Pregnancy is a journey, and like all journeys, each one has a different tale. Our journey started like most others who didn’t struggle with conception. We decided to have children. Armed with pre-conception vitamins and thorough health checks, we fell pregnant soon after commencing our journey. We were ecstatic and rather proud of our success.
Those early weeks are up there with the last 2 weeks of pregnancy, as the hardest, albeit for different reasons. I’d spend hours in front of the mirror inspecting my body for any physical changes that occur during pregnancy. Those changes are not that significant in hindsight, but we just wanted further confirmation that we were pregnant.
A sign that cells were dividing and migrating in specific patterns to make a more elaborate body of a growing little human. Well, at least that’s what I wanted. And once I got my sign, how I wished I hadn’t hoped for symptoms this hard.
What is morning sickness?
Morning sickness is nausea and occasional vomiting that happens in pregnancy. It’s significantly worse early in the day, but it can strike at any time of the day or night despite its name. Morning sickness is also referred to as nausea gravidarum, emesis gravidarum, nausea/vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), and pregnancy sickness.
Most women have morning sickness in the 1st trimester, but some women experience it throughout pregnancy. The symptoms of morning sickness can include nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and psychological effects such as depression and anxiety.
At 5 weeks, I got sick. I had desperately been craving morning sickness because that would imply I was pregnant. I didn’t expect what ensued. From nowhere, one morning, I developed this weird taste in my mouth, and the next thing, I was in the bathroom. I have to admit I felt quite proud. According to all the wisdom shared, morning sickness was a great sign that things were going well.
You may gain some relief from morning sickness using home remedies such as changing what, when, and how much you eat. At the very top of my shopping list (after the little socks I had seen in the baby aisle) were the best foods to eat while pregnant with morning sickness.
What do you eat when you have morning sickness?
Not wanting a repeat of the previous morning, I carefully laid out my can of ginger beer and ginger snap biscuits next to my bed. I also added some dry crackers for extra measure. According to advice from other moms, eating dry crackers and anything containing ginger before you leave bed relieves a queasy stomach in the morning. Well, it appears the breakfast-in-bed-before-you-get-up thing wasn’t for me.
I got woken up, not by the chirping birds or a cup of tea from my husband, but rather the urge to vomit. None of the crackers, ginger beer, or ginger snaps in little nibbles and sips did anything to lessen the wave of sickness that engulfed me. That was how my day began and how my mornings became.
I researched home remedies for morning sickness. I had ruled out ginger since it didn’t work for me. They ranged from increasing my fluid intake (yeah, more to throw up) to drinking smoothies (awful to throw up) to sniffing aromatherapy oils like lavender or lemon (neither cooperated with my sense of smell).
Frequent visits to the pharmacy resulted in buying vitamin B6 tablets. It wasn’t that the pills didn’t work; it was the gag reflex that prevented me from ingesting them. Bags of trail mix nuts which sorted my nausea for a few days ended up not being that much of help in the long run. I was becoming increasingly desperate.
How to survive severe morning sickness
The days crawled by, which is relatively common in early pregnancy, and I felt every second of it. I was exhausted, hungry, grumpy, sick, pregnant, and miserable. I would throw up about 4 times a day and couldn’t keep anything down. I landed in the hospital and got diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a fancy name for being sick with the very severe form of morning sickness.
HG is marked by repeated vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration and is thought to be caused by increased levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) produced mainly during the 1st trimester. I was kept on a drip for rehydration for 1 week and slowly started to feel somewhat human again. With the antihistamines pumping through my veins, I remembered I was growing a human, so I slowly began to eat. I got better and was discharged.
My HG success was short-lived because once released from the hospital and was no longer dependent on the intravenous drugs, the severe morning sickness returned with a vengeance. And if that wasn’t bad enough, someone was brave enough to share with me that the belief about pregnancy sickness miraculously fading at 12 weeks was just but a myth. If things were to calm down, then most likely, that would happen around the 16-week mark. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me.
Homeopathic remedies for morning sickness
When a colleague suggested classical homeopathy as an alternative, I scoffed at the idea. It’s a method that uses natural remedies to stimulate the body’s self-healing powers. Upon reflection, what did I have to lose? I had tried almost everything recommended without success. At best, it could be the cure while at worst, another attempt on the ever-growing list of fails.
And so began my journey with classical homeopathy and a consultant whose questions and solutions I felt bore no relevance to my current problem. As much as I was a skeptic, I was also desperate, so I went along with the procedures. I got healed 2 weeks later.
I’d be lying if I said that classical homeopathy cured me entirely of my severe morning sickness. But it made the remaining 20 weeks of my pregnancy almost bearable. When I delivered my son at 38 weeks through cesarean section, I cried tears of joy. Tears of the beautiful and perfect little life my husband and I had created. Tears that I would no longer feel that sick.
Can morning sickness come back?
As much as I enjoyed motherhood, the fear of morning sickness put me off entertaining another pregnancy. I didn’t have the courage to face my dark thoughts nor the strength to go through that again, with a toddler in tow. But we still wanted to complete our family, so we conceived 2 years later. I was better prepared.
My doctor and midwife knew my prior history, so I was given anti-sickness drugs before feeling sick. I thoroughly cleaned my diet, which meant no consumption of processed foods. My rule was, if it’s white food, it’s out. So no white bread, pasta, or rice for me. Ginger returned, but in its natural state. I ate to satisfy my cravings, and thankfully they were predictable and persistent. Tomato and watermelon became a staple each morning, afternoon, and night.
I’m not sure if my preparedness prevented the severe morning sickness from returning or because it was just a different pregnancy. I certainly experienced morning sickness, but it was nowhere near the traumatic experience of my 1st pregnancy, which became a constant reminder that I was indeed pregnant.
Other morning sickness remedies
Morning sickness affects women in different ways. Some sail through pregnancy and look back fondly at this period that needed no interventions. I was unlucky, considering my morning sickness lasted all day and throughout the pregnancy. Among the natural remedies, only classical homeopathy worked for me.
Pregnant women who experience morning sickness can manage with various remedies and treatments:
- Essential oils. These are recommended oils for stomach upset and morning sickness, and they include peppermint, cardamom, spearmint, and ginger oils. Essential oils are powerful and personal, so use them carefully and use those that work for you. I gave my friend some of these oils when she was pregnant, and only the lemon oil helped her. During the 1st trimester, she would dab a cotton ball with drops of lemon oil and carry it along to sniff whenever she “felt off.”
- Exercise. Certainly touted as an excellent way to manage morning sickness, and the science behind it holds true. Exercise releases endorphins that make us feel better. The trick when you’re feeling sick is to focus on the good feeling after a workout.
- Diet. Watching what you eat and keeping it clean even in pregnancy works in your favor. The less processing the food goes through, the better your body will respond. Yes, there will be times where your body is SCREAMING for a double cheeseburger with fries, and perhaps you can’t help but satisfy that craving now and again. But eating healthy foods certainly alleviates the intensity of morning sickness.
- Acupressure wrist bands. These are wrist bands clinically proven to relieve nausea and discomfort caused by morning sickness. I remember having these on my wrists while occasionally sucking on a lollipop that was supposed to help too. While they didn’t work for me, they were highly recommended by a friend who swore by them during her pregnancy.
Whether it’s your 1st pregnancy or your 5th, the feeling of morning sickness is real. Like the children we give birth to, our pregnancies and experiences with morning sickness will be different. If you’re struggling with morning sickness, keep trying these various remedies. There will be something that offers you some form of relief. And if your morning sickness becomes severe, please consult your doctor, who’ll provide medical relief.