By Jen Garcin
Pregnancy was one of the most exciting and joyful times of my life, but it was also one of the sickest. Like more than 75% of pregnant women, I experienced morning sickness (should be called all day sickness—am I right?!). Just looking at pictures of food sent me into a queasy spell, and I have a friend that was so sick, she couldn’t even look at her phone. Don’t worry, there’s some good news! We’ve found four foods that are scientifically proven to ease morning sickness.
Lemons contain citric acid which soothes the stomach and aids in digestion. Some mamas-to-be keep a fresh lemon in their bag, because simply sniffing a lemon can help with nausea. In a 2014 study, pregnant women who were given lemon essential oil to smell had a statistically significant decrease in the intensity of their nausea and vomiting compared to the control group.
Try squeezing fresh lemon into cold water (or warm water with a drop of honey—yum).
Ginger is one of the oldest remedies for an upset stomach, and has been used for over 2,000 years. It is believed to have compounds that both disrupt chemicals in your body that produce nausea, as well as aiding in digestion. One study found that ginger significantly relieved nausea and vomiting for pregnant women compared to the control group. There are also no adverse effects for pregnancy, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends ginger as a remedy for morning sickness.
Try sipping on ginger tea or sucking on a ginger candy. If you can’t stomach the taste, there are ginger supplements you can try. Just make sure that they don’t have any other added ingredients, and be sure to check in with your OBGYN before taking any supplements.
In a 2010 study of women in their first trimester, scientists found that pregnant women who ate more protein had less morning sickness. Women who ate less protein and suffered from morning sickness had lower levels of vitamin B, magnesium, and zinc.
If you’re like me and craving a daily taco, red meat is an excellent way to get more protein into your diet. If you are vegan, vegetarian, or the thought of meat makes you even queasier, try soy, nut, or pea products.
In a 2018 study, ginger and B6 were proven equally effective in combating morning sickness. B6 is believed to help our bodies process and break down amino acids (proteins) which can reduce nausea. This life-saver of a vitamin is found in all types of food including whole grains, potatoes, soy, peanuts, eggs, meat, and fish.
Oatmeal is a great way to start your morning. It contains B6, and also helps to coat your stomach, alleviating some of that early morning queasiness. Make sure to check the labels when you’re grocery shopping, so you can choose a brand of oatmeal that contains a good percentage of B6.
Pro tips for relieving morning sickness from Guidepost at Home Moms:
Graze throughout the day rather than eating big meals.
Carry a survival kit stocked with anything and everything that works for you (don’t forget the toothbrush and toothpaste).
Lie down or place your head between your knees when you need to.
If you feel up to it, exercise. Even 20 minutes of walking per day can help with morning sickness.
Use hand lotion with a scent that helps. Lemon and peppermint are great picks.
Anecdotally, along with lots of water with lemon, preggie pop drops saved me during my first trimester. Ultimately, OBGYNS recommend eating whatever appeals to you. If all you can stomach is saltine crackers, and that helps ease your nausea—go for it! While you are achieving the incredible feat of building a human, you deserve to feel good too. If any of these foods sound good, give them a try. Feel better, Mama!
Jen Garcin is a proud mom of a human baby and two kittens. She had an exciting and fulfilling career in criminal justice reform before transitioning to her favorite job ever, being a stay-at-home mom to her daughter & boss, Eloise. She is also a certified yoga instructor. Jen is passionate about all issues related to motherhood, social justice, and dabbles in freelance writing and marketing consulting. She is super active in her local community, and hosts a monthly cookbook club.