Christine Sheets Birth Services

Birth and Post-Partum Doula, Birth Photographer, Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor

Remedies for Nausea

on January 9, 2017

 

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April 2003, approximately 30 weeks pregnant


As a three-time survivor of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), I have LOTS of suggestions to relieve the nausea and vomiting that is common during pregnancy!
 

DISCLAIMER

I am not a medical professional;  Nor do I play one on the internet!  The intention of this post is to provide information; not to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Information provided here is not intended to be a substitute for advice from your Care Provider or other health care professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. 

As a doula and childbirth educator, I encourage you to do your own research, ask questions of your Care Provider and make informed decisions.  Please consult with your health care professional before starting any supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you suspect that you might have a health problem.
 
 

REMEDIES

This is NOT how a pregnant woman should normally eat.  But, at some point, it becomes more important to eat/drink anything that will stay down and quit trying to avoid the “bad” foods.

It’s quite normal for remedies to work for a time, and then become less effective.  Many women find that they need to rotate through a number of these measures throughout their pregnancy.  You have to continue to eat and drink. Even if it comes right back up.

  • Before you conceive, build up your omega oils by taking flax seed or fish oil.  These can be continued during your pregnancy.
  • Preggie pops, which are available through Amazon, at Target, Walgreen, Babies R Us, GNC, and Buy Buy Baby.
  • Ginger is very efficient against nausea and vomiting. Try ginger cookies, crystallized ginger, ginger ale, ginger tea, ginger candies or ginger in capsule form.
  • Good, old Coca-Cola.  It didn’t stay down any better, but I was tired of vomiting ginger ale.  This gave me some variety, helped boost my blood sugar and improved my hydration.
  • Potato chips and lemonade.  The combination of salt and sour seemed to really help!
  • Avoid warm places, as heat can increase the nausea.
  • Eat small, frequent snacks throughout the day, rather than attempting regular meals.
  • Drink small amounts of fluids regularly throughout the day to avoid dehydration.  Water with a little juice tends to stay down better than plain water.
  • Avoid strong odors such as perfumes, tobacco, certain foods, cooking smells.
  • Avoid dairy products and natural juices high in citric acid.
  • “Hot” cinnamon candy  — such as red hots, atomic fireballs, etc.
  • Peppermint can reduce intestinal gas and quell nausea.
  • Rest as much as you can.
  • Sea-Bands are wristbands that apply continuous pressure to an acupuncture point (the P6 or Nei-Kuan)  on each wrist using a plastic stud. Both must be worn, one on each wrist in the correct position to be effective. Even worn properly, they may not work for everyone, but are worth a try. (These helped me – especially when I needed to ride in the car!)
  • Meditation, hypnosis, meditation, guided imagery, prayer, focused breathing, positive visualization and relaxation can be helpful in coping with nausea.  But it’s very hard to do once the nausea has a hold of you. So start beforehand, and just try to stay relaxed as much as possible.
  • Relaxing music that you find soothing — whether classical, jazz or pop. In my experience, the most effective are special relaxation tapes.
  • Teas to be sipped hot: spearmint, peppermint, raspberry, chamomile, ginger.  It’s recommended to rotate teas since the mint teas contain a lot of tannic acid.
  • Chew food thoroughly.
  • Avoid large amounts of fluid with meals.  Drink 15 minutes beforehand for maximum absorption.
  • Avoid greasy, gassy or fatty foods.
  • Chewing gum/eating mints.
  • Moderate exercise improves GI tract function.
  • Papaya (fresh, dried, or enzyme tablets) may big help too.  But should NOT be used during the first trimester.
  • If you can’t keep down your prenatal vitamins, two Flintstone Complete Chewable vitamins contain almost the same nutrients and are easier to digest.
  • Marijuana has been proven to help relieve many forms of nausea. There are even doctors and midwives prescribing it for HG. [Before anyone pulls out their soapbox, let me clarify: When the pregnant woman has been losing weight for MONTHS, is being hospitalized due to dehydration and NOTHING else is working, anti-nausea drugs (like those given to chemo patients) may be advised. Some medical professionals recommend medical marijuana over these level-three drugs.]
  • Alternative therapies, such as:  hypnotherapy, homeopathy, acupuncture, etc.

