Although nausea during pregnancy is often dismissed as something you ‘just have to put up’, it can be very debilitating. Whilst it is often referred to as morning sickness, the nausea or vomiting can occur at any time of the day or night and significantly interfere with day to day living. It is thought to affect about 50% of pregnancies and usually occurs between 6 and 16 weeks. Factors that are believed to cause it include the massive hormonal changes that are taking place alongside fatigue, stress and other emotional considerations.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine morning sickness can arise from a variety of different causes which means that treatment and lifestyle advice will be tailored to each individual case. In many cases the acupuncture treatment works at strengthening the energetic function of the digestive system to correct any underlying disharmonies. The treatment is entirely safe to the pregnancy and for most the morning sickness will resolve.
Using pressure points to relieve nausea in your pregnancy may also be helpful, so you will be given clear and concise instructions on how to apply it to yourself in between acupuncture treatments.
……I understand from my own pregnancies how difficult it can be to eat and drink when you are feeling continually nauseous and exhausted but it is essential to try to remain hydrated and stabilise blood sugar levels to prevent the nausea worsening or hospitalisation. Hopefully the practical information included will help you to make small dietary changes which will reduce or alleviate the nausea so that you can enjoy your pregnancy.
- While drinking may not appear to ease nausea, even slight dehydration will make the nausea more intense. Sipping fluids such as water, ginger or peppermint teas may help.
- If your nausea is eased with belching, sipping carbonated fluid may help to increase belching and ease nausea.
- If urine output decreases to once or twice in a 24 hour period you should let your GP or midwife know as intravenous re-hydration in a hospital may be required.
- Eating regular small snacks ever 1.5 to 2 hours helps to stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent you from becoming hungry or overeating, both of which can intensify nausea.
- Sugary foods that quickly increase blood sugar levels should be avoided and slower releasing carbohydrate such as bread, pasta, rice or potatoes eaten instead. This will help to prevent sugar highs and lows.
- If you have phlegm in your throat or continuous saliva in your mouth it will be beneficial to avoid too many dairy products as these will exacerbate the symptoms.
- If you feel particularly cold or tired, include warm drinks and soups in your diet.
- Alternatively, if you want cold foods, consider freezing fruit or water.
- Our taste buds often change in early pregnancy and we seek out food that is less healthy but helps to reduce nausea. This can lead us to feel guilty about how we our nourishing our growing baby. However, in the early stages of pregnancy (up to 8 weeks), the growing foetus has its own nutritional sources and will not be affected by our diet.
Struggling with Smell
- If your heightened sense of smell is causing nausea, burning pure vanilla or peppermint in an oil burner can help to alleviate stronger odours
- Try using children’s toothpaste if your usual one is too powerful for your taste buds or sense of smell.
- Sniffing a pierced lemon or lime in a cotton handkerchief can help to combat nausea for odours when you are out and about.
- Temporarily changing brands of washing powder or toiletries that all of a sudden affect nausea can really help.
If you would like any more information related to nausea in pregnancy or any other pregnancy related issues please contact me for more information
British Acupuncture Council (2016) Available from: http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/public-content/public-pr-press-releases/acupuncture-and-morning-sickness.html
Debra Betts (2006) Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth