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…..or more appropriately referred to as round-the-clock, spontaneous pregnancy sickness, which can include indigestion, heartburn, nausea and/or vomiting.
We know, we know, you are tired of hearing about Ginger tea and Peppermint Essential Oils. Maybe they work for you, but it’s certainly frustrating to hear the suggestion over and over again when they don’t, especially when you are just feeling puke-y and not the vibrant, glowing pregnant that you expected.
WHY does this happen to so many women? (Over 80%, in fact).
Well, there are many, many theories. Some say that this sickness and discomfort in the beginning of, or throughout pregnancy, has a protective benefit to give, while others say it is a product of nutritional deficiencies, poor gut health, or toxins.
Can it Actually Be Beneficial?
First, let’s address the protective benefits theory. You might be thinking, how could something that makes me feel SO BAD be good for my baby and myself at all? Well, based on a 2016 study, women that experienced morning sickness by eight weeks gestation were 75% less likely to miscarry, than those that did not experience it. This may bring you comfort.
Now, if you are 10 weeks gestation, reading this and realizing you have not had any morning sickness, DO NOT panic! This was not at all a cause and effect study, and not having morning sickness does not indicate that you will not carry a healthy baby to term. While a lack of morning sickness can be an indicator of a low amount of hormones, it can also indicate that your body is just amazing at handling a perfect normal balance of hormones and you have a higher tolerance for not experiencing symptoms, which is definitely something amazing!
Surprisingly enough, morning sickness does not occur for all mammals, and mostly exclusively in humans, especially those of us in Western culture (Things that make you go hmmm…). There is suggestion that it is simply because we are more toxic beings in regards to our air quality, foods, and lifestyle, and that our body specifically rejects toxins through vomiting during pregnancy to protect the growing fetus in it’s most sensitive and developmentally critical stage.
Our consistently sick episodes may also be related to gut health. You may have instantly defended yourself in your mind such as, well, I take probiotics, that must not be true for me. But wait, just because you have been working on your gut health does NOT mean that your gut health still does not need improvement, and that you do not have H Pylori in your system. H Pylori is a bacteria that lives and thrives in your gut. It exists in water sources, can spread through families very easily by sharing foods, drinks, bathrooms, and you would never know you have it, unless you got tested for it, and shockingly, 90% of the Western population HAVE IT. H Pylori is associated with increase risk of anemia, pre-eclampsia and neural tube defects. It very easily leads into Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which goes well beyond morning sickness, and is actually very serious and often requires many trips to the hospital for fluids, intravenous medications and heavy monitoring to make sure mom and baby are okay. Treatment with antibiotics has a very low success rate, as low as 30% effectiveness, and antibiotics certainly come with risks while pregnant, so be weary.
Some natural, and more effective, ways to approach H. Pylori would be:
- Bee Propolis (available here)
- Broccoli Sprouts (available here)
- Manuka Honey (available here)
- Goldenseal (available here)
- Grapefruit Seed Extract (available here)
Mixing baking soda with water, and doing regular enemas can also be effective against H. Pylori, but be mindful that even herbs can come with risk while pregnant, so assess them properly for yourself.
Also, just a side note, if your nausea couples with pain in your back, or under your right side ribcage, you may actually be experiencing gallbladder problems, rather than common pregnancy sickness. To read more about what to do about that, start here.
Can You Avoid Morning Sickness?
The theories on what to eat to prevent or alleviate the sickness are extremely conflicting, but high sugar, high acidic foods – such as citrus, coffee, pastas and certain vegetables, being avoided, seemed to show a positive relationship in decreasing the prevalence of nausea and vomiting, for some. Some organizations will claim that high-protein is better, while others lean towards a plant-based diet, then others toward very high-fat. We take the stance that you should intuitively eat!! Intuitive eating is simply just listening to your body. Avoid the aversions, meet the cravings, find out what certain cravings mean if your body is obsessing over them, especially if they are non-food based cravings like dirt, or ice, and meet those deficiencies. Even if you are not having odd cravings to indicate deficiencies, it does not hurt to go get a nutritional panel to see if you still have underlying deficiencies, either!
Naturally Approaches to Morning Sickness
You may benefit from acupressure, if you have not tried it already. A commonly known acupressure point is on the wrist, but one that is lesser known is found near the sternum! Applying pressure to your sternum also relieves your adrenals. See the photos below to get an idea.
Cannabis is another natural remedy that some choose. As a disclaimer we do not encourage breaking the law, selling, nor purchasing illicit drugs, so there’s that. Check your state laws and proceed with caution! There are no current studies completed and published in the USA, so if that bothers you, cannabis may not be up your alley, but there have been studies done in other countries and they all point to no harm, no risk. Smoking ANYTHING in general, is not ideal, but edibles, tinctures, topicals, and suppositories are all options. Vaping THC oil IS an option, as well, but be mindful that many vape cartridge packs contain preservatives, flavors, fragrances, and other chemicals that should definitely not be in anyone’s body, let alone a pregnant body. If THC is illegal in your state, but you still want to take advantage of hemp as legally as possible, give CBD oil a try. Full-spectrum is excellent, but for some, it does make them test positive for THC on a drug test even though the amount is legal in every single state, so if your work would have issue with that, be mindful. There is absolutely COMPLETELY THC FREE CBD oil. WILL it definitely help nausea and vomiting? Not entirely. Most people see THC as a psychoactive component of cannabis and think that by removing it, you solve the whole issue of “getting high,” yet still reaping the FULL benefits of cannabis, but this is a myth. THC has medicinal properties in itself, and when you remove THC from the picture, you unfortunately lose some of the benefits, and that is just a reality, so weigh your options!
Otherwise, in come the Doctors Orders! A solution that some have to resort to in order to function, is pharmaceuticals to treat consistent nausea and vomiting. While we completely validate that, we also cannot claim that HERBAL as an organization stands for informed consent, without expressing the risks of the drugs, as well. Zofran can lead to arrythmia, dizziness, headaches and loss of memory, as some of the more common effects. We will not scare you with the rare effects. Phenergan/Promethazine can lead to disorientation, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, edema (swelling), jaundice, anemia and seizures. Diclegis can make you sleepy, enhance nausea, induce vomiting, and cause itching. All of these also deplete nutrients in their own unique way, so be sure to test your nutrient levels before and about every couple weeks after utilizing these prescription medications, to see what you also need to be fulfilling as far as nutritional gaps.
If you want to read and learn more about nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, check out this study that evaluates all the risk factors, associations and more.
To close, I would like to discuss what exactly I mean by embracing this horrific feeling for the first months, or the entire span, of your pregnancy. I have found that welcoming the nausea, the vomiting, accepting its presence, navigating how to work through it even when nothing is helping, and see it as another piece of the puzzle (even if it’s a really yucky piece) to your amazing body and the creation of life within you. Now, if you have HG, do not embrace that, please get help, because HG is beyond awful. There are meditations available on Youtube and Insight Timer for relieving and embracing morning sickness and making peace with the beast that have been found to be incredibly soothing and helpful! You certainly have the right to complain, and even roll your eyes, especially if you are going through morning sickness right now, but hopefully this article can bring you some sort of relief, even if that relief is simply knowing that you are not alone.
Here is to a happy pregnancy, with or without puking involved! Tell us what helped you through, if anything.