First trimester morning sickness is one of the worst pregnancy symptoms. Do you know what to eat when nauseous but hungry and that there are foods that help with nausea during pregnancy? If you’re wondering how to get natural pregnancy nausea relief, read on for some great tips including the best foods to eat when nauseous and morning sickness hacks from The Wise Woman’s Guide to Your Healthiest Pregnancy and Birth.
Beat Nausea with Breathwork and Good Food
Excerpt adapted from The Wise Woman’s Guide to Your Healthiest Pregnancy and Birth by Patricia Ladis, PT, CBBA with Anita Sadaty, MD
Breathing to Combat Nausea
Whenever you start to feel nauseous, you can adjust your breathing to quell this queasiness. Cupping your hands around your mouth and breathing in and out will provide an additional boost of carbon dioxide from your outbreath, which will make you feel less nauseous. Typically, we blow off too much carbon dioxide with each exhale, which depletes the reserves in our lungs.
When we inhale extra carbon dioxide (CO2) by using this method, it restores our reserves and the internal system balances, which then alleviates the nausea. Deep breathing during this time is not going to be helpful, and can actually make you feel a little more nauseous, if not lightheaded.
The technique is simple. You can try this breathing whenever you feel the need, as often as once an hour, if not more.
- Place the tongue at the roof of your mouth, relax your facial muscles, and breathe through your nose. Your body is relaxed, and you’re breathing gently and quietly. Focus on the breath that is expanding through the back and sides of your lower ribs as you inhale, and deflating your lungs from the back and sides this bf your lower ribs as you exhale.
- Then, place your hands together by putting your fingers and your thumb close together, then curve your hands to form a cup, or a mask, and cover your nose and mouth. This will create a little space to breathe into. Breathe in and out into your hand, and as you do so, you are going to be re-inhaling some of the blown-off carbon dioxide.
TIP: Break Out the Earplugs
One way to hear your breathing is to block out noise from the rest of the world. Put in some earplugs and listen to your breathing. Make it as quiet as possible. Then, extend the transition time between exhale and inhale to longer times: pause for two, four, then eight seconds. As you pause, see if you can hear the silence in between breaths.
Beat Nausea with Good Food
Doctors often recommend that the best way to alleviate nausea is to follow the same advice for avoiding digestive issues: eat small, frequent meals. We agree with this idea. However, some doctors also advise women to “follow their cravings” and eat lots of carbs or sugary treats to alleviate nausea, but we do not support this recommendation.
The desire for these types of foods is inherent to pregnancy and has an evolutionary basis: women are driven to gain weight in the first trimester in order to develop the caloric reserves needed to feed and nourish their baby, and lots of carbs equals lots of calories. Newly pregnant women are also drawn to foods high in carbs rather than fat because fatty foods slow down digestion, which is making them feel nauseated in the first place.
Before the Industrial Revolution, this strategy wouldn’t have been terrible because women would have met their carb cravings with fruit. They didn’t have access to the ultra-processed, high-glycemic, gluten-filled food options that are now readily available, like cookies, crackers, or chips. So while crackers seem like the right choice to alleviate nausea, all that gluten only exacerbates inflammation and negatively affects your gut’s microbiome, which to some extent you are also sharing with your baby.
What’s more, studies have shown that protein-rich meals are actually more likely to alleviate nausea as compared to carbohydrate-rich or high fat meals, which is why we suggest adding more protein to your snacks or meals whenever possible. This alone may address your nausea.
Try hummus, avocado, cooked fish, and animal protein sources that you can tolerate. If you find that you really do better with carbs, choose gluten-free choices that are not inflammatory, like fruits or vegetables. Dried fruit is also a reasonable option: even though it has a lot more sugar than regular fruit, it’s better than eating a bag of chips. Nuts are not a good choice because they are high in fat and therefore difficult to digest.
The best way to beat nausea is to have the right foods on hand:
- Pack healthy snacks like fresh fruit, including bananas and oranges, gluten-free crackers, or pumpkin seeds.
- Ginger can block the sensation of nausea. You can supplement with ginger tablets, add fresh ginger to your meals, or drink ginger teas.
- Sucking on a slice of lemon when you’re feeling nauseous can suppress queasiness.
- Satisfy your carb cravings with nutrient-rich options. Trade rice for quinoa, which is less binding and easier to digest. If you are craving pasta, look for rice noodles, quinoa noodles, or red lentil noodles.
- Separate drinking fluids from when you are eating solid foods: sometimes, drinking and eating at the same time makes you feel full faster, which leads to nausea.
We Can’t Say This Enough: Stay Hydrated
Create your own flavored, room-temperature water by adding fresh fruits to make staying hydrated more palatable. If that is not enough, add a splash of organic fruit juice without added sugar. Some women have an aversion to water during pregnancy. However, some find that one particular brand, Mountain Valley Spring, which is a pH balanced water that’s high in minerals, doesn’t pose a problem.
Keep trying different options (preferably not in plastic bottles) until you find one that works for you. You can also enjoy an unlimited amount of warming decaffeinated liquids, like teas and broths. Herbal teas contain lots of important anti-inflammatory nutrients, and broths, including miso soup and chicken soup, are also immune system enhancers.
Keep the temperature of your beverages in the warm range. Avoid adding ice to beverages and drinking very hot liquids. This practice conserves your energy and keeps your body balanced.
The Wise Woman’s Guide to Your Healthiest Pregnancy and Birth (January 2021, HCI Books), by renowned NYC physical therapist Patricia Ladis, who works with superstar athletes, professional dancers, and celebrities, and highly regarded holistic obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Anita Sadaty, is the first book for parents-to-be that combines evidence-based science, ancient wisdom, breathing, and lifestyle medicine, showcased in a joyful, holistic approach to preconception, pregnancy and postpartum.
The Wise Woman’s Guide supports women physically, emotionally, and spiritually, helping them to connect with their innate intuition while sharing the latest in science-backed holistic health information.
With benefits beginning as early as preconception, readers will discover how to:
- Reduce inflammation, a key cause of health issues during pregnancy and postpartum
- Prevent injuries and ensure a smooth labor, delivery, and recovery with an exercise plan that’s been used by famous athletes and celebrities (with photos)
- Strengthen, lengthen, and stabilize your body safely so you can return to a better-than-before activity level
- Feel calmer and more connected to your baby using breathing techniques
- Nourish yourself and your baby with the best foods from preconception onward
When both members of a couple are calm, fit, and well-nourished—emotionally and physically–they are more likely to experience the journey to parenthood as the joyous and miraculous milestone it should be. The Wise Woman’s Guide is a source of strength, connection, confidence, and wisdom.