat, dairy and beans. But research shows high protein foods actually subdue nausea. If hot protein foods are unappetizing, try yogurt, protein powder or tofu in smoothies. Or have nuts, seeds or nut butters. You might enjoy chia pudding that has been frozen in an ice-pop mold.
3. Stick with cold. – Cold foods often carry less scent, so they are easier to tolerate. They can also appeal because they are refreshing. Frozen berries, banana slices, and grapes are often well-tolerated by even the most upset stomach, and they are all rich in nutrients. Colds soups like gazpacho can be a tasty way to get your veggies.
4. Use ginger. – Research backs up the use of this long-standing home remedy for nausea. You can drink ginger tea, munch on crystallized ginger candy, or toss cut ginger root into a stir fry. (Also see the recipe below.)
5. Take your Bs. – B vitamins, particularly B6 and B12, may help reduce nausea. B6 is present in chickpeas, liver, salmon, tuna, turkey, potatoes, banana, and marinara sauce. Meat, eggs and dairy are rich in B12. Chickpeas can be mashed up and added to baked goods to boost protein and B6.
If you are taking a prenatal vitamin, it is probably rich in Bs, but you can also add the B-complex vitamin supplement. Just be sure to take it with food, as it can actually cause upset to an empty stomach.
6. Have a pre-breakfast in bed. – Many pregnant women feel most nauseated first thing in the morning, although heaven knows the malady can strike any time of the day. Keep some whole-grain crackers or fruit on your nightstand and nosh on those before you even sit up in the morning. You might also like half a peanut-butter sandwich.
Here’s a recipe for ginger-lemon cubes, courtesy of the Happy, Healthy Pregnancy Cookbook, by Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh. You can pop one in your mouth any time you experience nausea, or drop one into a glass of seltzer water to make your own lemon-ginger ale:
Makes 16 servings (1 cube per serving)
3⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 large lemons)
3⁄4 cup water
1⁄4 cup honey
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
Combine the lemon juice, water, honey, and ginger in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Press through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into an ice-cube tray and freeze until the cubes are solid, four hours or overnight.