Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness

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I was 99% certain that I was pregnant several days before I could even take the test. I walked in our favorite grocery store and it REEKED. For a few seconds I thought, “can’t everybody else smell that?!” but I quickly remembered how nasty the whole world smelled when I was pregnant the first time around. Granted, this was wonderful news. We had been trying to get pregnant again for over two years, so I was thrilled. I was also moderately concerned. With my first baby, things didn’t start smelling whiffy until about week six or seven. This couldn’t even be called “week four” yet and I was wanting to plug my nose and run! Uh-oh.

I took the test a few days later (totally unnecessary by that point, since I was already experiencing that unmistakable queasiness) and it was most definitely positive. So exciting… but what was I going to feed my three-year-old?? Even PB&J was starting to smell foul. Thankfully, we had just moved into my parent’s guest rooms in order to get our own house ready to sell (we didn’t sell it and are right back in it, now, but that’s another story). My husband and parents were wonderful about feeding Pumpkin, but even from across the house and down the stairs, I could still smell EVERYTHING. Ugh. Blah.

If you’ve had, or are having, bad morning sickness, you know what I mean when I say that everything stinks. We humans just can’t smell it most of the time. Long story short, from the time I found out I was pregnant until week 18, I lost over ten pounds. Now, at week 31 I have just gotten above ten pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. With my first baby, I couldn’t see a doctor until I was seven months pregnant, but this time our doc said either I take the Zofran or I would be admitted to the hospital for dehydration. I took the Zofron for just over a week and, in spite of my strong “anti-drugs during pregnancy” stance, it was a life-saver!

Now that you know that I KNOW what you’re going through (and I’m so, so sorry!), here are some ideas that I discovered. I hope they help!

  • Morning sickness may be related to a magnesium deficiency in many women. Try to eat high magnesium foods. It is extremely difficult to get enough through diet or oral supplements, so you might want to consider a magnesium supplement that is applied to the skin (called “magnesium oil”). 
  • Don’t force down any food or drink just because it helped somebody else. It won’t work just because it’s “supposed to” help. I couldn’t stand the smell or texture of crackers, which is the first thing everybody recommends.
  • If you think you can keep something down first thing in the morning, ask your hubby to bring it to you in bed. For several weeks nothing helped me, but as soon as I was able to eat it, my husband or Mom brought me oatmeal. It really did help for those first few hours to have something in my tender tummy.
  • If water won’t stay down (trust me, doctors really don’t like that!) try putting a few slices of fruit or cucumber in the water. I had never had “spa water” until this, but it was the only way I could keep liquids down for those worst weeks. It really was amazing that it made such a difference!! Try strawberries, cucumber, citrus or melon… whatever sounds appealing. I liked my water ice-cold, but I know some women can only drink room temperature or warm liquids. Try it all and see what works best, because you do not want to go to a germy ER for an IV.
  • One thing that made the world somewhat less smelly was to keep some organic essential oils with me all the time. If a smell bothered me (nearly all the time for several months!) I would pull out my peppermint or lemon essential oil and hold it under my nose. Sometimes that was all that kept me from… losing all that hard earned spa water I had gotten down.
  • If you know for sure that something is going to come back up, do your very best to drink some water first. Just trust me on this one. It’s better this way.
  • If it’s cool outside, it may help to get some fresh air. I also found that a cool washcloth helped, occasionally.
  • Although you will want to eat anything that sounds good, or at least edible, do remember to consider that you may forever be unable to eat it if it makes you sick. I still can’t eat anything with teriyaki sauce, because I tried to use it in a crockpot meal during my first pregnancy. Our apartment smelled like teriyaki for days.
  • Some women find great relief from eating lots of protein. The only protein I could keep down until about 16 weeks was string cheese. I still (at 31 weeks) can’t go near chicken. Go figure! High protein may work for you, though!
  • Some days it seemed to help if I had dandelion root tea or tincture, but not all of the time. Some women say red raspberry leaf tea helps. I occasionally found relief from sipping peppermint tea, but only the kind from our own garden.

