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Dealing With Morning Sickness

With several different girlfriends in
various stages of pregnancy, the topic of morning sickness seems to
be never far from the table. So last week’s poll was an
attempt to glean a bit of wisdom from you gals, and give my
mommies-to-be the comforting news that they aren’t alone.

If there’s one thing the poll showed, it’s that every
pregnancy is different. Out of six possible answers, the votes were
split completely evenly between five of them. Of course there were
those people who didn’t get morning sickness at all; we try
not to be envious and move on.

But as for the rest, it’s whatever works, baby. Some said
managing their diet and getting enough exercise kept the morning
sickness under control. Other moms just gritted their teeth and
counted down the puking days until 14 weeks and they were out of
the first trimester. There were moms who said they ate whatever
they could possibly keep down, healthy or balanced or not, while
still others said they ate as little as possible to avoid throwing
up more.

I didn’t have a lot of morning
sickness, so I’ll apologize up front. I did, however, have
one week of it, which made me profoundly sympathetic for those
women who are stuck with it for any length of time. My girlfriend
Abby used to gag while simply brushing her teeth, while my friend
Diane spent 7 months throwing up no matter what she tried. In
general, though, there are a few things you can do to try to
alleviate the nausea a bit.

First, try to eat frequently. Sounds counterintuitive, I know, but
at least part of the nausea is due to a fierce hunger you’ve
got going on. As a hypoglycemic, I was used to eating frequent
small meals and I discovered that if I kept this up I didn’t
have any nausea. Skip a snack, though, and suddenly you’re so
hungry you’re sick and NOTHING sounds good. One of my best
tricks – keep a bottle of Ensure (or some liquid meal
replacement) by the bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night
hungry, you can down it without getting up. It’ll last much
longer than say crackers, and you won’t wake up as sick in
the morning. Just make sure whatever you’re drinking
doesn’t have artificial sweeteners or diet aids like chromium
picolinate in them. I swear, this helped me a lot.

Second, the exercise thing really does help. Getting some sort of
exercise in regularly will help regulate your metabolism and
you’ll feel much better. Obviously, if you’re falling
over sick, don’t drag yourself to the gym. But if I was
feeling a bit low, I’d swim a few laps and it’d last me
for a good day or two. Get out for a quick walk, do some brisk
stairs, something. (All of this with a doctor’s approval,

Third, try to avoid too many empty carbs. They make your blood
sugar yo-yo up and down and don’t help much long-term with
the hunger. Make multi-grain toast instead of white, eat wheat
thins instead of ritz crackers, try string cheese instead of a
bagel, eat applesauce (for the fiber) instead of drinking apple
juice. That sort of thing. Luna bars are a great filler to throw in
your purse for hunger emergencies. This is really difficult advice
to follow sometimes, so if it doesn’t work for you, ignore me
completely. Abby’s first pregnancy, she spent her entire
first trimester existing on apple juice and (Lay’s) potato
chips (not ridges!!!). You do what it takes to get SOME sort of
calories into your body!

Fourth, some of those home remedies do really work. Tart tastes
seems to help, like sucking on lemon candies, and ginger in
moderation has helped friends as well. Flat ginger ale would taste
good but the sugar was too much for me; boiling some cut-up ginger
root in water, then drinking the water with some lemon and honey,
worked much better.

Fifth, drink a lot of water. Dehydration can often act like hunger,
and in the first trimester your body DOUBLES its blood volume;
that’s a lot of extra liquid your body needs! So drink up. If
you are having a hard time with the taste of water (I’ve
known it to happen) try those Vitamin Water drinks; they’re
like Gatorade but with much less sugar. Again, just check for
additives or artificial sweeteners.

Bottom line is, morning sickness sucks and no one can figure out a
way to make it disappear. Be prepared to spend more money eating
out; chances are you won’t always have ingredients on hand
for the one thing that sounds palatable to you. And read those baby
books with their complete lists of all the varied and healthy foods
you should be eating, but take them with a grain of salt. How the
heck are you supposed to eat two leafy greens, a tomato, an
apricot, and a citrus fruit every day when your stomach rebels at
the idea of water?? So do your best, but don’t feel guilty if
your eating is not picture-perfect. Multi-vitamins are there to
help you.

And on that subject, pre-natal vitamins are most important in the
first trimester, so find something that works for you. If a pill
makes you gag, ask your OB for a prescription for the chewables
(though I hated those because they tasted like iron). There are
also brands that break it up into two smaller pills- one morning,
one night. You’ll hit on something you can tolerate.

If you’re one of those women who are worshipping at the
porcelain altar for much of your day and you’re reading my
smug admonition to simply exercise more, sorry. I feel for you and
know some women get it so bad there’s absolutely nothing you
can do. To you I say –

Don’t count the weeks. Count the days. 280 days, 279 days,
278 days . . .

If you have a great suggestion for curbing morning sickness, please
post it here! I’m always eager for more tips to pass on to
other mommies.


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