Pregnancy Nausea

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Finding a good herbalist

What follows is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here

Strategies

At least half of all pregnant women experience significant nausea during their pregnancies. Whilst this is often called ‘morning sickness’ many women experience the nausea at any time of day or night.

Most drugs are not safe to use in pregnancy however, one or more of the following strategies are entirely safe, and have been seen to help in almost every case where they have been used correctly.

Ginger root

Top of the list is Ginger root. This well-known herb has a long tradition of being highly useful for the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.

Ginger’s action has been studied in the most severe form of morning sickness, known as hyperemesis gravidum, a condition that can lead to hospitalisation because the vomiting becomes so severe. In a double-blind trial, Ginger root powder at a dose of 250mg four times per day brought about a significant reduction in both the severity of the nausea and the number of attacks of vomiting in nearly eighty percent of the women studied.

These clinical results, along with the safety of ginger and the relatively small doses of Ginger that are required has seen it becoming accepted and recommended from many obstetrical practices. Given the serious problems associated with anti-vomiting drugs in pregnancy many medical publications today now recommend ginger as a safe and effective treatment for morning sickness.


Zingiber officinale (Ginger root)

Safety Note

You may read somewhere that it is dangerous to use Ginger in pregnancy. This has come from one of the traditional Chinese uses of ginger to stimulate menstruation. However, it must be understood that this practice uses doses over eighty times higher than the levels used for nausea. Be assured of Ginger's complete safety in pregnancy when used in the dosages described below.

Ginger preparations

There are many effective, and easy, methods to use Ginger, for example;

  1. 250mg ginger powder (about 1/6th of a tsp) mixed in a cup of hot water. Add some honey if desired. Slurry and drink.
  2. Fresh ginger, approximately one dsp well chopped. Simmer in water for 5 minutes, strain and drink hot. Some extra lemon & honey go well with this preparation.

Ginger drops

In our clinic we have developed a particularly effective method with something called Ginger drops, a product that could easily be made up by any herbalist or herbal supplier. How to make and use Ginger drops is described in detail, along with further information on this great herb here


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Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 has been a popular treatment for morning sickness for some years. Vitamin B6 is important for breaking down the increased levels of pregnancy-related hormones that continue to circulate around the body after they have activated their target tissues.

Two well-designed studies in the 1990’s provide good scientific support for this recommendation. In the first study, fifty-nine women were randomly assigned to receive either 25mg of vitamin B6 every eight hours or a placebo. After seventy-two hours only eight of thirty-one B6-treated patients still had nausea, compared to negligible changes in the placebo group.

In another double-blind study, 342 pregnant women (less than 17 weeks pregnant) received either a placebo or 30mg of vitamin B6. Patients graded the severity of their nausea and recorded the number of vomiting episodes over the previous twenty-four hours before treatment and again during the five consecutive days of treatment. Compared to the placebo group, there was a significant reduction in nausea and vomiting in those who had the B6. Based on the results of this study, vitamin B6 was recommended by the authors as a first-line treatment for the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.

Vitamin B6 can be readily obtained from food as you can see by the image below. If you will take it as a supplement then dosages should not exceed 60 mg. Many good B-complex and multivitamins will have therapeutic levels of B6 within them (over 25mg) and this is probably the best way to get it.

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Raspberry Leaf

Raspberry leaf is used for several pregnancy related problems, including threatened miscarriage, labour pains and morning sickness.

Whilst some women instinctively like or grow to like the taste of Raspberry leaf tea, the taste may be challenging for some, especially when feeling nauseous! It may help to add some honey or to try adding a pinch of ginger powder to the tea.

In the last months of pregnancy, to prepare and strengthen the uterus, Raspberry leaf can be made into a stronger tea into which the juice of an orange is squeezed, more about this important herb for pregnancy here


Rubus idaeus (Raspberry leaf)

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Peppermint

Peppermint owes its medicinal value to menthol, a cooling, and pain-numbing stomach soother. Try taking a few sips of Peppermint tea whilst inhaling the steam to see if nausea and queasiness is relieved.

Another way to benefit from peppermint is to use the essential oil, whereby a few drops can be mixed with a little carrier oil, such as almond, olive or sunflower oil and rubbed straight onto the stomach, more about Peppermint here


Mentha piperita (Peppermint)

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Food as medicine

There is no consensus on what causes morning sickness but the observation that many women feel better when they can finally keep something down suggests hypoglycaemia, i.e. low blood sugar, may play a key role.

A small piece of grapefruit, orange, mandarin or some lemon juice in water is often reported to relieve morning sickness and enable the stomach to take on some further food after a few minutes.

Along with citrus, or instead of it, dry toast or dry biscuits may be better tolerated by some women for whom other types of food in the morning are unlikely to stay down.

Pregnancy nausea typically starts on an empty stomach so eat small, easily digested amounts of food throughout the day. You also might find that having a snack containing some protein before going to bed may reduce the low blood sugar that can trigger nausea in the morning.

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Constitutional Health Note

Finally, you might benefit from learning about your constitution to know what kind of foods, herbs, exercises etc. will work especially well for your health in general.

There is a brief introduction to the subject here and a more detailed section on working out which constitution you are here

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!

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© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd