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Pregnancy sickness - remedies from Contented Baby members

It is often called 'morning sickness', but in fact pregnancy sickness can occur at any time of the day and more than half of all pregnant women will suffer with it. Usually the symptoms are fairly mild, and some women will feel nauseous without vomiting.

Pregnancy sickness can start very early in pregnancy, and most women find that by the end of the first three months they are starting to feel better. For a minority, sickness can continue throughout the pregnancy.

What causes pregnancy sickness?

It is thought that pregnancy sickness is caused by the hormonal changes in the body. Although you may feel awful, it has been suggested that this sickness may actually be a good thing as a natural part of the body's defence mechanism against ingesting toxins during pregnancy. Morning sickness doesn't have any adverse effect on your baby and it is only when women are so ill that they lose weight that it may affect the baby's weight.

Should I seek medical help?

You should not take anti-sickness medication to help with the symptoms of pregnancy sickness unless you have discussed this first with your doctor. A doctor will usually recommend diet or lifestyle changes to relieve the symptoms first, but if these are not working then you may be prescribed an anti-sickness medication that is safe for use during pregnancy. You should seek medical advice if you are being sick more than three times a day or are losing weight, if you think you may be getting dehydrated and are finding it hard to keep anything down, or you are in any way worried about your condition.

Hyperemesis gravidarum

If the sickness is very severe, it can lead to dehydration and weight loss. This severe sickness is called hyperemesis gravidarum,and women who suffer with it may be offered some form of treatment and may even need to be admitted to hospital if they become very weak. This is rare, as hyperemesis gravidarum affects around 1 in 200 women. If you are feeling very sick and unwell, your doctor may suggest a urine to see if you are very dehydrated or becoming malnourished and suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum.

Sickness remedies from Contented Baby members

  • Try eating small snacks throughout the day rather than three large meals.
  • Eating plain snacks like crispbread or dry toast every few hours will ensure your stomach isn't ever empty which seems to make the sickness worse.
  • Try having a couple of dry crackers before you get up in the morning to help prevent morning sickness. You can keep them by your bed at night.
  • Ginger seems to really help. Try ginger biscuits, ginger tea or ginger beer.
  • Savoury snacks seem to be better than sweet ones.
  • Carbohydrates such as plain crackers, toast or bread are good.
  • If the smell of cooking makes you feel ill, try eating cold meals.
  • Sucking lollipops helped me.
  • Lots of people find the acupressure wrist bands that are sold for travel sickness can be good.
  • I found sucking boiled sweets helped with my nausea. Although I wasn't sick, I always had a horrid taste in my mouth and thought I was going to be sick and boiled sweets were very useful.
  • I grazed all day for the first 12 weeks to stave off nausea.
  • I stuck to bland foods - cereal and banana, toast, pasta, baked potato, rice dishes and oatcakes. They are all great.
  • I carried fruit, dried fruit, oatcakes and cereal bars with me everywhere.
  • Rest helps - I recommend getting hold of several trashy books which are easy to read because you can lie down and relax and they take your mind off feeling sick.
  • For the first 10 weeks of my pregnancy, I ate Currant Ryvita constantly. They're sweet and carby and some days were the only thing I could keep down.
  • Make sure you keep hydrated - drink lots of fluid but sip slowly if you're feeling ill.
  • Fatty or spicy foods can make it worse so try to avoid them.
  • I found that getting out and getting some fresh air and exercise seemed to help, even if it just kept my mind off it.
  • I had a craving for honey which was good as it boosted my sugar levels (one of the reasons sickness happens can be low sugar levels). I ate it a lot on bananas and dry cereal.
  • Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
  • Ginger or arrowroot biscuits worked for me, along with Maynard's sours and anything starchy.
  • I ate regularly every two hours.
  • Try to move more slowly - sudden jerky movements can make it worse.
  • Having a good protein meal in the evening can help as you will feel fuller.
  • Try avocados.
  • Lemons are good - try sipping tart lemonade or lemon juice in water, or even just sniffing a lemon!

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