Pregnancy is a wonderful gift and every woman deserves to enjoy the experience. Unfortunately, Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, commonly called “Morning Sickness” (but can occur all day long), affects a large majority of pregnancies. Up to 70% of women report nausea and 30–50% of women go through the dreaded experience of vomiting in the first 3-5 months of pregnancy. Although most cases are mild and resolve by the twenty weeks, for some, it can last the entire 9 months – clinically known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). HG is characterized by persistent nausea and vomiting that results in dehydration, ketosis, electrolyte imbalances and weight loss.
Morning Sickness may be caused by the large hormonal shifts that occur during the first few months of pregnancy. This includes increased estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid hormone. Estrogen can be 70 times higher and progesterone 10 times higher than pre-pregnancy levels! These hormones may affect smooth muscles in the digestive tract, leading to nausea and vomiting. Other potential causes include: Poor nutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, low blood sugar and high levels of stress. Stress can affect digestion and appetite because so much of the nervous system resides in the gut. Pregnancy also heightens the senses which can increase the experience of stress.
Naturopathic medicine has many tools to help aid in the treatment of morning sickness including:
NDs can work with patients BEFORE they become pregnant to optimize fertility and promote healthy detoxification to reduce toxin loads.
Nutritional counseling to optimize nutrient intake and relieve nausea.
Specific vitamin and herbal supplementation to calm and nourish the digestive tract.
Acupuncture and Vitamin injections to relieve stress as well as nausea and vomiting.
Helping patients develop effective relaxation techniques to promote stress reduction and manage fears.
Because it can often be difficult to keep down prenatal vitamins with even a little water during the first 3 months, I offer all my pregnant patients intramuscular Vitamin injections to manage morning sickness. This helps to ensure proper neural tube development for the growing baby. Personally, I’m not sure I would have made it through my first 4 months of pregnancy, without getting weekly shots. This is a good alternative if you have adverse feelings about taking prescription medications during pregnancy. These medications (ie. Diclectin) at 4 pills a day, do not always prevent the symptoms and can be very expensive, $120-$150 for a one month supply.
Other considerations for Morning Sickness:
Ginger tea or 250mg ginger root powder in a capsule 3-4x/day. (Avoid more than 1 gram / Day)
Choosing the right prenatal for you – some prenatals may cause nausea
Avoiding processed foods, fried foods and foods high in sugar.
Eating every 2-3 hours. Eat protein with every meal. Have a protein rich snack before going to bed.
Moderate exercise helps
Surround yourself with support during pregnancy. There are wonderful family doctors, naturopathic doctors, midwives, chiropractors, massage therapists and more to draw on. We are all available and happy to assist you in having a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy. There are some amazing natural resources available for women who want to empower themselves, educate themselves and have a memorable birth experience, please check out the following:
1. HypnoBirthing with Kathleen https://allbirth.com/class/
2. Kelowna Doula Association – providing you with a Birthing Coach for you and your partner @ https://www.kelownadoulas.com/meet-our-doulas
3. Malachite Midwives for safe & successful natural home births @ http://malachitemidwives.ca/