Morning Sickness

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Morning sickness can be one of the first symptoms along the pregnancy journey. Morning sickness can make women feel discouraged, anxious and overwhelmed.

Uncomfortable sensations are part of life and nausea can be seen as an interesting initiation into the powerful process of gestating a new life.

I was nauseated with both pregnancies and each time I created a ritual to help deal with feelings of uncomfortability. My personal rituals included positive thinking, reading books about the stages of development to help me feel more connected the life growing within me, and various drinks, foods and pressure points that took the edge off the moment.

Hope:

I was also mildly relieved that I felt nauseated which gave me confidence that the pregnancy was strong and would go to term. This was a concern because I had a miscarriage with a previous pregnancy.

Mind-Set:

I’ve never been a person afraid of a challenge. I think it is part of my stoic Swedish / Finnish heritage that takes pride in overcoming adversity? There is even a Finnish word “Sisu” that is roughly translated to mean taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity. I don’t feel that everything needs to be “tough” to be worth doing but difficult times often yield more powerful and more rewarding outcomes.

Plan: 

I would recommend arming yourself with a few rituals that resonate for you and changing your mindset from avoiding discomfort to embracing the challenge that you are facing.

Mind-set is the most powerful ally in life. No one can affect you, no matter what the outcome, if you have control over your mind.

Tips to Reduce Nausea:

  • Stay Hydrated:

Hydration plays an important role in regulating electrolytes. Many women find that water becomes intolerable to drink. Even if you do not feel like drinking try to drink at least 8 glasses of fluids daily. Sugary drinks are actually dehydrating, try to stick to seltzer and water, non-caffeinated tea.

  • Coconut Water:  

Juice from young, green coconuts is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish hydration levels within the body.

  • Natural Ginger Ale:

There are many types of natural Ginger ale and Ginger beer that are helpful in reducing nausea. Natural sodas are made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. They are also made without additives, colors and preservatives.The science: As soon as the ginger is taken it starts to promote the secretion of saliva in the mouth. Once in the stomach ginger promotes the secretion of various digestive juices or enzymes which helps neutralize the stomach acids. The phenols in the ginger help to relax the stomach muscles and to sedate the tissues of the stomach. This reduces the over activity of the stomach which in turn reduces nausea and pain. At the same time the phenols increase movement inside the intestines and this helps to move digested food and toxins through the digestive system.

  • Korean Ginger Candies: 

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  • Gatrorade / Vitamin Water:

These drinks may or may not seem appealing but they can help replace lost electrolytes. You can make ice cubes with them too.

  • Acupuncture to Reduce Morning Sickness

Acupuncture has been clinically proven to reduce nausea. Weekly treatments are recommended for mild nausea, bi-weekly treatments are recommended for moderate nausea.

  • Acupressure Point on the Wrist, NeiGuan:

Pericardium 6 or Neiguan has been proven effective by the NIH for the reduction of nausea. There are many brands of PSI bands that you can place on this point. If you go for acupuncture your acupuncturist may also leave painless, press tacks on the acupuncture point that are less obvious and more effective. This point is located two finger breadths from the wrist.

  • Vitamin B6 (see study below)
  • Umeboshi Plums:

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Umeboshi Plum is a traditional, naturally processed, pickled plum used throughout Japan, China and Korea for its incredible health-promoting properties. The word “umeboshi” literally means “dried ume.” “Ume” has been translated as “plum,” but is actually a species of apricot.

The plums are pickled, left outside to be exposed to the elements of the sun and evening dew, packed in barrels with crude sea salt and shiso leaves, and then pressed by a weight. The combination of these elements, pressed over a period of at least six months, creates the natural bacteria, enzymes, organic acids and powerful alkaline qualities of the Umeboshi Plum. In fact, Umeboshi Plum has been called “The King of Alkaline Foods.”

  • Reduce Stress:

Meditation and / or moderate exercise can be helpful in reducing stress and fear. Being uncomfortable is part of the process and many would argue the beginning of service to your little one. This can be seen as good preparation for child-birth.

  • Reduce Fatigue:

Try to catch a nap if you can. Many women do not have the luxury of napping during the first trimester but if you can, seize the opportunity. Mental and physical rest goes a long way to help nourish the body and spirit.

  • Studies:

Vitamin B6 is effective therapy for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study.

Sahakian VRouse DSipes SRose NNiebyl J.

Fifty-nine women completed a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study of pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6) for the treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Thirty-one patients received vitamin B6, 25-mg tablets orally every 8 hours for 72 hours, and 28 patients received placebo in the same regimen. Patients were categorized according to the presence of vomiting: severe nausea (score greater than 7) or mild to moderate nausea (score of 7 or less). The severity of nausea (as graded on a visual analogue scale of 1-10 cm) and the number of patients with vomiting over a 72-hour period were used to evaluate response to therapy. Twelve of 31 patients in the vitamin B6 group had a pre-treatment nausea score greater than 7 (severe) (mean 8.2 +/- 0.8), as did ten of 28 patients in the placebo group (mean 8.7 +/- 0.9) (not significant). Following therapy, there was a significant difference in the mean “difference in nausea” score (ie, baseline – post-therapy nausea) between patients with severe nausea receiving vitamin B6 (mean 4.3 +/- 2.1) and placebo (mean 1.8 +/- 2.2) (P less than .01). In patients with mild to moderate nausea and in the group as a whole, no significant difference between treatment and placebo was observed. Fifteen of 31 vitamin B6-treated patients had vomiting before therapy, compared with ten of 28 in the placebo group (not significant). At the completion of 3 days of therapy, only eight of 31 patients in the vitamin B6 group had any vomiting, compared with 15 of 28 patients in the placebo group (P less than .05).

Study on Acupuncture to Reduce Morning Sickness:

The objective was to compare; traditional acupuncture treatment, acupuncture at Neiguan P-6 only, sham acupuncture and no acupuncture treatment for nausea and vomiting. 593 women who were less than 14 weeks pregnant were randomised into 4 groups and received treatment weekly. Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for women who experience nausea and dry retching in early pregnancy.The acupuncture group, in which points were chosen according to a traditional acupuncture diagnosis, received two 20 minute acupuncture treatments in the first week followed by one weekly treatment for the next four weeks. The sham acupuncture group were needled at points close to but not on acupuncture points. Both the acupuncture group and the sham acupuncture group received their treatment from the same acupuncturist.The outcomes of treatment were measured in terms of nausea, dry retching, vomiting and health status.Results:When compared to the women who received no treatment; the traditional acupuncture group reported less nausea throughout the study and less dry retching from the second week The Neiguan P-6 acupuncture group reported less nausea from the second week and less dry retching from the third week. The sham acupuncture group reported less nausea and dry retching from the third week.So while all three acupuncture groups reported improvement with nausea and dry retching, it was the traditional acupuncture group that had the fastest response. Patients receiving traditional acupuncture also reported improvement in five aspects of general health status (vitality, social function, physical function, mental health and emotional role function) compared to improvement in two aspects with the Neiguan P-6 and Sham acupuncture groups. In the no treatment group there was improvement in only one aspect.Although there were no differences in vomiting found in any of the treatment groups the authors speculated that more frequent treatments might have produced greater benefits.In assessing the safety of acupuncture in early pregnancy data was collected on perinatal outcome, congenital abnormalities, pregnancy complications and the newborn. No differences were found between study groups in the incidence of these outcomes suggesting that there are no serious adverse effects from the use of acupuncture treatment in early pregnancy.

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