In many cases, nausea may be the first sign of pregnancy. While sometimes nausea comes on with fluctuating hormones, most of nausea is a protective measure against toxins and there is a lot we can do to prevent and soothe prenatal nausea.
REDUCE TOXINS FOR PRENATAL NAUSEA
Your liver must process all the toxins in your body, and your baby's body. Your blood health is crucial to keeping you and baby healthy and thriving. Your body tries to purge toxins through bowel movements, the skin, and in more extreme cases, through diarrhea and vomiting. Eliminate (or significantly limit) synthetic foods, synthetic vitamins/supplements, unnatural and harsh cleaning products, and anything that makes it harder for your liver and digestive system to purge toxins that may harm your baby (or you). In our modern culture, we are accustomed to ingesting and utilizing MANY toxins that should not be in, on, or around our body but are otherwise deemed as safe for consumption and use. In the essential oil trend of the modern health movement, it is important to note that ingestion of any essential oil should be avoided unless under the direct care of a licensed aromatherapist, and really, essential oils are meant for aromatherapy. However, even through diffusion, the constituents in these oils have to be processed by the liver and it can be very taxing on the liver to do so, especially when other internal and external toxins may already be heightened. There are plenty of whole foods, whole herb, and lifestyle choices that can help you feel amazing for birth. Stick to real, whole foods, eating all the natural colors of the rainbow, and a diet that is plant-centered with minimal and all natural beauty and cleaning products.
BALANCED NUTRITION FOR PRENATAL NAUSEA
Prior to conception we need to get our nutrition balanced, ensure we're living an active lifestyle, and include beneficial herbs in our daily routine through cooking and/or teas. There is never a better time to get healthy than before we become pregnant. Chances are, though, you're reading this and already pregnant and it is never too late to do a week food and lifestyle journal to see what you're really missing. If you'd like some guidance, schedule pre-conception or early pregnancy Wellness Consult, take an Esali Birth Class, or join the FREE Birth Prep Course.
LEMONS FOR PRENATAL NAUSEA
After conception or when we start noticing nausea a great first step is storing a lot of fresh, organic, lemons. Each morning start with a tall glass of water and a nice lemon squeezed in and drink up. The tartness of the lemon not only soothes an upset stomach, the lemon helps to rid the body of toxins and increase heart health. Avoid adding sweeteners as this can increase nausea. You can also cut a wedge and suck on it anytime nausea strikes. Vitamins A and C help to curb nausea feelings and boost the immune system to protect you and baby.
GINGER FOR PRENATAL NAUSEA
Whole, organic, ginger root aids digestion and helps reduce cramping and gas. A thumbnail size piece of fresh ginger root in 1.5 cups of water, bring to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Sip slowly, about 1/4 cup every 30 minutes or so, or until the nausea subsides.
You can also make ginger candies with honey and water. Mix 2 parts honey with 1 part water, add about 1/4 C of ginger root, chopped and bring to hard crack stage. Quickly pull out the ginger root and pour out on buttered glass or wax paper and cut into bite size pieces. Roll in a little slippery elm powder and/or marshmallow root powder for a soothing treat to keep in your purse.
PROTEIN FOR PRENATAL NAUSEA
You'll want to be sure you're getting adequate protein and especially not overdoing high gluten and processed foods that slow digestion and increase nausea. While it is common to be drawn to these types of comfort foods during this time, they will exacerbate the issue. Stick with warm nourishing bone broth and miso soups which are light and filled with vitamins and minerals needed for you and your baby. Don't overdo the meat and be sure you're getting started (or continuing) to eat dark leafy greens and a variety of colorful plant foods properly prepared (steaming vegetables where necessary to aid in digestion and nutrient assimilation).
HERBS FOR PRENATAL NAUSEA
Include herbs that help to safely rid the body of toxins and nourish the blood like milk thistle seed (incredible for improving the function of the liver - take about 1 tablespoon crushed up daily in salads or smoothies or nut balls), nettles & red raspberry leaf (2-3 cups daily of tea), yellow dock root, and dandelion root. These dark greens are full of B vitamins which are another common remedy for nausea and should be a part of the daily routine.
SMALL MEALS FOR PRENATAL NAUSEA
Don't go too long without eating. Eating small and easily digested meals will encourage smooth digestion and ease nausea. Keep some nuts and granola on hand so you never go without a good source of protein and a small snack. Likewise, be sure you're drinking enough water and walk in the fresh air to avoid feeling stagnant.
Many moms find that with a healthy diet (of whole, natural, and properly prepared foods that are balanced with many dark greens and nourishing vegetables) they experience little to no nausea. Other mothers only experience nausea for a few weeks in the early stages. The healthier you are and the more natural your diet is, the more likely you will be to not experience adverse effects of hormone changes and your body encouraging toxin release.
VITAMIN B6 FOR PRENATAL NAUSEA
Vitamin B6 is really important for digestion and metabolism, particular for harder to digest foods like protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Getting enough Vitamin B6 during pregnancy when you're nauseous may be difficult because it is found higher in foods that often cause food aversions, like fish and organ meat, but you can also find this in dark leafy greens. Nutritional Yeast is a great source of Vitamin B6, but be sure you read labels and only purchase types without synthetic additives including folic acid. Eating a balanced diet prior to pregnancy, and after conception of course, can help to prevent nausea, but when you're in the middle of it, there are a few things you can do.
Improving digestion is key to preventing and healing nausea. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables with healthy fats is beneficial, and Vitamin B6 is found in dark leafy greens, squash, and other non-citrus fruits. If you can handle it, fish is an excellent go-to. There are also Prenatal Vitamin B6 supplements (both natural and prescription) that can help for prenatal nausea as well.
BODYWORK FOR PRENATAL NAUSEA
Bodywork entails multiple methods of aligning the soft and hard tissues in the body. When the body is aligned, the neurons can function well, and this correlates to your circulation and digestion - both which are imperative for removing toxins from the body. Like many modern expecting mothers, you may have been prescribed a prenatal vitamin, usually full of many synthetic supplements including high amounts of iron. Iron is highly constipating, which only exacerbates the issue.
The "I Love U" massage is wonderful for improving digestion and easy to do on yourself (and a great tool to have for your parenting bag); otherwise any licensed massage therapist should know this technique well. Osteopathic manipulation and neuromuscular therapy gently helps the body to reconnect. Massage, yoga, stretching, and even chiropractic care can be great as well (keep in mind though, chiropractic care is temporary and the soft tissue and lifestyle habits need to be adjusted for continued alignment). Move well, walk well, and care for the soft tissues in your body for a full functioning, and less nausea.
REST FOR PRENATAL NAUSEA
Last but certainly not least, remember to rest! While you need fresh air and an active lifestyle, you also need to listen to your body and get enough rest. If you feel low on energy, let your body work on gestation and take a nap. Learn to say no often and don't overbook your schedule. Take some time to start reading some great books or start in a birth class.
For more information on staying healthy and preparing for a happy and healthy perinatal experience, take a local or online Esali Birth class!