Guest post by Dr. Bobby Parmar, Naturopathic Physician. The original post can be found here.
Morning sickness confers 50-75% lower miscarriage rates in women who have had a previous miscarriage.
It also seems the greater the misery and symptoms the more the benefit to the health of pregnancy. Vomiting trumps nausea. Cruel I know, but true.
Morning sickness itself is a misnomer, but as many women will attest it’s not just in the morning. Maybe morning sickness deserves a new name to reflect our changing understanding of it.
Sickness is a marker for a healthy placenta.
We now think that nausea has a very important evolutionary role in that it prevents women from consuming toxins from certain foods to protect the growing fetus. Salivation, crying, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea and vomiting are all ways to expel noxious substances. We naturally have a revulsion to harmful contagions. During the first trimester, the fetus is most vulnerable to toxins and would-be mothers practice perhaps innate avoidance behaviours with respect to certain odours generally associated with toxins.
We know too certain drugs aimed at reducing morning sickness result in more fetal abnormalities. We also now believe that women who experience nausea during pregnancy have reduced risk of breast cancer later in life as it seems that the hormone HCG is protective to breast tissue. It is also the reason morning sickness lasts as long as it does.
Having said all that there are different approaches to alleviating the severity of the nausea and regulating the body’s ability to manage its dis-ease. Much like when a child has a mild fever it is best to allow the fever to run its course and serve its purpose to rid him/her of any unwelcome bug. At some point though the fever may reach too high and threaten the life of that child, so too can morning sickness reach dangerously queasy heights. In the case of exaggerated symptoms and even more mild ones that need treatment the following suggestions are recommended:
- Maintaining constant blood sugar levels throughout the day because they are generally depressed in excess nausea. However, be vigilant about consuming low to moderate Glycemic Index foods. A list can be found here.
- Ensuring a very healthy and nutrient rich organic diet with folic acid supplementation.
- Drinking ginger teas to help control the stomach queasiness.
- Umeboshi plums or paste can reduce reflux and vomiting.
- Pressing on the mid forearm about three inches from the centre of the wrist. This acupressure/acupuncture point has been used widely to decrease nausea. There are bands you can buy that keep the pressure on that point for as long as you need it. Constitutional/General acupuncture is effective.
- Staying away from all chemicals that produce toxins that increase the body’s sensitivity to everything else.
- Lemon water, coconut water and digestive enzymes can really help. Papaya enzymes and fresh papaya help break foods down better reducing any extra burden of digestion.
- Reduce fried foods and very fatty meals that put pressure on the liver/gallbladder.
- Vitamin B6 in specific amounts depending on the individual can dramatically reduce nausea.
- Some prescription medications can be very useful too, but consultation with a qualified healthcare provider is required to determine the right one with the least harm.
- Slippery elm powder is a demulcent herbal remedy that soothes the stomach lining.
Important note: Not having symptoms of nausea isn’t automatically cause for worry because every pregnancy is different.
Morning sickness can be miserable, but with knowing this newer information there is light at the end of the tunnel!