Originally published May 13 2012
Herbs that help prevent nausea during pregnancy
by Willow Tohi
(NaturalNews) Congratulations! You're expecting. Welcome to the roller coaster ride that is pregnancy. For many women, fatigue is the first sign of pregnancy, followed closely by morning sickness. Morning sickness is most common between the fourth and fourteenth weeks of pregnancy and is most often experienced upon rising, thus the term, but one can experience nausea at any time of the day.
Roughly three quarters of women experience nausea during the first trimester. Half of all pregnant women have both nausea and vomiting, while one quarter experiences nausea alone, and one quarter lucks out altogether. In rare cases it can extend through much of the nine months, and even more rarely, result in hospitalization due to fluid loss and debility. Even for those not experiencing the extreme cases, prolonged nausea can be exhausting.
What causes itThe exact cause of morning sickness is not officially known, but the hormone cocktail bombarding your system is most likely to blame, along with heightened senses and sensitivities. Your body is on high alert so you have an enhanced sense of smell and sensitivity to odors. Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and hCG rise rapidly during early pregnancy, and can have an almost toxic effect on your system. Some believe that carrying a daughter increases chances of nausea due to even more estrogen in the system. Women carrying multiples have even higher hormone levels and may experience worse bouts.
What you can doYou can't control the hormonal roller coaster, but you can support and nourish your liver (which has to process all those hormones) and your reproductive system. In addition to lots of rest, water, and organic fruits and veggies:
• Avoid an empty stomach - you may not feel like eating, but an empty, churning stomach will only make nausea worse. Don't wait until its so bad nothing will stay down.
• Avoid large meals - eat small, frequent meals.
• Eat crackers first thing in the morning, as soon as you get up.
• Take a whole food based prenatal vitamin (from a health food store, not a doctor) that includes vitamin B6 - a deficiency in this vitamin is a known cause of nausea. Be sure it also has zinc because you need zinc for B6 to work.
• Take pregnancy supporting herbs to boost nutrition - red raspberry leaf is rich in iron, tones the uterus, increases milk production, decreases nausea, and eases labor pains.
• Take herbs known to help with nausea: ginger, slippery elm (also helps with heartburn and vaginal irritations), and peppermint/spearmint (also helps with flatulence). Catnip and fennel tincture may also help.
• Apply pressure to points in the upper wrist to relieve nausea, relax, and promote sleep.
• Consider acupuncture to reverse the flow of qi, and insure it is going safely downward.
Also good to consider:
• Digestive enzymes are helpful because of a lack of stomach acid and slower digestion.
• Green drink or supplements such as alfalfa, kelp, spirulina, chlorophyl in a tea or capsules help balance the body by providing lots of nutrients.
• Pregnancy tea - herbal tea designed to support your pregnancy in many ways, including liver support, hormone balance, and uterine tonic. This is a good way to get a lot of these supplements in one place, without having to take pills.
• If experiencing nausea to the point of not being able to eat, try freezing the pregnancy tea or green drink in an ice cube try, and sucking on it.
This is supposed to be a happy time and it seems a bit unfair to feel sick all the time. Try to remember that the sensitivity of your digestive system is an ancient security system designed to protect you and your baby. For example, some women who have no problem consuming dairy products may find they are unable to during pregnancy, only to discover later that the child is lactose intolerant.
It's not uncommon to actually lose a few pounds during the first trimester when morning sickness is at its height, and while you figure out what you are sensitive to. If it doesn't ease by the second trimester, you can't keep food down, or you lose more than five pounds, be sure to talk to your health care provider about the situation.
Sources for this article include:
Tarr, Katherine. A Guide to Motherhood - Herbs, Helps, & Pressure Points for Pregnancy and Childbirth, p. 1, 24. Winona Lake, Indiana: Wendell W. Whitman Company, 2008.
Ody, Penelope. Herbs for a Healthy Pregnancy...from conception to childbirth. p. 38-40. Lincolnwood, Illinois: Keats Publishing, 1999.
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