When I was 6 weeks pregnant with both of my children, it was like someone flipped a switch: one day I felt fine and the next I woke up feeling nauseous.
On a few occasions, there was some vomiting thrown in but in general, it was a constant queasy feeling that lasted all day.
According to a 2013 meta-analysis in the Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, approximately 70 percent of pregnant women have nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
It turns out however, that “morning sickness” is a misnomer. For most women, that nauseous feeling is something that lasts 24/7.
In fact, less than 2 percent of women experience nausea and vomiting only in the morning, while 80 percent have it all day, one study found.
When you have nausea, struggle to keep food down and don’t have an appetite, it can be pretty miserable.
For most women however, morning sickness improves over time and there’s a lot you can do to prevent and deal with morning sickness.
1. Eat small meals
When your blood sugar is low, you’re more likely to feel nauseous so do your best to avoid skipping meals.
Focus on eating small meals made up of protein and complex carbohydrates about 3 to 4 hours apart to give your body a slow, steady release of energy and prevent huge blood sugar spikes and crashes.
2. Try the scent of lemon
The smell and taste of lemon is so refreshing and may help you deal with morning sickness.
A warm cup of tea or water with lemon and a bit of honey or adding lemon essential oil to a diffusor may do the trick.
3. Carry snacks
If the subway gets delayed or you get stuck at the DMV, having a snack in your bag can help you deal with morning sickness should it strike.
Portable snacks like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, granola bars (made with whole ingredients and low sugar), whole-grain crackers or a piece of fruit are all great options.
4. Add ginger to your diet
Ginger is well known for it’s ability to combat nausea and if you can tolerate it, it can be quite effective for morning sickness.
Processed ginger snaps or ginger ale, however won’t cut it.
The key is to consume real ginger root.
Try boiling a small piece of ginger in water, adding it to tea or a green juice.
Ginger root beer (it’s non-alcoholic), ginger capsules, gum or lozenges may also help combat that queasy feeling.
5. Vitamin B6
During my second pregnancy, my midwife recommended I take a vitamin B6 supplement and it ended up being a lifesaver for me. In fact, the nausea went away within a day or two.
Ask your provider to recommend a reputable supplement brand and explain how much to take and how often.
6. Eat magnesium-rich foods
Kale and spinach might be the last thing you want to eat when you’re dealing with morning sickness but a magnesium-deficiency can lead to nausea.
In fact, most women are deficient in magnesium during pregnancy, a September 2016 study in the journal Nutrition Reviews found.
In addition to green leafy vegetables, foods high in magnesium include almonds, cashews, black beans, edamame, and avocado.
If you don’t think you’re getting enough magnesium, ask your provider about taking a magnesium supplement, the type of magnesium and dose.
7. Sip on peppermint tea
Peppermint has a long history of being used for digestive disorders and experts say it’s safe to drink peppermint tea during pregnancy, although it may make heartburn worse.
8. Salty crackers
Saltines are pure, refined carbohydrates and not a food anyone should be eating on a regular basis because they lack fiber and spike blood sugar, but they can be really helpful in easing morning sickness.
Keep them by your bedside and munch on a few before you get out of bed in the morning or snack on them during the day when you feel sick.
9. Drink up
It sounds counterintuitive to drink water if you’re struggling to keep much of anything down, but if you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to experience morning sickness.
You might find drinking in between meals, drinking ice water or a piping hot cup of herbal tea.
You can also stay hydrated by eating melon and citrus fruits which are really refreshing when you’re pregnant, and especially during the summer months.
Either way, avoid soda, sugary and sugar-sweetened beverages which are empty calories, spike your blood sugar and leady to unhealthy pregnancy weight gain.
10. Try smoothies, green juices or soup
If the sight or aroma of greens is enough to make your stomach turn, try getting a bunch of vegetables and fruit in a smoothie or green juice.
Or make a vat of broth-based, pureed vegetable soup.
You’ll pack in a ton of nutrition and in a more palatable way.
11. Avoid fatty foods
You might be craving a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, but fatty foods and processed fast food are hard to digest and will most likely bring on nausea.
Not to mention a healthy pregnancy diet isn’t what you and your baby really need.