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Morning Sickness

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 06, 2010 at 5:10 PM

A good friend of mine recently went Paleo about 4 months ago.. Since then, she has become pregnant. She is getting morning sickness fairly bad, and all of the conventional wisdom "cures" happen to be non-paleo. Any advice I can give her?

Thanks

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on January 31, 2012
at 11:49 PM

My friend used ginger for morning sickness- eating the actual ginger root repulsed her, but she made a really strong tea with it, really tasty and she thought it helped. It was also good if she had already been sick, got the taste out of her mouth so she didn't continue to feel nauseous.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 07, 2010
at 04:57 AM

Forgot to add, plain unsweetened, natural applesauce is also nice and bland plus also tastes good.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 06, 2010
at 09:41 PM

did margie profet really just disappear as i've read? does anyone know what happened to her?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on August 06, 2010
at 05:57 PM

Yep, that is what I was going to say. This theory stems from Margie Profet's work.

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19 Answers

5
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on August 06, 2010
at 05:38 PM

In evolutionary or Darwinian medicine (see this good book, although they got the diet thing wrong) morning sickness is often discussed, as here:

Morning sickness has long been a puzzle: Why should a woman undergoing the already difficult process of bringing a child to term be saddled with nausea as well? Can nature really be that cruel? Perhaps not. The onset of nausea coincides closely with the period of rapid tissue differentiation of the fetus, when development is most vulnerable to interference by toxins. Nauseated women tend to restrict their intake of strong-tasting, potentially harmful substances. This has led researchers to speculate that the nausea of morning sickness is an evolved adaptation which protects the fetus from exposure to toxins. As it turns out, studies have shown that women with more nausea are also less likely to suffer miscarriages. Although this does not prove that the proposed explanation is correct, it is nonetheless highly suggestive. It also suggests that blocking nausea with drugs could result in higher miscarriage rates or more birth defects.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 06, 2010
at 09:41 PM

did margie profet really just disappear as i've read? does anyone know what happened to her?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on August 06, 2010
at 05:57 PM

Yep, that is what I was going to say. This theory stems from Margie Profet's work.

3
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on April 02, 2012
at 02:46 PM

The nausea of pregnancy not only coincides with the time of greatest tissue differentiation in the fetus, but also with the greatest increase in progesterone, in support of the stability of the pregnancy. As many women on birth control can attest, progesterone elevation tends to lead to increased nausea and food cravings.

As a midwife, I have tended to recommend to my moms that they stick to a highly-nutritious, high-protein diet, and make sure to have a protein snack available to them in the middle of the night. Fluctuations and dips in blood sugar tend to severely aggravate morning sickness in pregnant women -- hence the "conventional wisdom" suggestions of dry saltines or toast upon rising. However, I've found in my own work with expectant moms that starting the day with a carbohydrate spike actually just MOVES the morning sickness from first thing up to later in the day -- and if, at each occurrence, the woman resorts to saltines/toast, the morning sickness can seem like it is hanging about for the entire day.

Instead, I recommend at least 80 g of protein per day in the first trimester (or an increase of 30% over current protein intake if one is bodybuilding), split evenly into four meals, and spread throughout the day, with ONE of those protein meals taking place between 10pm and 4am. While this will not END morning sickness (once the body adapts to the change in hormones, around the 4th month or so, it ends on its own), it DOES reduce the intensity and makes it more bearable. Protein consumption recommendations increase as the baby grows, as well, with a minimum protein intake of 100g per day in an average, healthy woman at term (these recommendations are ONLY for normal, low-risk pregnant women, as midwives in the States do not supervise high-risk pregnancies).

Use whatever form of protein is palatable -- eggs, leftover meat, fish, even whey protein powder, if that's what it takes. Try to add a good bit of fat for calories, rather than using carbohydrates, since excessive fluctuations in blood sugar tend to aggravate morning sickness. Red clover tea is a good beverage option. Avoid excesses of ginger tea and mint tea, though, even though they're sometimes recommended by well-meaning herbalists and friends. Ginger has hormonal implications for pregnant women and an excess can cause problems with the pregnancy, and mint tends to aggravate morning sickness, hyperpytalism (too much saliva), and other discomforts associated with those early months.

