It’s hard for most of us to escape the famous pregnancy nausea. Phew, it doesn’t last and theoretically stops between the 16th and 20th week of amenorrhea. We explain their causes and how to fight against them, with concrete anti-nausea tips to implement daily.
Table of contents
- Pregnancy nausea: what causes it?
- How long does nausea of pregnancy last?
- Little anti-nausea “tricks”
- Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy: when to consult?
- Natural Remedies for Nausea
Nausea is something that affects almost all of us during pregnancy. It is estimated that between 50 and 80% of women are affected during their pregnancy. Some women suspect the arrival of the happy event by waking up nauseous, several days in a row.
Pregnancy nausea: what causes it?
Nausea is linked, in large part, to the hormonal upheaval at the beginning of pregnancy. For this reason, future mothers of twins or triplets are more prone to it. (We dare not imagine the mother of octuplets!)
Some of us have nausea only when we wake up on an empty stomach, and others suffer from it throughout the day. These urges to vomit can be provoked by a smell (tobacco, perfume, cooking.) or in front of a particular dish at mealtime. They are sometimes accompanied by vomiting or excessive salivation (hypersalivation).
How long does nausea of pregnancy last?
In general, nausea begins between the 4th and 8th week of pregnancy and subsides towards the end of the first trimester. But there is no absolute rule for nausea. Some women will never experience nausea, while others will be sick until they give birth!
Can nausea affect the health of the baby?
Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy can impact our social life, either because it is very virulent or lasts beyond the first trimester. The most severe form of the latter, from which the Duchess of Cambridge has suffered twice, is called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG, or hyperemesis gravidarum). “It affects about 0.3 to 2 per cent of pregnancies and is the leading cause of hospitalization in the first half of this period,” says the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC).
Nausea causes a lack of appetite and even disgust. As a result, some women lose weight early in their pregnancy. Don’t worry about the baby; even a significant weight loss will not affect the fetus. Just check with your doctor. In case of vomiting, it is recommended to drink enough water to avoid dehydration.
Little anti-nausea “tricks”
New reflexes and little tricks in everyday life can help you reduce your nausea:
- In the morning, avoid any physical effort before filling your stomach;
- Swallow something before getting up if you are prone to morning sickness when your stomach is empty, and keep water and a snack on your bedside table;
- Stick to dishes that appeal to you and forget about overly rich dishes and exotic specialities, which are difficult to digest and generate strong odours. The more neutral the food, the more likely it is to pass;
- Opt for gentle cooking (steam, oven, papillote), and add fat afterwards to avoid indigestible cooked fats and unpleasant cooking smells;
- Replace coffee, if it makes you nauseous, with tea;
- Avoid sweet foods in the morning, prefer a neutral or salty breakfast;
- Avoid fatty and irritating foods;
- Split your meals. Try to go from three large meals to five lighter meals a day (this will reduce the time you spend fasting) because a meal that is too large or too rich can make you feel sick, while fasting can increase nausea. In short, eat more often but in small quantities;
- Always carry a snack with you: fresh fruit, dried fruit, bread, cottage cheese;
- Avoid drinking during meals;
- Set up alternatives to maintain a good food intake and avoid deficiencies (e.g. yoghurt if you can no longer tolerate cheese or milk, eggs or ham if you –avoid red meat, compotes if you no longer like fresh fruit, etc.);
- Air the rooms where you are, breathe deeply and avoid strong smells.
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy: when to consult?
Nausea during pregnancy is common due to the presence of pregnancy hormones in the blood and often occurs during the second trimester. You should talk to your doctor or midwife if it is accompanied by vomiting and/or significant weight loss and/or dehydration and lack of appetite. If necessary, they will prescribe you a treatment based on antiemetics to relieve you, monitor your health in case of strong attacks, and ensure that this does not affect the baby.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) stresses the importance of a doctor-patient dialogue since “the choice of pharmacological treatment for nausea is as important as the choice of when to start it”.
Natural Remedies for Nausea
The SOGC recommends that pregnant women eat whatever they like rather than changing their diet to relieve nausea. It is better to eat a varied diet than to take vitamin supplements. “In some women, nausea is attributable to the iron contained in these vitamins,” explains the SOGC, which does not recommend “systematic supplementation” but advises that, unless there is an iron deficiency, folic acid should be preferred.
On the other hand, expectant mothers can include ginger, the anti-nausea food par excellence, in their diet, in the form of tea or tablets, or even in dishes (grated or powdered), on the condition that you buy it in a pharmacy or an organic shop for a more reliable composition. Fresh, count ten g/day of ginger or two g/day, dried.
Acupressure is also a natural and affordable alternative: you need to stimulate the specific point P6, located three fingers’ width above the wrist, between the two tendons. Acupuncture can also be considered for nausea during pregnancy.
Homeopathic prescription for nausea during pregnancy
Here is what is generally recommended in homeopathy against nausea during pregnancy, at a rate of 3 granules per dose, 4 to 5 times a day:
- Ignatia 5 CH when the sight or smell of food aggravates nausea, and eating provides relief;
- Nux vomica 5 CH, when nausea is calmed by vomiting and the tongue is white (and is also recommended for acid reflux);
- Ipeca 5 CH when vomiting does not relieve nausea, and when it is accompanied by hypersalivation;
- Cocculus 5 CH when nausea is aggravated by movement, transportation;
- Sepia 5 CH when nausea is morning sickness, worsens at the sight or smell of food and is associated with a pregnancy mask (chloasma).
Nausea is often connected with increased estrogen levels and increased sensitivity to certain odors during pregnancy.
Unless morning sickness is severe and results in dehydration and weight loss, it does not need medical treatment. To minimize the unpleasant feelings of nausea during pregnancy, get plenty of rest, avoid sugary foods in the morning, and abstain from drinking during meals.