 

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Battle of the Bellies with my Dad (In early labor and heading to the hospital, still 15lbs UNDER by pre-pregnancy weight.)

MY EXPERIENCES

My first bout of HG was the worst.  At first, I didn’t know there was a diagnosis beyond “morning sickness.”  Friends and family members didn’t understand or believe the severity of my illness.  But I was EXTREMELY fortunate to have a care provider who recognized and acknowledged my condition and offered real treatment options.

Many women report that their providers dismiss their illness as hysterics or an exaggeration.  NO woman should be treated in such a manner — especially when she is so very ill!

During my first pregnancy, I lost over 30 pounds.  Eventually (through a combination of medication, weekly IV infusions, increased protein and modified bed rest), I was able to stop losing weight and even managed re-gain a small amount.

For my subsequent pregnancies, I knew what to expect.  I was better informed.  And I was still breastfeeding a toddler.  Many HG survivors report that lactating while pregnant reduces their symptoms and this was definitely true for me.

The most common recommendations are to eat carbs, but for some women (myself included), these increase vomiting.  The main thing your body and baby need is protein. For me, the easiest high-protein things to eat (and vomit) were eggs, bone broth and soft cheeses. (Make sure everything is pasteurized!) 
 
For a time, I survived exclusively on Ensure nutritional drinks. To improve the taste, I would dilute with an equal part milk and add Hershey’s chocolate syrup.  Today, I would recommend the High Protein version.

I was on Zofran (ondansetron) for a bit, but one of the most common side effects is constipation.  Mine was so painful and severe, that I couldn’t continue with this medication.

Finally, what turned the course for me was starting a nightly course of Unisom sleep aid (doxylamine succinate) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride).  I REALLY resisted this treatment because of my fear of taking drugs while pregnant. But when your only other course is a hospital stay….

The Unison/B6 didn’t completely take away the HG, but I was actually able to go entire days without vomiting. Since my own pregnancies, doxylamine succinate and prridoxine hydrocholride has been approved by the FDA for use by pregnant women in order to relieve nausea and vomiting.  This medication is known by the brand name Diclegis and is available by prescription from your physician or midwife.
 
 
Now I ask you, my readers:  What remedies have been successful for you?  Please leave your response in the comments.
 
 
Also, please feel free to contact me if you’d like more information or support.  Best wishes for a happy and healthy pregnancy! 
 
 
 
 
 

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2 responses to “Remedies for Nausea

  1. Katrina says:

    Thanks for putting this out there! HG is not talked about often enough. 🙂 Sharing on my fb page and with a friend who’s going through it right now!

    Like

  2. Liz says:

    Unisom and B6. I’ve tried Zofran (even 8 mg intravenously in the hospital), and it doesn’t work for me at all, Phenergan suppositories male me sick, although they do help if I’m in a bad enough state. Ginger (tabs, ale, beer, crystallized) generally doesn’t seem to help at all, and I’m tired of throwing up soapyour taste. I feel like I’ve tried so many things. But for whatever reason, if I do my best to take the 1/2 tablet of unisom (which I bought for or $4 OTC) and B6, 3x a day, I can drink small amounts of slushees and eat bites of food.

    It is true what they say though, do your very best to get down what you can because once your fluids and ketones and whatever else begin to get out of whack, hospitalization seems like the only way to restore it, since at that point, it felt basically impossible to talk, or even lay down without throwing up.

    That’s another thing, I generally take one Pepsi before bed (tums makes me throw up), and sleep sitting up on the recliner.

    It’s tough, but I did find something that works for me (for now anyway). Try different things, and for the love of God, as awful as it feels, if you have any energy, try to eat something. I know this probably isn’t a good philosophy, but I try to think of the things that feel less awful coming back up,like pudding.

    Catch up on your movies, put on some music, you’ll make it through this. =) Good luck and you’re not alone!

    Like

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