Disclaimer: This information is of a general nature, and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Newborn Mothers is not a medical service and Julia Jones is not a licensed medical professional. We do not diagnose, treat or cure any illness or condition. Should you have any health concerns, please get in touch with your midwife or doctor.
Do you have morning sickness all day long? Then this is for you!
I know they say morning sickness should just happen in the morning, and that it should only happen for 10-12 weeks, at the beginning of your pregnancy. But I know many women for whom morning sickness happens all day, and for many, many more weeks. Up to 20 weeks, or even right through the full term of their pregnancy. And it is awful!
Did you know that 25 per cent of women require time off work because of morning sickness? And the worst thing is, it’s usually at that time in your pregnancy when you haven’t actually told everyone yet. So it can be quite tricky to manage. Western medicine says that hormones cause morning sickness. Today we’re going to talk about three causes and six natural remedies. The three causes come from Ayurvedic medicine (traditional Indian medicine), so we’ll discuss that and you can try them yourself at home. And hopefully by the end you’ll have found something that can maybe just help you get your head out of the toilet for at least five minutes!
There are (just before we begin) actually a few benefits of morning sickness, and I know it doesn’t feel like that. But morning sickness reduces miscarriage, it also reduces preterm labour, reduces the risk of low birth weight, and it even reduces prenatal death. So, no one is really sure why, but they think it’s because of two things. It’s either the hormones, that then mean the elevated hormones that are protecting your baby are also the ones that are making you sick. But it’s also thought that the actual inability to eat particular foods is a protective mechanism for your baby too. If you see something that looks slightly off, or a little bit funny, or smells bad, you don’t eat it, then you’re less likely to poison the baby. So that’s another theory, but no one is exactly sure why.
The other benefit of morning sickness, strangely enough, is that babies whose mothers have morning sickness, measure a much higher IQ at the age of 3-7 years old. So many years down the track, your baby will still be feeling the benefits of your nausea. It can help just to remember that this has got some benefits.
Cause And Effect
Today, I’m going to try and talk to you about how to ease some of those symptoms, and where they come from. In Ayurveda Indian medicine we believe there are three causes of morning sickness. The first is called Vaatha Vaigunya, and this is a malfunction of Vata. Vata is the air and space osha; it’s the constitutional metabolic body types. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Ayurveda or not, but each of us have a metabolic body type and it’s called Dosha. Vata is the one responsible for this cause of morning sickness, because Vata is made of air and space. As you can imagine, when you put air and space together you get wind. So the wind is moving around the body; this is the function of Vata. When the wind starts moving the wrong way, you can get the food going up instead of coming down, which is obviously not a very pleasant experience. This can be why thinner women seem to be more affected by morning sickness, than bigger women. And that’s only one cause; Vaatha Vaigunya.
The second cause of morning sickness is Dauhidra Avamaanana, and this is unsatisfied desires. I think as long as something is safe whilst you’re pregnant, if you want it, you should get what you want. So you can go and tell this to your partner. Say, “Julia told me that I need to satisfy all my desires, so you’re going to have to drive the the 7-Eleven and buy me a Magnum!” Seriously, it doesn’t just have to be food cravings of course. Your desires can be emotional, they can be spiritual, they can be physical. So you’ll have all sorts of desires. If you’re feeling like this might be the cause of your morning sickness, just dig down deep inside and figure out where you’re not getting your needs met, and what you can do about it.
The third Ayurvedic cause for morning sickness is Garbha Nimittha, and this is physically the embryo pushing up. This is just literally because your tummy is big, the embryo is growing, and its pushing up on your tummy.
Feel Good Factor
Now that we’ve had a look at the three causes of morning sickness, let’s have a look at a bunch of different things that we can do about it. I’ve got six suggestions for you to try today.
1. Increase Fluids
The first one is about increasing fluids. This is because, the embryo, early in pregnancy, is liquid form. And the mother (your body) is building blood and amniotic fluid and fat. So all of these things mean that you need an increase in Kapha. And Kapha is the Dosha which is water and earth. You need to increase your fluids, but I also know that it can be really hard to drink enough and eat liquid foods.
For some women during pregnancy, food aversions can really turn them off being able to have tea or soup or lots of different, random things (again, no one really knows why). Food aversions are much more common than food cravings, which is not what the movies will lead you to believe. But if you can increase Kapha with these extra fats and fluids, that can perhaps help to ease your Vata (the air and space elements), and may give you a little bit of relief from morning sickness.
2. Eat And Sleep
The second natural remedy to try for morning sickness is super simple, and that is just sleep and eat. Prenatal care, back in the day, was very simple. We didn’t really do anything particular to look after pregnant women before we had ultrasound machines and prenatal screening tests and all sorts of things that we do now. All a newborn mother was really told to do was to look after herself. To sleep and eat, and also pregnant women were exposed to pleasant things (like baby animals and nature), and just generally encouraged to enjoy themselves.
