Surviving Morning Sickness During Pregnancy: 9 Healthy Foods To Try
Written by: Jenna Barrington
So… you’re pregnant. You’ve taken 3 pregnancy tests and they are all reading positive. You are excited, anxious, happy, sad and probably overwhelmed.
Then week 5 or 6 comes along and you find yourself on the bathroom floor wondering what in the world is happening to your previously happy body.
Although most of us go into pregnancy with the best intentions, once the more unpleasant symptoms begin to appear, it is easy to become desperate when it comes to diet. We’re all tempted to turn to less-than-healthy foods in order to find relief, or simply because they are the only things we seem to be able to keep down.
Pregnancy is a big deal. Your body is literally going to be BUILDING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING over the next nine months. That is no easy task!
Maybe more than any other time in your life, NOW is the time to live in the healthiest way possible.
I am now 9 weeks into my first pregnancy and as much as I wanted to be the exception to the first-trimester woes, I’m not. Morning sickness (or should I say, ALL DAY SICKNESS??) hit me pretty hard and I’ve been searching (or asking my husband to search for) foods that I can stomach that will also provide good nutrition to me and my growing baby.
No pregnancy is the same and each woman is different. But here are some of the foods that have helped my friends and I the most during the tough weeks. If you can’t make or get these foods yourself (I haven’t been able to cook or shop much at all during my first trimester because of the smells), ask your partner, mom, sister or friend to help you out. A lot of us women are used to being independent and asking for help with simple tasks can be hard. Just remember… you are building a baby – 24/7! Asking for help is necessary.
#1 Homemade Veggie Soup with Bone Broth
Bone broth is something your grandmother probably believes in (and she’s a smart lady!). This is an affordable, nutrient and mineral dense addition to your diet during pregnancy. It is particularly high in magnesium, calcium, amino acids and phosphorus and is believed to help reduce cellulite. You can use bones from beef, lamb, bison, fish and birds. This is an immune boosting drink for when you’re sick and is also great for the digestive system. Click here to learn how to make it yourself.
You can make bone broth in big batches and freeze it for future use. Once you have your broth, you can use it as a base for veggie soup or eat it on its own. This is one of the only good meals I can eat during the days when I am super sick. Just remember to eat small amounts at a time. 1 cup per sitting is typically a good gauge.
If you don’t have the time, energy or help to make broth, make a simple veggie soup. Homemade is best because you avoid any undesirable ingredients, as well as eliminate too much sodium.
#2 Lemons and Sparkling Water
Lemons help a lot of women combat nausea and are great for keeping the body alkaline. Suck on lemon drops, put open lemons around your kitchen, drink lemon water, or add fresh lemon juice to some sparkling water or healthy soda to sip throughout the day. You can also diffuse lemon oil to help with unpleasant odors that bother you. I even use it to clean. Simply add a few drops to a wash cloth soaked in hot water and rub down dirty surfaces.
#3 Vitamin B-6 and Other B Complex Vitamin Supplements
According to MindBodyGreen, taking vitamin B-6 every 8 hours during pregnancy has been shown to significantly reduce nausea and other related symptoms. Increasing your general intake of all B vitamins is believed to help as well. Also great for energy!
#4 Coconut Popsicles
Having something cold to suck on can really help to soothe the stomach. Plus, it puts a good flavor in your mouth! Any real fruit popsicles are good (assuming they do not contain added ingredients and sugars), but I like coconut popsicles because they contain so many nutrients. Here are a few simple recipes you can experiment with.
Recipe 1 – Mix coconut milk or coconut water and 2 lime’s worth of fresh lime juice. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.
Recipe 2 – Mix 15 oz coconut milk (1 BPA-free can), 2 Tbsp raw honey and some unsweetened shredded coconut (optional). Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.
Recipe 3 – Mix 15 oz coconut milk (1 BPA-free can) and 3 cups frozen strawberries in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds or plastic cups, insert popsicle sticks and freeze.
Watermelon may ease heartburn and reduce swelling while also helping you stay hydrated. Keeping yourself hydrated is so important (and challenging) and when it feels icky drinking plain water, watermelon (92% water) makes a great alternative. Watermelon is also rich in certain antioxidants, vitamins A, C and B6, as well as potassium and magnesium. All of these are important for your baby’s development and for your continuing health.
For some reason, having something cold to sip can really help to alleviate nausea and soothe your system. If you can stomach a mix of veggies and fruit this is obviously best, but if not, all fruit smoothies are okay on occasion too. Try lots of different varieties. You can pre-prep baggies in the freezer when you’re feeling well so you can throw something together quickly later on. Try some of these tasty recipes:
Recipe 1 – Banana, strawberries, coconut milk, water.
Recipe 2 – Blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, banana, water.
Recipe 3 – Banana, strawberries, spinach, coconut milk, water.
Recipe 4 – Oranges, peaches, banana, carrots, water.
Bonus: Adding a handful of spinach is a great option and it’s flavorless in smoothies, so you’ll get in a serving of greens to further support your body – super easy.
#7 Herbal Tea
If you need something warm to sip, try peppermint, ginger or raspberry leaf tea. These are both known to help ease stomach distress and vomiting. Certain properties in ginger actually help to regulate stomach contractions.
Only munch in small bits at a time. Apples are rich in fiber when can help to clear any nausea-creating chemicals out of your body. I like sipping on applesauce at night before going to sleep. You can also keep some watered-down apple juice by your bed to sip throughout the night, which keeps something in the system and helps some women with nausea.
Bananas are a good solid to try when you have been living mostly on liquids. They restore depleted levels of potassium in your body, which may be lowered due to diarrhea and throwing up. Bananas are bland and easy on the stomach. Munch on them slowly to see how they make you feel.
A few extra tips…
- Increased levels of progesterone during pregnancy can slow digestion. For this reason and others, it is most helpful to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day instead of a few large meals. I know for me personally, if I eat too much in one sitting, it feels like it just sits in my stomach for hours and makes me nauseous.
- Avoid fried, fatty and spicy foods. Bland, simple foods are best when experiencing morning sickness.
- Get out of bed slowly in the morning and munch on some crackers before getting up.
Jenna Barrington is studying Therapeutic Nutrition and Holistic Medicine and aspires to be a practitioner, teacher and writer. She is passionate about education and helping others take control of their health.
Jenna lives with her husband in Utah and loves writing, cooking, green smoothies, training her dog, Japanese, spending time at the ocean, bungee jumping, walking barefoot in the grass and being with her family.
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