Mini-Meals to Avoid Morning Sickness

I am eight weeks pregnant and having morning sickness all day long. I've lost my appetite and need some suggestions and how to eat smaller meals. Also, is it dangerous to eat only foods that I can tolerate and pass on the foods like green, leafy vegetables that are recommended during pregnancy?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

This can be very upsetting and stressful in early pregnancy but, fortunately, nausea of pregnancy is self-limiting, usually a problem only during the first trimester (until the time of the fourth missed period). However, if it extends well into the second trimester, if you are unable to hold food down at all or if you are losing weight, you should be evaluated. There are some rare complications of pregnancy which may cause severe nausea and vomiting.

Despite the fact that intermittent vomiting is a problem for the mother, most babies do well if you can hold down fluids and easily digestible foods. During your prenatal visit, you should be checked for ketones in the urine. Ketones are byproducts of fat metabolism (when the body burns fat because there are no available carbohydrates), and have been known to be toxic to developing babies. Some women must be hospitalized for a few days for IV fluid administration to get their electrolytes back to normal. Some medications can help as well.

Folate deficiency has been implicated in extreme nausea. Be sure you are getting at least one milligram of folic acid per day. If you are taking a prenatal vitamin supplement, this has folic acid in it, but could also be contributing to the nausea. The iron in vitamin supplements also could be a problem. It is better to take the folic acid separately until the nausea subsides.

If we know that this is the normal nausea of pregnancy, here are some tips:

    • Small, frequent meals, every two hours (even through the night, if you can do that).
    • Dry crackers; graham crackers are nice, before arising
    • Eat a high-carbohydrate diet: dry toast, honey, banana, baked potato, muesli and other whole-grain breakfast cereals, steamed rice, tofu
    • Sweet juices or flat soda in the morning
    • Avoid strong smells, fatty foods, spicy foods; some women cannot tolerate milk, eggs or meat
    • There is some anecdotal evidence of acupressure to the wrists helping nausea
    • Vitamin B6, 50 milligrams by mouth twice a day.
    • Do not use alcohol or tobacco, and limit coffee during the first trimester
    • Peppermint tea
    • Ginger tea; boil ginger root in water and strain and serve with honey
    • Candied ginger may also help.
    • Lots of love and support and less stress!

 

Books I recommend include: "Nutrition for your pregnancy" by J. Brown, (1983, out of print, but excellent) and "Your Baby, Your Way" by Sheila Kitzinger (1987, also out of print). Hope this helps.

See a dietician if you are very concerned. They are great resources for how to get the most from a little food.

It is perfectly okay to eat just foods you tolerate rather than forcing down foods that might increase the nausea.

I hope this helps and best of luck.

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