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Morning sickness

MagazineSeptember 2005 (Vol. 16 Issue 6)Morning sickness

* Try ginger (Zingiber officinale)

* Try ginger (Zingiber officinale). Of 30 pregnant women with NVP, 70.4 per cent said they felt better when taking 250 mg of powdered ginger (Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol, 1991; 38: 19-24). Ginger tea, ginger ale or ginger biscuits also help.

* Take B vitamins. B6 (pyridoxine) can ease NVP attacks (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2003; 4: CD000145), and B12 can cut down how often you throw up. Be sure to take these vitamins before the waves of nausea strike.

* Consider homoeopathy, which can ease morning sickness (and labour) (Prof Care Mother Child, 1994; 4: 185-7). If the nausea is severe, consider Nelsons' Nux Vomica 6c tablets, traditionally used for digestive disorders. It's available from health stores as well as online from various websites.

* Try acupressure. Stimulating the P6 acupoint, which lies about 4 cm up from the wrist creases, significantly reduced NVP compared with stimulating a false acupoint and no treatment at all (J Reprod Med, 2001; 46: 835-9).

* Consider hypnosis, which may benefit both mother and baby by making pregnancy more comfortable and promoting healthier fetal development (Birth, 1999; 26: 248-54).

* Consult a herbalist. A wide range of herbs can help morning sickness. Chamomile and wild yam root, for example, aid digestion and have sedative effects, while balm and meadowsweet can be soothing. There is also anecdotal evidence that slippery elm can help to soothe the digestive tract.

Note, however, that some herbal preparations and medications can harm the fetus or cause birth defects; others can cause the baby to be born ill or too small. Always exercise caution when taking any supplements during pregnancy.

* Identify nausea triggers. The taste and smell of some foods can cause feelings of sickness, so avoid them.

* Eat small, frequent meals every two to three hours - even if you're not hungry. Keep hydrated, and avoid diuretics such as coffee and alcohol. Crackers or dry toast, 20-30 minutes before getting up and while still in bed, slightly propped up, can help. Bland foods like pretzels may help.

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