Like I said before, I did have to take Zofran for about a week due to dehydration, but I didn’t make that decision lightly. If you have sunken eyes or any other signs of dehydration, call your doctor or midwife. I sincerely wish there was a one-size-fits-all cure, but there isn’t. Just do your best to choose nourishing foods when you can and accept help from anybody who offers. I know it doesn’t sound very encouraging when you’re in the middle of it, but the morning sickness will eventually ease.

Do you have any other ideas that might help another reader? Please share!!

25 thoughts on “Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness

  1. I am not pregnant, but my husband and I are hoping to start having children in a year or two. I’ve already been doing some research and study into pregnancy and childbirth, and just the other day I found a website explaining some of the debilitating morning sickness that a few of my friends and family have experienced. For some women, it’s not just morning sickness; it’s an actual disease called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Here’s a link to a website about it:

    In some cases, the illness is so severe that nothing but professional medical intervention can help. And it’s a real thing, to which I’m sure many women can attest.

    I don’t handle feeling nauseated well, so I’m hoping I inherit my mother’s fairly mild morning sickness experience whenever I do get pregnant!

    • I’ve known of a few people who have had hyperemesis-gravidarum, and that’s why I recommend seeing a doctor/midwife if there are any signs of dehydration. Not being able to keep food down is hard, but with h-g, liquids won’t stay down, either. Like I said, my doc ordered either Zofran or an IV due to my dehydration. Isn’t it amazing that the doctors don’t know what causes such an extreme problem?? My heart goes out to those ladies who are in and out of the hospital with a severe case of h-g. 🙂 I’m really hoping that doing a liver cleanse before pregnancy and taking milk thistle throughout pregnancy will help me next time. Thanks for sharing the link, Jamie! It is so important for women to get support through things like this, rather than criticism, which so many are ready to offer. 😉

      I hope that you are like a friend of mine who just discovered that she’s five months pregnant. She couldn’t even tell she’s pregnant! Her hubby mentioned she looked a tad chunky, and that’s what tipped her off!

    • R G says:

      Thank you for educating ladies on this! I have HG and have had 5 healthy babies,so ladies, don’t be discouraged, all things are possible.

    • I hope you won’t be able to relate for long- that these ideas and some extra magnesium just wipe out the morning (all day!) sickness for you! 🙂 Congrats, again!

  2. 2 things to add. 1) magnesium is best and ideally absorbed through the skin, not the digestive track, try a bath with epsom salt to fix any magnesium issues during pregnany. And it has the added benefit of not requiring anything orally. 2) PINEAPPLE, fresh pineapple, not canned. There are enzymes in fresh pineapple that help digestion, which are ruined by canning or freezing. I have difficulties with nausea not just during pregnancy but during times of stress as well, and really bad acid reflux which means I can gag/throw up even on an empty stomach. Fresh pineapple worked wonderfully to settle my stomach through 3 pregnancies and I’ve passed it on to others who had good luck with it too. Although don’t eat too much fresh pineapple, you’ll burn your mouth.

    • I’ll have to try pineapple next time around! We currently have a wonderful looking pineapple, but no morning sickness to deal with! 😉

      That is very true that magnesium is best supplemented through skin absorption rather than digestive absorption. Epsom salts don’t work well for that, though. You can now buy magnesium flakes to dissolve into water and either bathe in or spray on. I use mine in my homemade deodorant so that I know I’m getting a dose of magnesium every day! Here is a fantastic post at Cheeseslave about magnesium oil!

  3. Natalie says:

    I have heard that dandelion tea has been linked to low amniotic fluid levels. Be careful it’s a powerful diuretic! I never felt like I was going to lose my lunch but I had extreme smell and food sensitivity. I couldn’t handle sweets at all! One Sunday at church I was sitting between my sister in law and my husband and they both had new leather shoes on, I didn’t think I was going to be able to make through the service because they smelled so strong! I came to favor spearmint EO for sniffing and for rubbing on my stomach (diluted of course). I was also craving citrus juices first thing in the morning (orange or grapefruit usually).

