Of course, along with the awe-inspiring process of actually growing a little one in your belly comes the high likelihood of experiencing some not-so-pleasant side effects. One of the most prevalent? Morning sickness, of course. In fact, according to a scholarly article published by the Gastroenterology Clinics of North America, roughly 70 to 80 percent of all pregnant women experience some form of nausea while carrying. And, while most women experience those symptoms only within the first trimester of pregnancy, some deal with the uneasy feeling for the full nine months.
Since morning sickness affects so many, we thought it might be helpful to share all the best ways to eliminate and prevent it. To do so, we chatted with a few doctors for seven proven morning sickness remedies.
Keep reading to commit them to memory.
Try Eating (or Drinking) Ginger
Have you ever wondered why you reach for ginger ale when you’re not feeling your best? While many of us have been sipping on the herby goodness since childhood sick days, there’s more to it than just tradition. According to an article published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine Insights, findings suggest that ginger is one of if not the most popular antiemetic herbs—hence why it’s been a go-to for centuries.
Holistic and integrative medicine doctor Dr. Eudene Harry supports this claim, noting that she spent the first 16 weeks of both her pregnancies experiencing significant morning sickness and her go-to to alleviate the discomfort was ginger. “In fact, I believe that the effectiveness of ginger over 20 years ago is what reminded me of the power of nature and started my journey into integrative medicine,” she admits.
Harry goes on to explain that the reason ginger is so effective is thanks to two compounds found within it: gingerol and shogaol.
“Gingerol is more concentrated in fresh ginger and shogaol can be found more in dried ginger,” she explains. “While there is no across-the-board agreement on dosage, studies suggest that an effective safe daily dose is up to 1000 mg of ginger extract per day.”
Now, while drinking ginger ale helps (even if just via a placebo effect), this dosage really pertains to real ginger. After all, Canada Dry actually admitted in court that their soda doesn’t purport to be a good source of ginger. With this in mind, the best way to add ginger into your routine is to use ginger extract or syrup, organic crystallized ginger that can be sucked or chewed on, or beverages high in real ginger content, like Sunwink’s Detox Ginger Tonic ($48/12-pack). Another option is to take a prenatal vitamin—like Love Wellness’ Baby Love ($39.99)—that actually contains ginger to help reduce morning sickness.
Avoid Foods That Trigger Acid Reflux
While morning sickness is caused by pregnancy, things like acid reflux exacerbate the nausea. For this reason, urogynecologist Dr. Shweta Desai, says to avoid foods that can trigger acid reflux—like citrus fruits, spicy foods, peppermint, and tomatoes—as these will cause worsening of nausea.
Inhale Lemon For Nausea Relief
If you’ve ever taken a Soul Cycle class, you’re well aware of the citrusy candle that burns at the front of the studio. While the scene itself is grapefruit, it’s infused with lemon—and for good reason! According to Harry and Pitman (and studies), lemon essential oil and fresh lemon help relieve nausea. For this reason, she recommends lighting a candle or using a diffuser to fill your home with the scent if morning sickness is plaguing your pregnancy.
Not a big fan of scents in your home? No worries. Pitman says sucking on sour candies (lemon or otherwise) can prove to be effective as well. You can also chew on gummies—like Smart Sweets Sourmelon Bites ($19.74/six-pack) if hard candies aren't your fave.
Take Vitamin B6
Speaking of vitamins, Marea medical advisor, clinical nutritionist Dana Pitman, suggests taking vitamin B6 to help ward off morning sickness. “Supplementing with vitamin B6 (included in Marea's multivitamin elixir) has been shown to help reduce nausea in women suffering from morning sickness,” she says, noting that doses ranging from 10mg to 25mg up to three times a day have proven helpful for some women experiencing nausea, though studies are small and results are inconsistent. For that reason, she says that women considering a B6 supplement during pregnancy should consult their doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.
Tired of flavorless supplements? 8Greens Gummies ($55) are a tasty way to upgrade your vitamin B6 intake. Two gummies have as much B6 as six cups of spinach, B5 as 15 cups of broccoli, vitamin C as three oranges, B12 as seven cups of milk, and zinc as three cups of raw peas. They're a green supersource.
Avoid an Empty Stomach
Considering pregnancy often leads to myriad cravings, you might think that having an empty stomach is virtually impossible. On the contrary, Desai, who is the chief wellness advisor for Love Wellness, says that waking up or going to bed hungry—or letting yourself feel famished throughout the day—can lead to greater nausea during pregnancy. As a result, she says it’s imperative to eat before you get hungry.
“An empty stomach can aggravate nausea,” she admits. “Eating a snack during the night time or first thing in the morning before you get out of bed can help curb nausea as it helps prevent nausea that develops from an empty stomach.” Of course, just because she recommends snacking regularly throughout pregnancy doesn’t mean that junk food is endless fair game. While indulging every once in a while is fine, she says the best snacks during pregnancy are those high in protein, such as nuts, crackers with cheese, or peanut butter.
Get Comfortable With Acupressure Points
Here’s one that might surprise you. According to Harry, acupressure can help alleviate morning sickness. “Some studies show that applying pressure for two minutes at the acupressure point called pericardium or PC 6 can be a safe and effective way to offer some relief of nausea associated with morning sickness,” she says. “You can find the point on the inner wrist about two finger breaths (index and middle finger) below the crease of the wrist. It is located between two major tendons that flex the wrist.”