Nothing is as awesome as helping to create new life, but a pregnany fraught with nausea is difficult and uncomfortable at best and overwhelming at worst. Moreover, drugs which quell nausea should not be taken by a pregnant woman due to possible dangers to the developing fetus. Yet there are steps a woman can take to help avoid or alleviate nausea in pregnancy.

The term “morning sickness,” which is often applied to describe the nausea in pregnancy, is a misnomer. Nausea in pregnancy can occur at any hour of the day or night. One cause is hormonal release. During pregnancy there is a rapid increase in estrogen activity and rising levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Once the woman’s body adjusts to the high hormonal levels the nausea usually disappears.

Another cause for nausea in pregnancy is digestive difficulties. The muscles and valves of the digestive tract slow food through the stomach and intestines, allowing for greater absorption of nutrients, but also contributing to stomach upsets. A reduced production of hydrochloric acid and some digestive enzymes add to the difficulties.

Low blood sugar levels and high basal metabolic rates (amounts of energy utilized during complete rest) contribute to the nausea of pregnancy. Due to this, many women experience overwhelming nausea upon awakening.

Vitamin B-6 deficiencies in pregnancy have been linked to nausea, vomiting, anemia, headaches, nervousness, foot and leg cramps, hemorrhoids and edema (a condition in which the body tissues contain an excessive amount of tissue fluid). Both stress and consuming overcooked and over processed foods increase one’s need for vitamin B-6.

Stress, fatigue and change (even positive change) can lead to nausea in pregnancy.

Some pregnant women never experience nausea, while others may experience it with varying intensities and for several months. For most pregnant women the nausea ends by the fourth month. Though some women have been known to experience nausea during the entire pregnancy and even until several days after the birth. Fortunately, a very small minority falls into this category.

From knowledge gained from personal experience, from other women and from research, I offer the following steps to help prevent and reduce nausea in pregnancy. Many of the following can be done from the very beginning of pregnancy, though it is imperative that a woman speak with her doctor regarding her particular situation to ensure that the following is right for her:

  • Drink raspberry leaf tea (steeped in hot water for 10-15 minutes) daily throughout the pregnancy and following the birth. It also helps strengthen the uterus, reduces pain of birth and afterbirth, and helps increase the production of milk. It can be purchased in health food stores and in some pharmacies. One may also suck on ice cubes made from the infusion. Whatever is left should be refrigerated for the next day.
  • Drink a cup of anise or fennel seed tea upon awakening. Do not steep the fennel tea bag for more than thirty minutes
  • Drink liquids between meals (rather than with them) to help sustain high concentrations of hydrochloric acid to ease digestion.
  • Instead of fennel or anise seed tea, drink one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with eight ounces (250 ml.) of warm water upon awakening.
  • Sip peppermint or spearmint infusion upon awakening and whenever nausea is experienced.
  • Drink tea made from dried peach tree leaves.
  • Take tablespoonful doses of ginger root tea anytime nausea occurs.
  • Wild Yam root (Dioscorea villosa) is specific and powerful for nausea of pregnancy. Make an infusion by putting 1 ounce/28grams of dried root in a pint (half liter) jar. Fill the jar with boiling water and close it. Let it sit for 3-4 hours. Take sips of the infusion throughout the day. Or make Wild Yam root tincture by putting two ounces (about 60 gms.) of dried root or bark in a pint/half-liter jar. Add 10 fluid ounces/300 ml. of 100 proof vodka or other spirit. Cap well and label. Top it off as necessary for one week. Decant (if you want) after six weeks. Use a dropper full of the tincture in a glass of water. The tincture can be purchased as well.
  • Drink soda water.
  • Maintain your blood sugar level by eating small meals every few hours. Quick drops in blood sugar levels during the day, which increase the nausea, may be avoided by abstaining from refined starches and sugars, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Eat a whole wheat cracker upon awakening in the morning.
  • Eat a vegetable protein-rich snack such as whole-wheat bread and hummous or brown rice with techina (sesame butter) before going to sleep.
  • Eating half a grapefruit with meals or taking papaya enzyme tablets (very tasty) before eating helps produce digestive enzymes.
  • Eat unsalted almonds.
  • Avoid milk products. One can get calcium from calcium-enriched soy or rice milk, leafy green vegetables (try to avoid pesticide-laden ones), beans, nuts, broccoli, sardines with bones, etc.
  • Avoid sugar.
  • Avoid greasy foods.
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Get out of bed slowly.
  • Take vitamin B-6 supplements (20-100 mg. daily). Foods rich in B-6 include yeast, black strap molasses, wheat germ (must be refrigerated), wheat bran, liver (best if organic chicken livers), rice bran, soybeans, spinach, banana, beans, brown rice, peas, cantaloupe, sunflower seeds and brewer’s yeast.
  • Take magnesium supplements (up to 400 mg. daily). Foods rich in magnesium include soybeans, beet greens, spinach, buckwheat, avocado and whole wheat flour.
  • Ginger root (zingiber officinale) powdered and encapsulated taken in doses of up to 25 capsules per day can control severe nausea and vomiting. WARNING: It can cause bleeding because ginger is a warming herb.
  • Take vitamin B-6 (20-100 mg. daily) and magnesium (up to 400 mg. daily).
  • Try a homeopathic remedy such as Ipecac 30X, Nux Vomica 6X or Cannabis 30X.
  • Take papaya mint chewable tablets.
  • Acupressure-apply deep pressure with your thumb for a few seconds at a time to the following points: A. On the inner arm, between the two large tendons, two to three inches up from the wrist. B. Between the breasts, at the indentation directly above the sternal notch (the notch in the breastbone). C. The hollow at the base of the front of the neck.
  • Put cloves, cinnamon, rosemary and other fragrant herbs and spices in a drawstring bag. Smell it whenever you feel nauseated.
  • There are also wristbands that can be purchased that help prevent nausea by applying accupressure to the point on the wrist mentioned above.
  • Try to walk a mile a day.
  • Positive thinking and imagery.
  • Stay as busy as possible.
  • Pray. And remember that no matter how terrible you feel, it is for the biggest blessing in the world. Remind yourself how fortunate you are to be carrying a baby. Keep in mind that nausea in pregnancy is temporary, although it may feel like it will never end. G‑d willing there is light at the end of the tunnel. May you and your family be blessed with a healthy baby!

    The information provided is for informative purposes and is in no way intended as medical guidance. Please consult your doctor before trying any of the above.