    • Yuck! If I had been sitting there… let’s just say that their new leather shoes wouldn’t be looking so good! 😉

      It’s true that dandelion root is a diuretic, but my midwife and doctor had never had anybody have problems with low amniotic fluid from taking it. Maybe there is another factor involved with people who have problems with it. It is very, very important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, though. A pinch of unrefined Celtic sea salt in every drink provides electrolytes to help with the absorption and balance of fluids, so maybe that would be a good idea when drinking the tea. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment, Natalie!

  4. Amy says:

    I’ve also had my struggles with nausea, luckily at 13 weeks it is getting easier. Good suggestions- pineapple also helped me. I do want to add sucking on peppermints and sour candies, it helped me some and I hope it can help someone else, too.

    • I’ve heard pineapple can really help! The candies would be okay, but I’d be sure to get ones that don’t have any artificial colors or flavors, since those can be extremely unhealthy for mama and baby. 🙂 Thanks for the ideas, Amy!!

  5. Caroline says:

    Ginger worked well when I felt sick. Cold (Ginger Ale) or hot (Ginger-Tea: just some hot water over Ginger-Slices)!

    • R G says:

      Caroline, ginger is an excellent tummy tamer, but please be careful to not over do it. I have had 4 miscarriages. After each, doctors attributed them to genetics, and couldn’t really give me any answers. The last one I had lots of blood loss, and it wouldn’t clot. Finally, a doula told me about the properties of ginger which thin your blood. Some say if you have miscarried in the past, or have a history of very heavy bleeding during your cycle, you shouldn’t take ginger because it will increase your likelihood of miscarriage again. I have done a bit of research since, and it seems to back up those claims. I have had two healthy babies since my last miscarriage, so my personal experience might be helpful to you.

      • I know some women have had wonderful relief from ginger, but I’ve had hesitations. The blood-thinning properties concern me a bit, but I also seem to be exceptionally sensitive to ginger. When my hubby got the flu (the *real* flu, confirmed by a test) and I was eight months pregnant, I did drink some weak ginger tea to try to stay healthy. I didn’t get the flu, but I would get a tummy ache and my pale skin would flush up really red. I have no idea what is up with that, but it made me very cautious! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and input with us!

  6. Aimee says:

    I have 5 kids, and horrible morning sickness. With #5 however, my midwife told me to eat protein every 1.5-2 hours. Like you, I couldn’t stand meat! But I did eat a lot of peanut butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, nuts and occasionally meat and beans. Like clockwork, my body would let me know when it was time for some more. I could not believe what a difference it made. I still had to deal with the fatigue/energy problem, but to have no vomiting was so so nice. If we have another, I will try the spa water since I couldn’t stand plain water. And the magnesium lotion. I might start that one now actually 🙂 Thanks for all the tips!

    • I’m so glad that worked for you, Aimee! Protein is so important during pregnancy. Sadly, even if my hubby brought it to me before I got out of bed, most of it wouldn’t stay down. I had the most success (or the least failure??) with cottage cheese for a couple of weeks and yogurt for some other weeks. I’m hoping and praying that if we have another baby, the magnesium lotion will help me to keep things down better, but especially protein! 🙂

  7. curlysue says:

    Wow, thanks for all the ideas. I was quite sick my whole nine months my first time around. I am now expecting again and just cant go through what I did last time. I went to the ER around four times and it was very hard on me. Now I have a 3 yr old to take care of and do not have time to throw up all day long. 🙂 I’m going to get a few things today to see what I can find to help. Thanks again for the ideas.

  8. Lakesha says:

    I will try these I am 11 weeks pregnant and my morning sickness is so bad. I was just released from the hospital yesterday and want to fight hard this time to not go back. nothing is working for me and my mouth is always watery I will try pineapples as I have them in the fridge

  9. Jenn says:

    9 weeks pregnant and now all I can think about is I need pineapple. 5 am and husband is sleeping… Hmmmm… I wonder when the grocery store opens…

  10. roxy says:

    I had really bad morning sickness my first trimester. Later I had read that if your liver is overloaded it can cause you to have morning sickness. I heard about this after I was past the morning sickness so I didn’t get to try any sort of cleanse, but next time I plan to do a liver cleanse before I get pregnant to see if it helps along with magnesium as you mentioned.

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