If you’ve never had a baby before, the first new months of pregnancy can definitely take some getting used to. The problem isn’t weight gain or food cravings. The real problem is trying to get through an entire day without dashing for the bathroom. It’s called “morning sickness,” but your stomach doesn’t wear a watch. Morning, noon, or night – you can never be sure when your stomach is going to start feeling queasy.
Doctors aren’t sure what causes morning sickness or why it affects some women and not others, or some pregnancies and not others. Here’s what they do know. Morning sickness usually occurs between the sixth and thirteenth week of pregnancy, and it generally starts to settle down after that. It’s thought that changing levels of hormones or blood sugars are probably responsible.
Morning sickness isn’t dangerous, and it is common (as though that makes you feel any better). But it can be dreadfully uncomfortable. Here are a few way to keep your stomach calm.
Keep crackers at your bedside. One of the best foods for beating morning sickness is unsalted crackers. Doctors often recommend that women who are expecting morning sickness eat crackers first thing in the morning and as often during the day as they wish. Putting food in your stomach will help keep it calm. Crackers are easy for the body to digest, making them the perfect “queasy food”. You may even want to keep the crackers right by your bedside to eat the minute you wake up; otherwise, by the time you get dressed it might be too late.
Pour a little ginger . Ginger has been used for ages for easing a variety of stomach troubles, and many doctors feel it’s an effective remedy for morning sickness. You can buy ginger tea at health food stores. Or take ginger supplements, which appear to work just as well.
Eat early and often . When your stomach is on edge, you don’t want to overburden it by eating too much all at once. Most women find that eating several small meals a day is more comfortable than having a few large ones.
Drink plenty of fluids . When you’ve been vomiting because of morning sickness, your body loses valuable fluids – and dehydration will make your stomach even more unsteady. It’s a good idea to drink as much water as you comfortably can – at least eight to twelve glasses a day, doctors say. If you’d like something with a little taste, juices and sports drinks also are good.
Have a frozen treat . Many women find that frozen fruit bars, the ones made with real juice, can hit the spot when nothing else wants to stay down. They’re slightly sweet, so they help replace sugars you may be losing if you’re vomiting. They’re also filled with water, so they can help satisfy your daily fluid needs.
Let your stomach be your guide . There are no hard and fast rules for choosing “comfort” foods. Some women do best with bland foods like rice and crackers, while others prefer salads, beans, or fresh vegetables. You’ll just have to experiment a bit to see which foods cause the fewest problems – and which you’ll want to avoid. As a rule, doctors say, you should avoid fried or very strong flavored foods, since they’re often hard to digest and are more likely to trigger morning sickness.
Get some fresh air. When you’ve been in a stuffy room and your stomach won’t hold still, getting a breath of fresh air can help calm things down. Just opening the window can help settle your stomach. Better yet, take a walk. Many doctor recommended mild exercise for all pregnant women, especially those with morning sickness.