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Morning Sickness Misery

Whether it's in the morning or all day long, pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting can be debilitating. Here are some ways to muddle through the misery.

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If all else fails, before resorting to prescription medications, Degnan will suggest Emetrol, an over-the-counter product containing glucose, fructose, and phosphoric acid. It seems to reduce nausea by easing intestinal hyperactivity, and appears to have no significant side effects (although it can raise blood sugar in patients with diabetes, including gestational diabetes, so if you are in that category, check with your doctor before taking).

Another remedy, suggests Degnan, are acupressure bands (marketed as Sea-Bands), which lay over the Pericardium 6 (P6) acupuncture point, long known to relieve feelings of nausea. This suggestion is echoed by William Grant, EdD, associate dean of graduate medical education and research professor of family medicine at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. Grant has coordinated a number of clinical trials on the effectiveness of Sea-Bands as a solution for nausea associated with morning sickness.

The bands are a noninvasive, drug-free alternative, he says. Between 67%-75% of patients using acupressure have high levels of relief from morning sickness nausea. A bonus, says Grant, is that the relief is almost immediate and does not have any unwanted side effects.

To obtain the greatest benefit from the bands, says Degnan, frequently massage the plastic button overlying the acupuncture point. Sea-Bands are relatively inexpensive -- approximately $8 a pair; a new product, called ReliefBand, is pricier -- at about $110 -- and releases low-level electrical pulses that stimulate the same acupuncture point.

Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books, says that some women cope with morning sickness -- or the more medically accurate term, "nausea and vomiting of pregnancy" -- for their entire pregnancy. She offers additional tips for coping with the situation:

  • Don't have fluids at mealtimes. Some women find that eating and drinking at the same time can trigger nausea. Just make sure, says Douglas, that you make up for the lost fluids at other times of the day, since dehydration can also cause nausea.
  • Identify your triggers and avoid them. You may find that you feel fine unless you encounter a food (usually something high-fat and greasy) or odor (such as perfume, cigarette smoke, coffee, and strong cooking smells) that you find particularly offensive. Some experts, Douglas says, suggest eating your meals next to an open window in order to minimize the number of odors you're exposed to while you're eating.
  • Try taking your prenatal vitamin in the middle of a meal instead of on an empty stomach.
  • Choose "stomach-friendly" foods such as yogurt, and low-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.
  • Avoid hard-to-digest foods such as sausages, onion rings, and other fatty fried foods.
  • Experiment until you find one or more foods that appeal to you.
  • Don't force yourself to eat foods that make you feel worse just because they're good for you. If you're going to throw up all the nutritious foods you're eating, you're better off just eating what you can keep down, and making up for it when you feel better.
  • Avoid pants with belts and other tight-fitting clothing.
  • Carry around a slice of lemon inside a small plastic bag. Some women find that sniffing lemon helps to settle their stomach. Others find similar relief from mint or grated ginger root.

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