For many women, one of the first signs of pregnancy is a feeling of sickness in the pit of their stomach. No, it's not dread or fear (usually!); it's morning sickness! Not pleasant, but here are some things that might help.
Morning sickness is caused by a drop in blood sugar levels and/or fluctuating pregnancy hormones, and there’s no miracle cure. But here are some things that might help:
• Eat small snacks often. Try to eat something every two or three hours. Your stomach should never be empty. If you're caught without food or can't stomach anything solid, suck on a barley sugar or glucose sweet.
• It’s more common in the morning because you haven't eaten for a while, so your blood sugar is low. If you wake up feeling yuck, try nibbling a couple of crackers or eating a banana before getting out of bed. Having a late-night snack before you go to bed may also help.
• Choose bland, high-carb foods such as wholemeal toast, crackers, plain biscuits, rice and potatoes. Eat non-acidic fruits and vegetables. Avoid fatty meats and fried foods.
• Follow your body's lead when deciding what you can stomach, although aim to keep your diet as healthy and balanced as possible. You may also experience cravings for unusual foods or foods you don't normally enjoy. It's okay to indulge these within reason.
• Try to get a good night's sleep and, if possible, nap during the day and don’t get stressed. Most women feel extremely tired during the first weeks of pregnancy, and this may make the nausea worse.
• Drink lots of water, fruit juice or skimmed milk. Avoid coffee and alcohol.
• Try acupuncture – some women swear by it.
• If you normally get carsick or seasick, try avoiding long car journeys or boat trips. The motion can exacerbate the nausea.
• Avoid cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes as they can trigger nausea.
• Ginger is one well-known remedy. Ginger tea is ideal and is sold in many healthfood stores, but even gingernut biscuits or ginger beer may be enough in mild cases.
• Try seasickness bands. These activate an acupressure point on your wrists and are readily available from your local pharmacy.
If nothing makes you feel better, comfort yourself with the knowledge that morning sickness is considered a sign of a healthy pregnancy and usually disappears at about 14-16 weeks. This might not help much, but at least hope for a really happy ending.