Morning sickness waits for no royal! It’s a phenomenon plaguing even the most glamorous of new mums, as we witnessed this week with the hospitalisation of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.
There’s no concrete consensus on the cause of morning sickness and it’s likely to be multifactorial; a storm of chemical changes involving hormones, stress, fatigue, toxicity and poor sugar metabolism.
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A buildup of hCG (human chorionic gonadotopin) during the early stages of pregnancy is one potential culprit. hCG is produced after implantation, and continues to increase until about the 12th week of pregnancy, at which point levels decrease and symptoms may abate.
The improper detoxification of oestrogen may also be implicated, with attention to our liver, diet and balance of hormones well before conception helping to proactively address and diminish chances of illness.
Other theories still suggest that an increase in progesterone has a “softening” effect on the muscles in the body. Helpful for preventing pre-term labour by weakening the uterus – not so fabulous for the strength of the stomach and small intestine!
A glimmer of hope amongst the discomfort and bizarre food aversions is research to suggest that mothers experiencing morning sickness have fewer miscarriages – happy compensation for weeks of feeling blah!
• Take regular naps or rest during the day.
• Sleep by 10:00pm and wake with the sun.
• Open windows or turn on exhaust fans when cooking and after meals.
• Avoid greasy or spicy foods as they can cause nausea or heartburn.
• Have frequent protein snacks (meats, seafood & eggs are high protein).
• Eat smaller meals every two hours or so.
• Do not drink fluids with your meals. Drink small amounts of fluids regularly though out the day to avoid dehydration.
• Avoid skipping meals if you can help it.
• Cold foods may have less nausea-inducing smells associated with them.
• Eat before you feel hungry.
• Eat protein last thing at night, such as some yoghurt or almonds before bed.
• Suck on a freshly sliced piece of fresh ginger.
• Drink peppermint, lemongrass and chamomile tea as often as you like.
• Breathe deeply – in through your nose, inhaling the oxygen straight into your belly (distend stomach), breathing back out through your nose and sucking your tummy in. This seems to make a big difference; good oxygenation relieves morning sickness.
Aromatherapy can also be a safe and helpful relief for morning (or all day) nausea. Try the following scents to provide a restorative whiff:
• Peppermint and lemon help alleviate nausea and queasiness. Inhale either directly from the bottle or pour up to 4 drops on a tissue and breathe in. Repeat as needed.
A helpful recipe for a calming cracker (when you’re craving something crisp and salty) is Pure Life Sprouted Spelt bread from your health food store, thinly sliced, sprinkled with Celtic sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil and baked in a preheated oven until crisp at 120C. Try it! It seems to quickly alleviate symptoms.
Other naturopathic prescriptions include:
• Ginger Tea – use fresh ginger root and steep in hot water, making 2-3 cups per day (drink warm or cool).
• Black Horehound (Ballota nigra) – a herb that is anti-emetic, nervine, astringent, emmenagogue, expectorant, it can be found growing wild throughout Europe and is fantastic for settling nausea or vomiting during pregnancy. (However is must be prescribed by a certified and experienced Naturopath or herbalist).