So I really think that this is a good idea. If relates to getting your needs met. You really need to be relaxed; you need to be happy. So sleeping and eating is just one very simple little thing that you can do. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and the right things to eat. And only you know that, so I’m not going to give you a big of list diets, and what time you should go to bed, or tell you off if you stay up past a certain time of night. I would much rather you were just guided by your body, and what feels right for you. If you’re tired then just let the world be chaos, because right now you need to go to bed.
3. Plan Ahead
Number three is, know your worst time of day, and plan for it. So of course, morning sickness isn’t always worst in the morning. Often many women find they have worse morning sickness when their tummy is empty, so they haven’t eaten anything all night, then waking up in the morning can be quite a challenging time of day. Plan for this. Lots of women will say things like, have crackers by the side of your bed; other women will say that did absolutely nothing. So whatever it means for you. Some people really like to have lots of really fatty, heavy food when they’re pregnant. (And I know that you’re probably feeling guilty. Everything that you eat that’s junk food, you are worried about how it’s going to affect your baby.)
I think what you should do is try and catch up with your healthy food intake at a better time of day. So maybe at that time of day (when you know morning sickness is going to hit), then just go with the flow. Go with it for a few hours, but obviously don’t do anything that’s really detrimental. Later on in the evening, or at lunch-time (whatever your best time of day is), that’s when you can catch up on your greens; eat healthy food right now. Because that’s when you’re going to be able to tolerate it. You have to be able to hold food down, or there’s no point eating things if you can’t actually keep them down.
4. Wear Wristbands
The fourth natural remedy I want to share with you today is wristbands. Now, these are really simple, and they’re often sold in chemists as sea sickness bands. They work with an acupressure point, which is a little bit hard to explain. But if you look at the edge of your wrist, there’s a line going across that looks like a little bangle (just one of the natural wrinkles of your wrist). If you measure about three fingers down, in between the two bits of cartilage there, that there’s a pressure point. And if you buy these travel sickness bands, they usually will have a little picture telling you, and explaining how to find this pressure point.
You can just press it right now with your thumb. But the pressure bands are designed to have a little ball on them that digs into there, so when you put the bands on, it’s permanently touching that pressure point. There are a couple of types of these wristbands that you can get, and I recommend trying to find ones that are as soft as possible. There are ones that are made of quite plasticy velcro, and there are others that are more like stretchy, soft fabric wristbands. Definitely get the stretchy, soft kind if that’s an option. Some people just put them on if they know that it’s going to be a difficult time (like if they’re travelling in a car; that can often exacerbate morning sickness). Or maybe, again, first thing in the morning when you haven’t eaten anything, you could wear them overnight in preparation for that. Other people find they have to wear them 24 hours a day, and other people find they don’t do anything. This all just about finding what works for you.
5. Try Acupuncture
The fifth natural remedy for you to try is acupuncture. I’ve heard lots of people get really great results from visiting an acupuncturist. So if you’ve never had needles and it doesn’t appeal to you, then you certainly don’t have to try this. But if you really are suffering from bad morning sickness you might decide it’s time to go out of your comfort zone and try something new. See if acupuncture can do anything for your morning sickness.
6. Have Rice Bubble Tea
And the last one, number six, is a very strange one that I learnt from my Ayurvedic doctor in Melbourne. He was classically trained in Ayurveda in Kerala, India. And he told me when I had morning sickness, to have rice bubble tea! So you just get puffed rice, pour hot water over it and drink it. Now I have no idea why this works, but it does seem to help. I personally found that I had to wait for it to cool down, because I couldn’t tolerate hot drinks. Again, do whatever works for you. But I have a feeling it may just be something to do with getting that extra little bit of starch and glucose info your body very quickly, and easily absorbed carbohydrates. This is just a nice, funny little one that I’ve never come across anywhere else, but it certainly did help me.
Words Into Action
So how to put these ideas into action? I don’t want you to try everything at once or you’ll never know which one’s working, you’ll feel overwhelmed, and you’ll probably give up. Just choose one thing and keep it up. Of those six ideas just choose one, maybe two. Try them out for a week (do it consistently), and then just check in with how you’re feeling.
Now, I know that you’ve probably tried a ton more natural remedies for morning sickness than I’ve mentioned. There are literally thousands of different ideas on what to try for morning sickness. So I’d really love you to leave a comment with what you’ve tried, what worked for you, and what didn’t. I really believe that the best mum ideas are crowdsourced, and I’d love to have your ideas added to the list.
Thank you very much. If you have a friend with morning sickness, please share this podcast with her. She will thank you for it.