2
A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c

on January 25, 2011
at 06:07 PM

Every pregnancy is different. I have 3 boys and my wife's morning sickness was worst with the first. We couldn't even make it to her OB appointments without stopping at least twice. She had cravings for Mexican food and that helped settle the stomach. We also got this stuff from Whole Foods market called Ginger Wonder and crystallized ginger that helped. However with he other two ginger did not help at all. She just has to experiment and see what works for this pregnancy.

2
E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

on January 18, 2011
at 03:47 AM

My mother once told me that there is a strong possibility that morning sickness is tied in to being low in zinc. That doesn't seem super likely to me on a paleo diet, but pregnancy does tend to use up your nutritional stores. Mom is an LPN, and also proofread medical journals for 19 years- but she's also just very interested in health and nutrition, so I'm not sure where she dug that bit of info up.

And I'm with L.S.- Ginger takes care of most nausea for almost every one I know, though I don't personally know anyone who's used it specifically for morning sickness.

Another thing that I've often heard is that if you can eat a bit of something before rolling out of bed, that helps to settle the nausea before it starts. I do think that my mother told me she did that, but I'm also sure that I've read it numerous places elsewhere.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on January 31, 2012
at 11:49 PM

My friend used ginger for morning sickness- eating the actual ginger root repulsed her, but she made a really strong tea with it, really tasty and she thought it helped. It was also good if she had already been sick, got the taste out of her mouth so she didn't continue to feel nauseous.

2
07ad8e05f734cb1deec5479dc0e4a194

(315)

on January 18, 2011
at 02:45 AM

Oh, how I remember it! I can suggest what helped me: protein. All I wanted was something bland and crackery, but, if I just made myself eat some thing with some protein, and some complex carbs like a sweet potato, then I would feel better. Also ~ What about nibbling on ginger root, would that be okay?

2
0dc1d63c3d5975f5115f535c6a90c9dd

(2283)

on August 06, 2010
at 05:59 PM

Tell her to survive as best she can til it passes. I had been strict paleo for about a year prior to pregnancy and even before that, gluten and dairy free. Once I was pregnant, I was SO sick. This was my 3rd child and nothing new. I just did the best I could. With me, nothing sounded good. So, any good fats and protein I was able to stomach and keep down was a bonus. For what it's worth, by about 6 months pregnant my morning sickness passes. At that point I was able to eat a much more rounded diet again. Survival is really the name of the game in the beginning :)

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

Morning sickness is present in most studied hunter-gatherer cultures. Most also practice protein-restriction. This points to this morning sickness being somehow protective and there being a reason women are sometimes nauseated by meat.

Cordain just did a blog post on this: http://thepaleodiet.blogspot.com/2010/07/protein-intake-for-pregnant-women.html recommending that women eat mostly fat and carbs.

1
1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 01, 2012
at 05:28 AM

Having been pregnant twice myself (and survived!) and watched lots of friends go through it, I can say that it is a very individual thing. What works for one woman probably won't work for the next one. It's time to put all of your ideas about diet on the back burner and listen to what your body is saying. I got pregnant as a vegetarian (I know-duh),and promptly craved beef. It wasn't my idea of healthy, but I needed it. I was eating wheat then....but when I was pregnant, I couldn't even walk down the bread aisle at the grocery store or I would throw up. Immediately. On the other end of the spectrum, my friend is a farmer and eats tons of vegetables and grass fed beef. She couldn't stomach any of that when pregnant, and subsisted on vegetarian packaged and prepared foods for her entire first 6 months.

I guess what I'm getting at is; your body is the boss right now. Eat what it wants. To really stave off the morning sickness (still can't figure out why they call it that, when it lasts all day for most of us), snack continuously. Keep nuts, raisins, whatever, on your person. I even kept grapes by my bedside for snacking on when I woke up in the middle of the night. It really helped.

Also, month 4 really helps! Lots of morning sickness dissipates by the 2nd trimester....

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 07, 2010
at 04:55 AM

Yeah, could try some healthier carbs like potato or fruit. Maybe something bland like banana or pumpkin. Bland can sometimes really sooth the stomach. There is no law against carbs in paleo. YOu just want to eat healthy carbs instead of garbage carbs. The first thing I do when my stomach or intestines are off is go for the bland food. That is why crackers are often suggested by non paleos, cuz they are bland. If I felt really sick, I'd even consider a bit of plain white rice, which is also very bland. WHite rice seems to be one of the least evil grains.
-Eva

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 07, 2010
at 04:57 AM

Forgot to add, plain unsweetened, natural applesauce is also nice and bland plus also tastes good.

1
95f407502f92a7bc460e8f83652341de

on August 06, 2010
at 06:29 PM

Support her liver through metabolizing excessive amounts of hormones...

Greens, especially dandelion, remembering that our hunter gatherer ancestors were not foraging collards, you know? Use LOTS of fresh herbs in salads and seasonings. Dandelion, watercress, yellow dock leaves, basils, rosemary, thyme, etc.

Dandelion root tincture Red raspberry leaf tea/infusion Ginger...grated into a smidge of honey is delicious

1
6f0efd477208f51d145bea6d7272256e

(627)

on August 06, 2010
at 06:21 PM

Bacon, bacon, bacon!

0
E76821f1019f5284761bc4c33f2bf044

(383)

on April 02, 2012
at 02:17 PM

I can attest to magnesium as a preventative measure - I put it in my (lemony) tea at night and it helps with both regularity (another source of feeling crappy) and preventing nausea the next day. Apparently Mg oil or Epsom salt baths have the same effect. And yes, I do whatever I need to to get out of the hunger (=nausea) hole and then choke down some protein and feel better. It's about staying ahead of the crash, in my case. Good luck to all the poor green ladies looking for tips here - I hope you find something you can use!

0
87b7d250ea30415ed4c1afd809f4053f

on February 01, 2012
at 05:47 AM

I've found that either Raspberry leaf tea, Ginger Tea, or spearmint Tea (depending on what you prefer the taste of) works for most customers that I blend tea for. Hot or Cold. There are homeopathic remedies - ipecac is good (from a health food store) that work well too http://www.owenhomoeopathics.com.au/catalog.php?item=135

0
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on February 01, 2012
at 04:09 AM

I had severe morning sickness, also known as hyperemisis gravidum. My first trimester all I could keep down was eggs and grits and coconut water. I also had to be on Zofran because I was barfing -4-6 times a day and almost had to be hospitalized. I know this isn't paleo but the WAPF recommends sipping raw grassfed cows milk Slowly throughout the day for the b vitamins. Or she can possibly take some dessicated liver capsules or swallow some frozen raw grassfed liver that will also be a good b6 source to combat nausea. Fortunately, unless you have hyperemisis like I did, it usually goes away after the first trimester. I hate to admit this but had I known what I know now, I would've probably eaten cannabis instead of taking the Zofran, but that's Neither here nor there.

The only other thing I can recommend is to stay away from sugar because low blood sugar from the subsequent crash will make you more nauseous and keeping a healthy snack on the bedside table So you can Eat a little before getting out of bed.

0
Df7cf48be85c91165f9f39f1fe462e41

on February 01, 2012
at 01:09 AM

I know this isn't necessarily a Paleo thing, but it also isn't food or supplement related...there are some wrist bands that some people use for motion sickness that have also worked for morning sickness.

0
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on January 31, 2012
at 11:53 PM

My friend tried ginger to help with nausea, she found it worked if she made a really strong tea with it. Usually added a squeeze of lemon and a touch of honey too. She also started eating rice again during her pregnancy, it really helped her out with wanting to only eat bland food. She would scramble eggs (which she craved constantly, we went through so many eggs every week) with rice, ginger, garlic, and a bit of soy sauce. She was happy eating that any time of the day!! I think it just kind of depends on the pregnancy.

0
279afb16db6c765ae91dde056f10d1d3

(155)

on January 18, 2011
at 02:59 AM

I just recently read tid bit in a magazine saying that olives are good for nausea. It talked mainly about motion sickness, it cited some study but I can't remember the name of the magazine let alone the study, but but my brain filed it away as a paleo friendly remedy.

0
5c8a675951eb32b8c19e9fe4e764294c

(168)

on August 06, 2010
at 11:41 PM

Carbs were the only thing that would work for me. Eventually I just bought instant mashed potato flakes because it was the only thing I could cook up quickly enough before I was puking all over the place. Not exactly paleo. Even thinking about fat made me throw up, too. It was awful.

0
4a585ea8059f71614597a56805cc60c7

(390)

on August 06, 2010
at 09:55 PM

I had a friend with severe morning sickness (she doesn't live a paleo lifestyle) and the only thing that she could keep down? Frozen grapes. I love them frozen, if I'm thirsty and craving sweet, I pop a few in my mouth and the craving is gone. Maybe it will help her?

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