First Trimester: Beating the Nausea

Morning sickness, or more like all-day sickness, has been the absolute worst part of pregnancy so far for me. It hit me hard during my fifth week of pregnancy, and didn’t let up until about week eighteen. I still feel nauseous occasionally, but haven’t lost my food since that eighteenth week. Morning sickness affects roughly 80-90% of pregnant women, starting as early as four weeks of pregnancy and ending around week thirteen, or your second trimester1. But obviously every woman is different.

Because I was so sick for what seemed like eternity, I tried just about everything there is to try to ease my symptoms. I have compiled a list of these methods below:

  • Vitamin B6 with Unisom

According to studies, vitamin B6 can help pregnant women with their morning sickness, especially when paired with Unisom. Unisom is an antihistamine (allergy-fighting medicine) and sleep-aid. For this reason, it is best to take Unisom at night to avoid daytime drowsiness.

  • Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer

Ginger supposedly has some kind of nausea-fighting properties. I drank ginger beer often (it is non-alcoholic) in hopes of easing my nausea. I chose ginger beer over ginger ale because it has a higher ginger content than ginger ale. Some women have even taken ginger tablets or rubbed ginger essential oil on their feet for symptoms, though I never tried those methods.

  • BRAT Diet

I am sure you have all heard of the BRAT diet, the diet you go on when you have the stomach flu or some other kind of upset stomach. The BRAT diet consists of bland foods such as bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are easier to keep down and can be helpful when trying to curb nausea. I also ate a lot of saltines, chicken broth, watermelon, oatmeal, and all-fruit popsicles. If my stomach was feeling a little stronger, I would try a Clif bar or hard-boiled egg to get some protein. Don’t forget to drink beverages like Gatorade to balance your electrolytes and stay hydrated, which can become a problem if you are throwing up multiple times a day like I was.

  • Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is another herb that, like ginger, can supposedly help with nausea. I drank (and smelled) quite a bit of peppermint tea during my first trimester.

  • Avoid Cooking at Home

Strong smells were a big no-no for me during those awful weeks. Just the smell of meat cooking would make me lose my food. So avoid cooking anything with strong smells at home if you notice it triggers you—you may be eating out for a little while.

  • Eat Small Amounts, Frequently

Pregnancy nausea was really a lose-lose situation for me. If I allowed myself to get too hungry then I was nauseous, but the problem was that nothing sounded good. Food was absolutely unenjoyable for me for the longest time, and about 75% of the time I couldn’t keep it down. But you still have to eat! Just eat slowly, frequently, and in small amounts. If something sounds good, eat it. My doctor told me at my first appointment, “I really don’t care about what you are eating right now, as long as you are eating something. If Wendy’s frosties are the only thing that sound good to you right now, then by all means, live off of frosties until you can keep other food down.” You really just need to be getting calories in somehow while you are sick.

  • Avoid Long Car Rides

Car rides were my enemy for a while. If you have to be in the car, make sure you have a large Ziploc bag or something just in case. Or avoid going in the car at all costs like I did.

  • Put Down the Cell Phone

I know it can be hard to stay occupied if you are just laying at home being sick, but something I noticed was that phone screens, TV screens, and any other electronic screen made me even sicker. So I spent a lot of time resting, reading, and thinking about what food I could try to eat next.

  • Yoga Poses for Nausea

When I said I tried nearly everything, I meant it. Look up yoga for morning sickness and try some of the poses for yourself!

  • Binaural Beats for Nausea

I think you can tell how desperate I was becoming the further down the list you go. I listened to some binaural beats while doing deep breathing to try to soothe my stomach.

Now the question is, did any of these actually work? For me, not so much. My morning sickness was so bad it didn’t matter what I ate. Bananas, saltines, ginger beer, everything came up, including those vitamin B6 pills with Unisom. Peppermint tea was one of the things I could usually keep down, but that wasn’t much considering it is just liquid. The yoga and binaural beats were purely out of desperation, and didn’t necessarily help me either. The tips on driving, electronic screens, cooking at home, and eating frequently were helpful just in preventing aggravating my sickness. There was only one thing that helped me, and that was:

ZOFRAN.

Or the generic version of it, anyway. It is a prescription drug for nausea, typically given to cancer patients while they are going through chemo, though prescribed for morning sickness when necessary. In my case, it was the only thing that would let me keep any food down. I started taking it at nine weeks of pregnancy. It didn’t cure my nausea—I even threw up the medicine here and there on the really bad days. But it finally let me get some calories in my body. Just as a side note, if you do end up on Zofran, make sure you eat a high-fiber diet. You will thank me later.

Now, some of the other methods may work for you! My stomach was just particularly weak during my fifth-eighteenth weeks of pregnancy and Zofran was the only solution for me. But all women are different, and nausea can hit at different times and to different degrees. So good luck! I hope you are able to find a solution that works for you so that you can actually start getting excited about your little one!

  1. https://www.todaysparent.com/pregnancy/being-pregnant/the-facts-of-morning-sickness/
  2. Image: https://www.vitamedmdrx.com/blog/first-trimester/how-long-does-morning-sickness-last

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