Those who escape the hangover-esque experience of morning sickness are truly amongst the magical princesses of pregnancy (#blessed). For the rest of us, nausea and vomiting can make the first trimester and sometimes onward a miserable time, with ebbing energy levels made worse as food becomes less tolerable. If you’re trying to keep your pregnancy news on the down low, morning sickness can also be a total giveaway.
So what food should you choose when you’d rather not?
Bland but packed full of key pregnancy nutrients, it’s pretty much the superfood for all the superpregnant ladies.
Highlights – it’ll fight fatigue! Brown rice is packed with niacin and B6, both critical for energy production. B6 also plays a role in fighting morning sickness and while it doesn’t provide enough on its own – you’d need to eat about 7 plates every 8 hours - incorporating brown rice into your diet can contribute to a good daily total.
The fibre content of brown rice is also worth mentioning. Fibre is important for digestive health and it’ll help fight constipation. It’s also a nutrient that makes us feel fuller for longer. Given women often feel worse on an empty stomach, staying full for longer should help alleviate queasiness throughout the day.
And acupuncturists all over the world shake their heads... TCM considers cold and raw food to be taxing on digestion. However, in this instance I think it's well worth the trade off, provided you are not prone to cold and damp.
The reason? Hydration. Pregnant women need about 8-10 glasses of water per day – a big task if you’re feeling sick and vomiting. Ice chips are a great addition. Eating ice is less nauseating than drinking water, and has the added effect of stimulating the appetite and calming the stomach after being sick.
Don’t underestimate the importance of hydration, particularly while pregnant. Blood volume increases from very early in pregnancy, so water needs rise to support this increase. Being hydrated will also help combat some other pregnancy complaints like dizziness, constipation and low energy.
Of course ginger makes the list. It’s widely known as an anti-nausea herb, and for good reason – clinical trials have shown ginger to be as effective as vitamin B6 in reducing morning sickness. Although it works in cooking, the most palatable way to consume ginger is probably in a tea. Grate ginger straight in to the cup and add lemon, peppermint or cinnamon and you’re ready to go, and relatively incognito if you’re keeping your news quiet.
It’s not for everyone though. If you’re already a person who tends to run hot, it can increase these feelings of heat. And just a forewarning – in some African cultures it is also considered an aphrodisiac. If it works this way for you, it’s obviously been helpful with your nausea…
Not buttered and salted movie popcorn – but you’re probably not up for a night out anyway. Popcorn is fairly palatable given its mild taste and inoffensive texture so a good go to when you can’t face anything else.
Like brown rice, air or kettle popped popcorn will give you a good hit of fibre without a crazy calorie hit. Popcorn is also high in protein, which is in essence, the building block for your cells and the cells of your growing baby.
Consider keeping a snack pack in a ziplock bag beside your bed for first thing in the morning, or in your handbag if you feel yourself getting hungry.
As a final note, often the best way to combat morning sickness is to rest. First trimester can be physically and emotionally challenging, go easy on yourself girl.