4 min|Rhiannon Lockhart

Navigating Nausea During Pregnancy

Hormones, Fertility
Pregnancy is an exciting time filled with anticipation for the wonderful moments the next nine months will bring. However, shortly after that positive pregnancy test, you might start experiencing a common symptom: nausea.

What Causes Nausea in Pregnancy?

You may have heard it referred to as "morning sickness," but that's a misnomer since it can strike at any time of day.

While the exact cause remains unknown, it's believed to be linked to hormonal changes. The primary suspect is HCG (the pregnancy hormone), which tends to be higher in cases of twins and is often associated with more severe nausea.

When Does It Start and End?

Approximately two-thirds of pregnant individuals experience nausea or vomiting during their pregnancy [1]. For many, it begins before the 9-week mark and typically subsides around week 14, though some may experience symptoms beyond this timeframe [2].

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG)?

Hyperemesis gravidarum is an extreme form of pregnancy nausea that can lead to hospitalization due to dehydration and malnourishment. If this describes your situation, it's crucial to seek help from your healthcare team for a personalized treatment plan.

Foods and Meals to Alleviate Nausea:

Nausea triggers vary from person to person. Some may feel queasy at the thought of vegetables, while others can't stand the smell of cooking meat. Here are some meal options that may be easier to tolerate:
  • Snack Plates: These are a convenient way to get fats, protein, and fiber into your diet. Try olives, cheese, fruit, seedy crackers, or cold meats (warmed up if preferred).
  • Eggs and Toast: If eggs are manageable for you, incorporate them into your diet for added choline. Pair them with whole-grain toast for extra fiber.
  • Smoothies: Hide vegetables in a smoothie by blending spinach, hemp hearts, your choice of fruit, water or another liquid base, avocado, and chia seeds for added fiber. If you tolerate it, consider adding protein powder.
  • Greek Yogurt with Granola: Many pregnant individuals find they can tolerate dairy during pregnancy. Greek yogurt is easy on the stomach, can reduce first-trimester heartburn, and provides calcium and protein.
  • Fruit with Nut Butter or Cheese: Fruits are often a pregnancy craving, possibly due to their vitamin C content. Pair them with nut butter or cheese for additional fat and calories to help stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Pasta with Ground Beef: This dish is rich in iron, a beneficial nutrient during pregnancy. Make a big batch to save for later.
  • Broths: Bone broth and vegetable broths are nutrient-dense options to stay hydrated if you can't keep solids down. Ensure they're mineral-rich by making them at home or buying frozen broths (not bouillon cubes).
  • Ginger: Ginger is known for its anti-nausea properties. You can add fresh ginger to hot water or carry some Ginger Chews with you. (3)
  • Peppermint Tea: Peppermint is another well-known remedy for nausea. You can inhale the scent of peppermint oil or brew a comforting cup of tea.

Quick Tips:

  • Eat small, frequent meals to manage blood sugar levels and reduce nausea.
  • Never skip meals, especially in the morning. Aim for something with protein, but eat what you can manage.
  • Keep your meals simple to combat first-trimester fatigue. Don't hesitate to rely on pre-roasted chicken or meal delivery services.
  • If cooking smells trigger nausea, prepare foods in advance when you feel better.
  • Remember, any food is better than no food. Sometimes, chips, packaged ramen, cheese, or fast food are the only tolerable options.
  • Get outside for a 10-minute walk to enjoy fresh air, which can help alleviate symptoms.
  • If your prenatal vitamin worsens your nausea, consider switching to a different one or taking a folate supplement.
In the journey of pregnancy, experiencing nausea can be a challenging but common part of the process. Remember, every pregnancy is unique, and what works best for one person may differ for another. Don't hesitate to seek guidance from your healthcare team to tailor a plan that suits your individual needs. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure you and your growing baby receive the nourishment and care you both deserve throughout this remarkable journey.
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