Written by Kimmy Smith - Founder
Congratulations on your pregnancy! We know it may be hard to feel excited about the little life growing inside of you when you are experiencing unrelenting waves of nausea and fatigue.
If you are feeling defeated or deflated by morning sickness, please know that for the majority of women it passes .Hopefully, at around 12-14 weeks, you will start to feel like your normal self. You will have the energy to eat well, move your body and feel excited about your pregnancy. In the meantime, if you feel like a cloud of fatigue descended on you, do the best you can. Rest as much as you can. Eat whatever you can stomach and try to take care of yourself.
In this post, we are sharing expert advice as well as our own personal experiences to help you to manage and survive morning sickness. We will cover:
Pregnancy is a time when nutrition is of great importance. We are grateful to have dietician Stefanie Valakas, nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin and naturopath Belinda Kirkpatrick and in the EMP sharing their expert advice regarding nutrition and the first trimester.
Morning sickness is generally caused by an influx of hormones, which of course you need to hold that little bub in place but it can make some women feel really unwell.
Some tips from our expert nutrition panel include:
1. Eat Small Protein-Rich Meals Regularly
Naturopath Belinda Kirkpatrick recommends eating small protein-rich meals to help keep your blood sugar levels stable. If you allow yourself to get too hungry between meals, it leads to a drop in blood sugar which can make nausea feel worse. Having a small snack containing protein every hour or two will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and reduce nausea.
2. Focus on Nutrient Quality rather than Quantity
Clinical Dietician Stefanie Valakas recommends looking for nutrient quality over quantity. The key nutrients she recommends focussing on are folic acid or folate, iodine, iron and zinc as well as omega 3 fatty acids. Having a high-quality practitioner range multi-vitamin will help to supplement your dietary needs whilst you are feeling sick.
3. Ditch the Guilt
Our recommendation is to try not to stress about the food choices you make during the first trimester. You will eat well again as soon as you feel ready. Your baby’s nutritional needs are tiny during the first trimester. Additionally, your baby will receive all the key nutrients it needs in priority to you. Be kind to yourself and know that this is a great lesson in relinquishing control.
4. Stay Hydrated
Ensure optimal hydration (at least 2 litres of water/ day) as chronic dehydration contributes to morning sickness and also to constipation (which isn't great for your pelvic floor). Sip on water throughout the day, if you are vomiting and bringing everything up seek medical advice
5. Ginger Everything
Increase ginger in your diet, add it to vegetable juices, teas and your cooking to help reduce nausea and relieve indigestion.
6. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 has been well researched as an effective treatment in helping to alleviate morning sickness. You can supplement under the guidance of a health professional or use food as medicine. B6 is found in bananas, eggplant, salmon, prunes, sunflower seeds, walnuts, chicken and sweet potatoes & can help relieve symptoms of nausea.
Yoga has so much to offer pregnant women. Women often start yoga for the first time during pregnancy as a safe, low impact way to move and relieve tension. In the EMP our first-trimester yoga classes are designed to help you to reduce stress, improve your breathing and create space within your body. They are also a chance to stop and connect to your baby. We also have a specific yoga for morning sickness class which is helps to provide temporary relief from nausea.
Exercise may the last thing you feel like at the moment. Morning sickness has a way of taking over your life and you just do what you need to to get by. In the Empowered Motherhood Program, we have a series of gentle first trimester classes that will help you to stay connected to your pelvic floor and core + learn safe ways of moving during pregnancy. They are designed to energise not exhaust you.
Some of our tips for first-trimester exercise are to:
Get out and get some fresh air and sunshine. It is amazing the difference some fresh air can make to how you are feeling. Whilst it can be tempting to stay inside and get comfy on the couch. A short 10-15 minute walk outside can have you feeling a million times better.
Simple short workouts will help you to get some fresh blood pumping and fresh air into your lungs. If you are suffering from morning sickness, stick with low-intensity movements.
Acupuncture works to reduce the heat in your belly which causes morning sickness. It can also help to create toning of your uterus to help create a safe environment for your baby.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner Nuala Walker says:
"The focus of an acupuncture treatment is on rebalancing the body and promoting good health for mum and bub now and into the future.
As we know the first trimester can be the most tumultuous time of pregnancy for many women. One of the main discomforts is nausea and vomiting. Acupuncture is often effective in reducing both the severity and incidence of nausea and vomiting. Australian studies have shown that acupuncture is safe and effective for use during this sensitive period. Other factors that acupuncture can also treat during the first trimester include fatigue, constipation, anxiety, headaches, tiredness and insomnia."
There are a number of herbal teas on the market. Two that I have tried personally are Your Tea Fertility Tea Blend and Mama Body Tea Morning Wellness Tea to help relieve morning sickness. Your Tea is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and created by TCM Doctors to help restore balance to the body. Your Tea has been created by Chinese Medicine herbalists and is designed to reduce the heat in your body and relive morning sickness.
Dr Nat Kingroudis, a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor from Your Tea says:
"Fertility Tea contains an amazing ingredient called Wu Wei Zi. This is a herb that is said to shine a light on the uterus. It helps to maximize the potential of the womb. It is gently warming in nature and supports the overall function of hormones as it interacts with the heart and kidney. From a TCM viewpoint, both the heart and kidney play a key role in hormone regulation. When we translate this to the western point of view, it sums up the role that the pituitary has over the uterus in ensuring everything is in good working order. This herb alongside the others helps to keep this all in check.
The other mild herbal ingredients in the Fertility Tea blend help to support healthy blood (after all it’s the blood flow to the uterine lining that supports early pregnancy) and supports healthy progesterone. This formula is nicely tied together to ensure you are well supported throughout your pregnancy, well into the time of recovery from birth. Because of its ability to support healthy blood, it also sets up a good foundation for breastfeeding."
Morning sickness feels much worse when you are tired or stressed. Cut down as much as you can on all your commitments and prioritise rest. I kno
If you are reading this and thinking, “I can’t - I have work / other kids / a life’. We totally get it. But we also know this; at the moment you are growing a spine and a brain and a nervous system inside of you. That is a huge ask. So take some time to sit down and re-organise your life to see where you can fit in some rest. Ask for help. Becoming a Mum for the first time made me very much aware of how dependent I was on others for help and support. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. And if none of that is available to you, then just try to get to bed early. There are always scales of what you can and can’t do, so just do the best you can.
Goodluck Mumma. You've got this.
Download three free videos for either pregnancy or postpartum. Led by Women's Health Physio Lyz Evans + PT Kimmy Smith.