Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy
About 70% of Canadian women experience some form of nausea and vomiting during their first 16 weeks of pregnancy, beginning around week 4. This condition is commonly known as morning sickness, but don’t be fooled – it can happen during any time of day! A more severe form of morning sickness can also occur – it’s known as hyperemesis gravidarum and is experienced by about 1% of pregnant women. Other symptoms include dehydration and weight loss.
Morning sickness can happen due to a couple of reasons: an empty stomach, low blood sugar, hormonal changes, strong smells, nutritional deficiencies, lack of sleep and even stress!
While nausea and vomiting will eventually go away, women will often turn to a med or natural health product to help ensure that they’re able to eat something.
Treatments for Morning Sickness
The common med given to women experiencing morning sickness is called Diclectin (doxylamine-pyridoxine). This med comes with its controversies however, and its side effects include diarrhea, disorientation, epigastric pain, insomnia, headache, and palpitations.
Some tried and true natural remedies include ginger, vitamin B6, and acupuncture. Although there are some other herbs that are generally great for digestive concerns like chamomile, peppermint – they haven’t been studied as extensively.
Ginger and Vitamin B6 (also called pyridoxine and is a component of Diclectin) have been studied against placebo, and have shown to be more effective than placebo. It should be noted that inconsistent forms of ginger have been studied (ie. syrup, extract, tea, cookie, etc.) making it difficult to determine the best dosage and form. With respect to acupuncture, PC6 is commonly known as the ‘anti-nausea’ point, but Kidney 21 was also assessed in some clinical trials.
Additionally, some tips to help cope with morning sickness are: avoid foods and smells that nauseate you, get plenty of rest, go for walks and if you can keep some food down make sure you’re getting in some protein and complex carbs. Because dehydration is an issue, be sure to carry around water or tea!
Interestingly enough, a recent study has shown that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy were associated with a reduction in the risk of pregnancy loss. Suggesting that this is actually protective for moms.
If you’re looking to use a natural product and avoid side effects, I would recommend working with a ND to ensure that you’re using a high quality supplement at an optimal dose.
If you have natural tips for dealing with morning sickness during pregnancy, be sure to post them below. And if you have any questions or are interested in learning how naturopathic medicine can help during pregnancy book an appointment!