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Health & Pregnancy

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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Doctors don't know for sure exactly what causes morning sickness, but most likely, multiple factors are responsible, such as an increase in hormones and the physiological changes associated with pregnancy, says Cathryn Tobin, MD, author of The Parent's Problem Solver.

When working with pregnant women, Degnan likes to take as natural an approach as possible. Among his suggestions:

  • Keep crackers, dry toast, or cereal at the bedside, and eat something before getting out of bed in the morning. These bland, carbohydrate-based foods help lessen nausea.
  • Eat small amounts throughout the day to avoid becoming too full, or alternately, too hungry.
  • Consider changing to an iron-free prenatal vitamin if you are not anemic, but check with your doctor first.
  • Ginger -- in tea, candied, or in capsules -- can be effective in fighting nausea. Don't exceed more than 1,000 mg of ginger a day.
  • Raspberry tea has been used by many pregnant women to ease morning sickness; there is currently some debate about its safety, however, so don't drink this without speaking to your physician first.
  • Vitamin B-6 also provides relief for many pregnant women; don't take more than 25 mg a day, and again, consult your doctor first.

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.

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