Did you know that more than 80% of women experience nausea and 50% may experience vomiting during pregnancy? So much for that pregnant “glow”, right?!
Nausea and vomiting are common in the first trimester – usually starting around weeks 5-9 of pregnancy. So if you’re going through it now, you are not alone.
Of course, every experience is different, even from first to subsequent pregnancies. Some women breeze through. Some women don’t just experience ‘morning sickness’ but feel unwell all day. And a very small number of women experience nausea through their entire pregnancy (this is known as hyperemesis gravidarum and requires medical management).
So what can you do?
If you do experience nausea and vomiting, there may be some days you find it difficult to eat too much – on these days, just do your best to stay hydrated by keeping your fluids up, and focus on nutritious foods when you can eat.
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You’ll find there are certain foods that sit better with you – of course, healthy food choices are always better in the long run, but if you’re reaching for less nutritious snacks like potato chips and lollies or candy from time to time, that’s okay. If you feel really unwell just do your best with what you can eat at the time, then try to balance it out with more nutritious food when you can stomach it. Whatever you do, make sure you’re consistently taking your pregnancy multivitamin!
You may be feeling depleted and undernourished if you can’t eat much, but the good news is your baby will still be absorbing nutrients from what you do eat. If you are really struggling to eat or drink, speak to your doctor.
9 tips to help ease nausea
1. Instead of big meals, eat small meals and snacks throughout the day.
2. Always have your water bottle handy so you can sip on fluid consistently (large gulps can make things worse) across the day. Try plain carbonated mineral water or hot drinks if still water isn’t sitting well.
3. Go for plain and simple foods that don’t have a super-strong smell or taste (you may have to leave the tuna or curry until you’re feeling better!)
4. If keeping down solid food is a challenge, nutrient-dense fluids like smoothies or soups can be a great way to get the nutrition you need.
5. Light carbohydrate foods such as crackers or toast often sit well.
6. The smell or sight of food being prepared can trigger nausea, so let someone else do the cooking if possible.
7. If cooking regularly makes you feel nauseous, batch cook a few meals at once so you have meals ready to go when your stomach is!
8. Wherever you go, carry snacks in your bag that you know you can stomach. This will ensure you’re never caught out and don’t have to go hungry.
9. Nausea is often worse on an empty stomach. So while it may seem backwards, eating small amounts of food frequently and snacking between meals can actually help reduce the symptoms of morning sickness.
Advanced Sports Dietician Lisa Middleton is an expert on achieving optimum performance in sport. She has advised elite athletes and sporting teams in Australia, and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Movement, a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics, and certificates in Sports Nutrition and in Fitness. She’ll help you cut through the nutrition myths to fuel your goals.
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