Nausea is not fun, but is a reality for most pregnant women, in varying degrees during the first and sometimes second trimesters. However, this post is not just for the moms-to-be. This is for anyone who finds themselves suffering from occasional nauseous moments, whether its travel sickness, a hangover, or a nervous stomach. Back in the day, if I felt nauseous, I'd pop a couple of chewable Pepto and be done with it.
Nowadays, as you might imagine, I'm more interested in the natural options that are available to me. The thing about pregnancy nausea is that it feels slightly different from day to day. Therefore, the relief you need won't always be the same each time. This is also the case for non-pregnancy nausea.
Below, a list of some great natural options to relieve mild to moderate nausea. In severe cases, or in the event that you're unable to keep anything down, by all means try these, but the most important thing is to stay hydrated and talk to your health care provider.
Natural Nausea Relief
- GINGER. You've no doubt heard of this one before. It seems to be the go-to recommendation for morning sickness relief. It's unknown what exactly causes the excellent digestive soothing that ginger provides, other than some special chemical compound found in the root's flesh. My favorite forms have been spicy ginger beer (not ginger ale - there's barely any ginger in it) or ginger candy from Reed's or The Ginger People. This works when you need a strong flavor to overcome your nausea, but it does leave a warm sensation in your mouth which may sometimes feel or taste unpleasant. You can also grate or slice some fresh peeled ginger into hot water for a potent tea.
- EAT! Sometimes this sounds like the last thing you'd want to do, but an empty stomach can make nausea much much worse. My worst episodes occurred after a long night's sleep, where it had been about 12 hours since the last time I ate. Eating some bland foods and keeping nourishing snacks handy throughout the day will help to combat this. My favorites are brown rice crackers, roasted unsalted almonds, Larabars, and Kelp Krunch bars, all very portable!
- PEPPERMINT. Not only is peppermint a natural stomach soother, it also gives your mouth a nice cool, clean feeling, something that can provide instant nausea relief. Try fresh mint leaf tea, natural mints (VerMints are great), or take a sniff of some peppermint aromatherapy oil.
- LEMON. Just smelling some fresh lemon can make a huge difference. If you find it helps you, carry around a slice or two of fresh lemon in a baggie and sniff it if you ever get a nausea wave. This is particularly helpful if you find yourself somewhere with strong and unpleasant smells (like a bus/train)!
- HORSE EXHALES. This might sound (and look) ridiculous, but it helps! Try a deep inhale through the nose, and then exhaling through your mouth, letting your lips audibly vibrate against each other, like a horse. Does that make sense? I tried to find something on YouTube that might explain it but with no luck. Anyway, this is a quick and easy way to relax your whole body - which can often be just the ticket to relieve nausea.
- SOUR TASTES. Some days, if I'm feeling sick to my stomach, the only things that sound good are sour. It's that sharp bite that takes the full, uncomfortable, sick feeling away. Foods that have helped me: citrus fruits, pickles, Granny Smith apples, and cold green grapes.
- COLD TASTES. Sometimes, nausea relief is as simple as an ice cube. The cold factor can be a wonderful thing to cut through a sickly feeling. Try chewing on ice, natural fruit popsicles, ice cold water or fresh juice, or frozen grapes.
- ACUPRESSURE. There is a specific point on the inner wrist that is thought to be connected to the stomach, and when pressed on hard, can alleviate discomfort and nausea. Measure two thumb widths down from the crease of your wrist on your inner arm. The point lies there, between the two tendons (which become more obvious when you make a claw with your fingers). Press there sharply until you feel a "pleasant pain" and you should start to feel relief. It could take a few minutes but is a great thing to try. It's also nice for someone else to do for you, which can help you to relax. (If you don't believe in the powers of acupressure or acupuncture, then just think of it as a distraction pain - you'll focus on your wrist rather than the nausea!)
So there's your nausea relief toolbox. Give them a try next time you're feeling queasy. And please share your tried-and-true remedies!