How I Dealt With First Trimester Nausea and "Morning" Sickness
Honestly, why do they even call it morning sickness? Is it because it starts in the morning and lasts the whole damn day? Makes absolutely no sense. If you’re one of the extremely lucky women who did not get hit with a bout of horrific nausea and acid reflux in your first trimester, congratulations! I hate you.
If you’re not so lucky, like I was not, keep on reading. Everyone is different, but personally the morning sickness was all day every day from week 8-week 14, with no reprise. I will be brutally honest with you, because no one was with me… it doesn’t get better until it completely goes away, in my experience. I found that very loving and well-intentioned family members would say things like “maybe tomorrow will be better,” but it never was. The nausea (also kind of an inaccurate description) didn’t go away fully until the middle of my fourteenth week. It happened overnight, and I felt 100% better when it vanished. So just buckle up and prepare to power through. It will go away soon, pinky promise.
I learned quickly that pregnancy nausea is very different than regular nausea, where I almost always would wait it out. AKA, if I was feeling queasy, I’d stop eating until I felt better. With pregnancy, you can’t really do that because the hungrier you allow yourself to get, the more nauseas you feel. Except you don’t want to eat, so it’s a vicious cycle. Doctors suggest hilarious things like “eating a few crackers in the middle of the night during a midnight pee break” so that you don’t wake up starving. IDK about you but I’m not a fan of stuffing saltines down my throat at 3AM while running to pee and trying to stay sleepy. Below are some tips that helped me.
*Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, and these are just suggestions that helped me during my pregnancy. Please check with your doctor/midwife if they recommend this for your personal situation.
Don’t worry about the baby: The baby is getting everything it needs from your body, and is not relying (much) on your diet at this point, so fret not. You do not need extra calories at this point in your pregnancy, nor do you need to gain weight.
Eat whatever you can stomach: Forget about getting greens, my diet was straight up white carbs, with some butter occasionally mixed in. I had plain toast for breakfast, some chicken soup for lunch, and a big boiled potato with butter for dinner. It went on like this day after day. I had a lot of guilt about the lack of variety, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, etc, but what could I do? When I tried to eat anything else, I threw up. I decided that I would give up the guilt-trip and just trust that I was doing the right thing for myself. Little by little, I was able to reintroduce certain vegetables (romaine lettuce, cucumbers, cauliflower) that didn’t upset my stomach and eventually I went back to my normal eating habits. The important thing is to try and eat because like I said, the hungrier you get, the more nausea you tend to feel.
Small meals are critical: For me, 3 small meals a day were all I could handle, until I could up that to 5-6 small meals a day. However, when I tried to eat bigger meals, I immediately got terrible reflux and had to puke. Even as you start to feel better, avoid indulging in big meals because while it may feel okay in the moment, it likely won’t sit well 2 hours later.
Plain foods are your savior. Saltine crackers everywhere. I carried a bag with me at all times for bites between meals to hold nausea at bay. Chicken soup, plain pasta, boiled potatoes, rice with ghee, toast, English muffins, all the things you normally avoid when you’re #eatingclean were what I ate during the first trimester. Perhaps for you, the list looks different. Listen to your body and just eat what feels right as long as it doesn’t make you sick.
Be wary of smelly odors. One night around week 10, I thought I was feeling better and really craving Indian food. I ordered a few things and waited for the food to be deliveredl. Of course, before it was delivered, I got nauseas. By the time it arrived at our door, I almost made Brandon eat outside. The smell sent me straight to the bathroom and I could not eat a thing. Lesson learned. Also, tell your husband not to do things like fry bacon first thing in the morning. It won’t end well for anyone.
Don’t chug tons of water. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, but avoid chugging an entire bottle of water in one sitting. This happened to me a few times, and everything came back up right away. Just take small sips often and you’ll be okay. If you’re feeling dehydrated, get a drink with lots of electrolytes like coconut water. Coconut water also has potassium, and I found I was easily able to drink it in the morning for hydration.
Avoid coffee. I couldn’t so much as handle the smell of coffee, but even if you can, it’s acidic and caffeinated nature does not help your struggling tummy. Swap it out for tea, at least in the first trimester.
Avoid travel in weeks 8-12. Long before we knew we were pregnant or even planned on trying, Brandon and I booked a trip to Savannah & Charleston for our one year anniversary. We were so excited! All the beautiful architecture! All the amazing southern food! After my morning sickness began, I was really unsure how I would survive this trip. We contemplated canceling the week off because I was feeling terrible, but we wouldn’t get a refund for our flight or Air B&B, so…. we went. We figured we’d just power through and it would be fine! We travel all the time! How bad could it be? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I didn’t power through and every single day was a challenge. Aside from all the amazing food that I could not eat, I felt shitty, and then I felt guilty for feeling shitty, and then I felt annoyed for being pregnant and feeling shitty, and I can go on and on. We made it through 2 and a half days, and then re-booked our flight to leave a day early. I was very excited to get back home and go back to my boiled potato (and now grilled chicken) routine. Now listen, I’m not saying EXCLUSIVELY don’t travel. I’m just suggesting that if possible, hold off on booking things unless they are mandatory. You may have morning sickness or you may just be feeling extreme fatigue (another wonderful sensation I had) and want to nap everyday from 3-7PM. You just don’t know, and the amazing, spontaneous nature of travel complicates things.
Trust that it’s all going to be okay. The best thing you can do is be calm for yourself and your baby. Don’t freak out. You’re going to be okay. You’re going to feel better. Your baby is safe and you are healthy. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
If you think you may have hyperemesis gravidarum, speak with your doctor. It’s pretty rare, but better safe than sorry!
Alright little chickens, those are all my tips! Feel free to ask questions in the comments if you have any :) Stay happy, stay healthy, and may the pregnancy odds be ever in your favor! Coming at you from week 19, I can safely say, it gets a whoooooole lot better.