*Disclaimer- This is designed to help you navigate some of the common foods that can help and exacerbate nausea. It is not to be taken as dietary advice, you must ensure that you speak to your GP about what is safe for you under your specific circumstances.
Being pregnant can feel exciting, challenging, beautiful (and at times chaotic) - you’re growing a human after all! You get to feel them kick, move, grow and everything else in between. One of the less exciting things about pregnancy can be the morning sickness. Whether it lasts all day or hits you suddenly, it’s not a fun experience.
Morning sickness in its least intense form is a bit like a lingering hangover, you feel nauseous, drained, and you’re brushing your teeth constantly.
Foods you previously loved send you running to the bathroom, and the smell of your significant other’s lunch can send you into a nauseous spiral. Taking the time to find your best food for morning sickness will be essential as it’s imperative that you keep fueling your body and the amazing work that it is doing.
Below we explain what the best food for morning sickness is and the worst so you can manage your symptoms.
Firstly, What Causes Morning Sickness?
Unfortunately, the exact cause of morning sickness is unknown. Scientists think it’s likely that changing hormones are the cause. The hormones that increase throughout your pregnancy are progesterone, oestrogen and hCG, all of which can cause short term vomiting and nausea as their levels increase.
Mother nature also heightens your sense of smell; this is so you can easily detect any “unsafe” foods and protect your baby from them.
Unfortunately, mother nature doesn’t realise that the safe, perfectly cooked meal in front of you is okay, and she doesn’t need to send you into a nauseous tailspin.
Best Food for Morning Sickness
Various foods will help with pregnancy nausea and morning sickness; we recommend testing them and seeing which work best for you.
Whether that’s ginger tea, ginger ale, or ginger biscuits, give it a go! Ginger has powerful medicinal properties that help aid nausea, reduce digestive issues and kick the common cold.
It may not help with a vomiting episode, but consuming ginger is likely to help with nausea.
2. Dry Foods
Dry crackers, toast, cereal or pretzels should help settle a nauseous stomach. They are easy to prepare, have no strong smell and will fill an empty, upset stomach fast. As impossible as eating may feel, having something in your stomach lessens your nausea.
Plain dry foods like these allow you to fill your belly with something you shouldn’t react to, plus they are easy to keep by the bed!
3. Cold Foods
It’s often the scent of warm food that can bring on a wave of pregnancy nausea, instead, try cold food.
Eating cold meals is likely to involve a lot less smell, try a cold salad, yoghurt, or a treat like ice-cream, custard or jelly if it’s all you can stomach.
If that sounds impossible to swallow, suck on an ice-cube to at least replenish your fluids and ask your GP about incorporating electrolytes if you are concerned about dehydration.
We know this isn’t a food, but you need to ensure you stay hydrated after waves of nausea and vomiting. Try clear liquids like water, some juices, teas, electrolyte drinks or lemon water.
Avoid dairy-based, caffeinated or very sweet drinks, as this is likely to worsen your nausea. If you’ve been vomiting, sipping throughout the day may feel more tolerable then trying to drink large volumes at once.
5. Energy Dense Foods
Eating large amounts of food whilst you’re sick feels impossible, so eat smarter instead. When you can, try snacking on energy-dense foods like bananas, avocados, peanut butter, porridge or even mashed potatoes.
They will fill you up, are relatively plain, and will help replace some of the nutrients you’ve lost thanks to the morning sickness.
Bananas are a great snack as they will replace the potassium lost if you’ve been vomiting or experiencing diarrhea.
6. Rice, Potatoes or Noodles
Filling starchy foods like rice, noodles, or potatoes are great for settling your stomach. Plus they are high in calories, so they will keep you full and give you back some strength.
Try eating them plain or with minimal seasoning. You could also eat your noodles in a broth to increase your intake of fluids.
Worst Food for Morning Sickness
Fatty or Greasy Foods
Fatty or greasy foods can make morning sickness worse. This one is quite debatable, some women notice a significant improvement with their morning sickness by eliminating it, others find no difference.
We say give it a shot! When it comes to vomiting and nausea, you have to see what works best for you.
Again, this is another food group to test for yourself. Most people find that dairy makes a nauseous stomach worse. Try reducing your dairy consumption, or cutting it out altogether, to see if your morning sickness improves.
Spicy or Acidic Foods
Eating something spicy or acidic can trigger waves of nausea and vomiting, steer clear of these foods, and instead stick to plainer, simpler meals. These foods are also likely to trigger your nose, avoid them whenever possible to keep nausea at bay.
Other Tips for Treating Morning Sickness
Eating feels impossible when you aren’t well, but an empty stomach can make nausea worse. Try eating smaller meals more frequently, and pack them full of healthy foods to make up for any nutrients lost if you’ve been vomiting.But Take Your Time
Whilst you’re eating these smaller, more frequent meals, make sure you take your time. Eat slowly, don’t rush it, and avoid drinking liquids with your meals if you can.
Don’t Lie Down After Eating
Lying down after a meal can put more pressure on your stomach and make nausea worse. Instead, wait at least 30 minutes before you lie down to give your stomach some time to process its meal.
Nausea is likely to hit when you have an empty stomach, so try beating it! Keep some dry crackers or ginger biscuits on your bedside table, and nibble at them first thing in the morning. This way, your stomach has something to digest other than it’s own lining.
At the start of your pregnancy, one food might be totally safe and a delicious snack, but as you progress, you suddenly can’t stand the sight of it. If this happens, don’t worry, as frustrating as it is, this is perfectly normal.
Try to find a similar substitute to use instead. If crackers make you queasy, swap to dry toast. If you now can’t stand fruity tea, trade it for lemon water.
Morning Sickness Will Pass
Your morning sickness will all be worth it in the end, though it may feel impossible to navigate now. The key things to take away are to stick to healthy, plain foods.
Avoid anything too spicy, and make sure there is something in your stomach.
If food feels like it’s too much, focus on keeping hydrated. And when you can snack, make them as filling and nutrient-dense as possible.
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