Herbs, nutrition, and other natural remedies for morning sickness
Experiencing morning sickness, or dreading it? You’re not alone: more than half all pregnant women experience nausea in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Here’s our guide* to using herbs, nutrition, and other therapies to manage nausea during pregnancy.
What causes morning sickness?
Morning sickness is caused by the rapid change in hormonal levels that occurs during the first weeks of pregnancy. This change often results in nausea. There are a some women who never feel any morning sickness at all, and most women begin to feel better at the beginning of the second trimester. If you have severe and/or long-term nausea, if it’s accompanied by fever or pain, or it it continues well into the second trimester, be sure to consult your health care provider.
What can I do?
Herbs: The following herbs are recommended if experiencing morning sickness.
- Ginger: recommended for both morning sickness and sea sickness. Drink ginger tea or “ginger beer,” or take ginger capsules (ginger tea with milk and honey will also help raise blood sugar.) Note: do not use excessive amounts of ginger.
- Raspberry and mint tea
- Slippery elm: made into a nutritious gruel, is easily digested. You can also buy slippery elm lozenges to suck on.
- Peach leaf tea
- Wild yam root tea or tincture in water
- Sucking on ice cubes made with any of these teas throughout the day may feel better than drinking cups of tea.
Nutrition: Eat small frequent meals with complex carbohydrates. Avoid high fat and junk foods. Eat a protein rich snack before you go to bed. Low blood sugar in the morning can cause morning sickness, so eat something before you get out of bed. Drink plenty of liquids and remember that it may be easier to drink a nutritious broth for some of your meals. Take B complex vitamins, especially vitamin B6.
Homeopathy: Natural Healing For the Pregnant Woman by Elizabeth Burch, lists many symptoms of nausea along with specific remedies for each. Common remedies for nausea include ipecac, sepia, nux vomica, and arsenicum. Only take these remedies in a homeopathic form, and consult a homeopathic practitioner for a personalized care plan.
Flower Essences: Flower essences work on the emotions. They are made by placing flowers in a clear bowl filled with spring water, and infusing them in sunlight for several hours. The finished water is usually preserved with brandy or some other type of alcohol. Bach flower essences are probably best known because of Edward Bach’s work in discovering their use on healing emotions. Mimulus and Scleranthus are two flower essences used for morning sickness.
Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy involves using a plant’s essential oils. These oils are normally very strong, and should not be taken internally without supervision. Oils can simply be sniffed or used in a spritzer to relieve nausea, stress or headaches. Drops can be put on a handkerchief to inhale and use as a compress. Add a few drops of your favorite scent to a massage oil. Citrus smells help relax queasiness, so it may also be helpful to smell lemon slices.
Acupressure: Acupressure works by stimulating the energy meridians of the body, thus alleviating stress, increasing circulation, and relieving nausea and headaches. The acupressure points that control nausea are on the wrist crease, in line with the little finger, and in the hollow between the collarbones. Press and rub on these points throughout the day. Acupressure wrist bands are available in most drug stores for dealing with nausea and sea sickness.
Relaxation: Fears or apprehensions you may have of parenthood can cause stress. There are many ways to relieve this and other types of stress, so take the time to find those that work best for you. Quiet time alone, reading, and exercise can help. Fresh air also does wonders to relieve nausea, so get outside and breathe or keep the windows open to encourage air circulation. Daily meditation is very helpful — bring your focus to a place of calm and centeredness, repeating “I am peace.” Lay comfortably on the floor or bed and release any tension you have in your body. Start at your feet and work your way up your body, tensing and releasing all your muscle tension. Be sure to release all that you are holding onto in your belly. There are also relaxation and meditation tapes and digital recordings available for purchase.
Visualization: Is there anything in your life that is making you “sick to your stomach?” Visualize yourself moving through it and letting go. See yourself as the radiantly healthy being that you are, creating a perfect vehicle for the soul that has chosen you to be its mother. You are part of a miracle!
- Natural Healing For the Pregnant Woman by Elizabeth Burch
- The Natural Pregnancy Book, by Aviva Jill Romm
- The Whole Pregnancy Handbook, by Joel Evans
- Mothering.com: Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness
- About.com Alternative Medicine: Natural Morning Sickness Remedies
- American Pregnancy Association: Morning Sickness
*This information is presented for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Consult your health care provider for care appropriate to your needs.