Nausea During Pregnancy
Updated: Feb 7
Although nausea during pregnancy is often dismissed as something you ‘just have to put up with’, it can be very debilitating. Whilst it is often referred to as morning sickness, the nausea or vomiting can occur at any time of the day or night and can significantly interfere with day to day living. It is thought to affect about 50% of pregnancies and usually occurs between 6 and 16 weeks. Factors that are believed to cause it include the massive hormonal changes that are taking place alongside fatigue, stress and other emotional considerations.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine morning sickness can arise from a variety of different causes which means that treatment and lifestyle advice will be tailored to each individual case. The treatment is entirely safe to the pregnancy and for most acupuncture will offer support until the morning sickness resolves. Using pressure points to relieve nausea in your pregnancy may also be helpful, so you will be given clear and concise instructions on how to apply it to yourself in between acupuncture treatments.
……I understand from my own pregnancies how difficult it can be to eat and drink when you are feeling continually nauseous and exhausted but it is essential to try to remain hydrated and stabilise blood sugar levels to prevent the nausea worsening or hospitalisation. Hopefully the practical information included will help you to make small dietary changes which will reduce or alleviate the nausea so that you can enjoy your pregnancy.
Even slight dehydration can intensify the nausea, so sipping fluids such as water, ginger or peppermint teas may help.
If your nausea is eased with belching, sipping carbonated fluid may help to increase belching and give relief.
If urine output decreases to once or twice in a 24 hour period you should let your GP or midwife know as intravenous re-hydration in a hospital may be required.
Eating regular small snacks ever 1.5 to 2 hours helps to stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent becoming hungry or overeating, both of which can intensify nausea.
Sugary foods that quickly increase blood sugar levels should be avoided and slower releasing carbohydrate such as bread, pasta, rice or potatoes eaten instead. This will help to prevent sugar highs and lows.
If you have phlegm in your throat or continuous saliva in your mouth it will be beneficial to avoid too many dairy products as these will increase the amount of phlegm you produce.
If you feel particularly cold or tired, include warm drinks and soups in your diet.
Alternatively, if you want cold foods, consider freezing fruit or water.
Our taste buds often change in early pregnancy and we seek out food that is less healthy but helps to reduce nausea. This can lead us to feel guilty about how we our nourishing our growing baby. However, in the early stages of pregnancy (up to 8 weeks), the growing foetus has its own nutritional sources and will not be affected by our diet.
Struggling with Smell
If your heightened sense of smell is causing nausea, burning pure vanilla or peppermint in an oil burner can help to alleviate stronger odours.
Try using children’s toothpaste if your usual one is too powerful for your taste buds or sense of smell.
Sniffing a pierced lemon or lime in a cotton handkerchief can help to combat nausea for odours when you are out and about.
Temporarily changing brands of washing powder or toiletries that all of a sudden affect nausea can really help.
It should be noted that severe morning sickness can be diagnosed as Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). This is characterised by severe and prolonged nausea and vomiting which can lead to dehydration and can lead to hospitalisation. If you are frequently being sick and cannot keep food down, please contact your midwife, doctor or local hospital to ensure you get the right treatment.
If you would like any more information related to nausea in pregnancy or any other pregnancy related issues please contact me for more information
British Acupuncture Council (2021) Available from: https://acupuncture.org.uk/about-acupuncture/_fact-sheets/nausea-and-vomiting/
Debra Betts (2006) Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth