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  • Morning Sickness and Nutrition

  • An unpleasant side-effect of pregnancy, morning sickness can leave you in need of nutrients.

    woman laying downMorning sickness is common in the early months of pregnancy. It usually dissipates by the fourth month and is no indication of problems for mother or child. Although common, it is nonetheless unpleasant, but there are natural ways to minimize discomfort through nutrition. Here are some tips:

    • Eat dry or bland foods first thing in the morning. Some examples include crackers or dry toast. You can even keep them at your bedside to munch before getting out of bed.
    • Eat small frequent meals every two to three hours. "It helps to keep the belly a little full all the time," advises Courtney B. Huard, RD, LDN, a pediatric clinical dietitian at Rhode Island Hospital. Though it might be tempting if you feel queasy, Huard recommends against skipping meals.
    • Eat the foods that appeal to you and minimize food odors. If you are sensitive to strong smells, keep in mind that room-temperature or colder foods are easier to tolerate.
    • Drink clear, cool beverages between meals rather than with meals.
    • If you have trouble getting adequate fluids, try popsicles, gelatin and Italian ice.
    • Eat foods high in protein or complex carbohydrates. For example, try peanut butter and apples, nuts, yogurt and/or cheeses. Remember to avoid soft, unpasteurized cheese like Brie, goat cheese and feta, as these may contain potentially harmful bacteria.
    • Avoid fatty or fried foods; sometimes they can cause distress.
    • Take your prenatal vitamin with food and/or just before bed.
    • Ginger has long been used in Asia to alleviate nausea. Use fresh ginger in soups or salads, or put juice from the root in dressing, marinade, lemonade or tea. Ready-made remedies like ginger candy or ginger ale may also do the trick.
    • "Lemon has also been found to help with nausea," says Huard. You could make some fresh lemonade, drizzle lemon on a fish or chicken dinner or just put a slice of lemon in a glass of ice water for some relief.

    Each woman and each pregnancy is different. If you are experiencing morning sickness, work with your health professional to determine ways in which you can best manage your symptoms.