Most women who have ever been pregnant can relate to this. Nearly everyone has some form of morning sickness, and some women, unfortunately, have pretty severe morning sickness — a few severe enough to require hospitalization. It really can be very serious.
Any woman who has had moderate to severe morning sickness is looking for “the answer” — why does it happen? And more importantly, what can she do to minimize or prevent it in the future?
There are a lot of theories out there about what causes morning sickness, many that are partially true. But there’s more to it than we know.
The Popular Theories
Popular ideas about morning sickness range from “we don’t know” to “protecting the baby from bad foods by overreacting” to “vitamin and mineral deficiencies.” What’s important is that severe morning sickness truly isn’t normal, and there is a reason. It might be a little different for each woman.
There’s a small amount of truth to this. Pregnant women do tend to have lowered immune systems, meaning they’re more susceptible to food poisoning or eating anything “bad.” This means that something that might cause a mild upset stomach in a non-pregnant woman could lead to vomiting in a pregnant woman. It makes sense — a newly-forming baby, who is developing all their critical organ systems — is more susceptible to poisons than a grown woman.
Some women are told that B-6 is the cure to morning sickness. For some women, it is. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause nausea. Of course, if you’re nauseous, it’s hard to eat or swallow pills to correct that deficiency — so liquid or topical supplements can be a good idea for some.
Some women find that their nausea is sharply reduced when they eat more protein. Protein helps to balance the blood sugar, as well as providing nutrients to the growing baby.
Blood Sugar Swings
As mentioned above, blood sugar imbalances cause more nausea in some women. Eating frequent, small meals that are balanced between protein, carbs, and fat, and which avoid refined carbs and sugars help many women. It’s why so many nibble on whole-wheat crackers with cheese and an apple overnight or first thing in the morning.
All of these theories do have something to do with morning sickness, and all are valid ways to help. But these don’t address the underlying cause…
Underlying Causes of Morning Sickness
There’s no one singular cause, but it’s important to know that morning sickness, like many “illnesses,” starts in the gut. Yes! Gut health has quite a lot to do with it.
For some women, it’s low stomach acid that’s the key variable. For others, it’s a lack of healthy bacteria. With others, it’s a combination, plus resulting vitamin and mineral deficiencies (your body doesn’t extract the nutrients from food very efficiently if your digestion is off from low stomach acid, or poor gut flora). Some blame a specific type of pathogenic bacteria, h. pylori, which lives in your stomach and can cause ulcers. This bacteria can also lead to an imbalance in your healthy flora and exacerbate morning sickness symptoms.
It’s the gut, ladies. It’s always the gut. Many of us do not know how good (or not) our gut health really is. And even if we think we’re doing everything right, we might not be. There are so many things that can affect our flora in our modern world, some of which are beyond our control. Even if you think you’re doing a pretty good job, you might still need some help. I took a strong probiotic for a long time, but I was still having some gut issues — I needed to address the “bad” flora in other ways (more on that later), not just take the probiotic.
The truth is, since there’s no one cause of morning sickness, there’s no one remedy that’s the key for everyone. But it’s all related, and yes, there’s help.
Choose a quality probiotic supplement, and/or choose to eat fermented foods regularly. You know how pregnant women are famous for craving pickles? Real ones are probiotic — Bubbies makes some. (I keep some around all the time because my whole family likes them.)
Apple Cider Vinegar
If your stomach acid is low, ACV can help to raise it. A tablespoon mixed with 8 oz. water or lightly sweetened herbal teas (I’m partial to the tea version, myself) in the mornings can help.
Ginger has been known to settle stomachs for a long time, yes. But why? It’s anti-inflammatory, and it can help to kill some of that bad flora. Drinking ginger tea regularly is a good idea. You can also carry candied ginger with you so that you can get ginger on the go — this works quickly on upset tummies for many women. I make ginger tea fresh by boiling 3 – 4 slices in 2 cups of water for about 10 minutes (which is really more of an infusion; it’s stronger). I add honey and lemon to it. Honey is a better choice than sugar because honey contains enzymes that can help to kill bad bacteria, while sugar will feed it.
This was huge for me in my fourth pregnancy. Magnesium is very easily depleted during times of stress or illness — most of us are deficient (and women experiencing morning sickness, even more so). A lot of people find this to be the key for them. Thankfully, you don’t have to take it orally. There are topical flakes to use as a bath, a spray, or a lotion that you can spread on topically. I used flakes in a foot bath or tub bath at the beginning of my last pregnancy, and a lotion towards the end, once I had developed that recipe.
It’s probable that if you choose just one of these, you won’t get as much relief as if you try to do most of all of them — depending on the severity of your morning sickness. Since there are so many different processes going on that cause morning sickness, you will need a lot of remedies to address it. That, of course, can be overwhelming, especially if you’re already pregnant and in the throes of nausea and exhaustion. But there’s an answer…
Pink Stork Morning Sickness Solutions
I was reading through a recent issue of Holistic Parents’ Magazine when I stumbled upon an article about morning sickness. It was fascinating, focusing on the connection to h. pylori, which I hadn’t previously heard of. It made sense, though. I saw that it was written by a woman named Amy, who herself had suffered through four pregnancies with hyperemesis gravidarum, and had found the solution that worked for her — and many others.
That’s how Pink Stork was born.
Amy knows exactly how miserable severe morning sickness can be, and was motivated to find a way to be functional and feel better in pregnancy. She developed the products that Pink Stork now offers. There are 9 different products, which can be purchased individually, or in “sets.” They offer a mild morning sickness set (3 products), a moderate morning sickness set (6 products), and a severe morning sickness set (9 products). The severe set also comes with a 20-page guide on exactly how to use the products, plus diet tips and lifestyle changes, to make using the set brain-dead easy when you’re struggling just to get through the day.
The products include:
- Liquid prenatal (Foundations)
- Liquid folate drops (NOT folic acid; derived from organic lemon peel)
- Prenatal probiotic (Pro)
- Magnesium spray (Mist)
- Magnesium flakes
- Ginger-Peach tea
- Organic peppermint essential oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Organic coconut oil-derived monolaurin (Cocolaurin; kills the bad bacteria)
The “severe” package contains all of these products for $179. The “moderate” package contains the prenatal, folate, probiotics, mist, mag flakes, tea, and cocolaurin for $139. The “mild” package contains the mist, cocolaurin, and the probiotics for $79. They are all available separately, too, if you prefer.
The products last for one month if used daily as directed. This can make a huge difference for some women — meaning using much less or no Zofran, no hospitalization for IVs, being able to eat and keep up with older kids (at least according to the many positive reviews!). Pink Stork also says that their prenatal, probiotic, and folate can be used by anyone, even they don’t have morning sickness, to help with good prenatal nutrition.
I’m really intrigued by it all, although I haven’t had occasion to try it myself. Based on all I’ve learned about the purity of the products and their commitment to food-based, natural solutions, I would recommend this to women who are struggling with morning sickness — or who are having trouble finding quality prenatal vitamins to purchase.
Plus — Pink Stork is offering 25% off right now! Head to their website to take advantage of that!
Nourishing yourself and your baby is so important in pregnancy, but not easy when you aren’t feeling well. Make it a little easier, with a real solution to your morning sickness woes.
What have you found to really work for morning sickness?
This post is sponsored by Pink Stork Solutions.