"Ginger is really one of the most helpful tools to help a woman with her nausea and vomiting," says Michelle Collins, a certified nurse-midwife. "One of the easiest ways to obtain it is by drinking ginger root tea. Some grocery stores carry it, or check your health food store." Ginger can also be purchased in capsules (packed preferably in a gelatin capsule), ginger gum, or candied ginger.
Some women find ginger ale helpful. But Collins warns that not all ginger ale actually contains any ginger. "They may be artificially flavored," she says. "[You] should be able to find, at a health food store ... real ginger beer (it is similar to a root beer)."
Dr. Hope Ricciotti, author of I'm Pregnant, Now What Do I Eat?, says studies have found that ginger in the diet, after four days, can significantly reduce nausea—a great endorsement for carrying it with you.
Dr. Pamela Berens, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, isn't sure why hard candies work for some women—she's only sure that they do. "I really don't know of any research on this, but I have certainly heard it from my patients, some of whom swear by doing this," Dr. Berens says. "These are also easy to carry in your purse. I suspect these also work by keeping something in the stomach. Peppermint has been popular with some of my patients. Others say that sour flavors work best for them." Gum may also be used in place of hard candy for those who prefer it.
Perhaps the oldest remedy for morning (or all-day) sickness is crackers. "The old standby of keeping Saltines in your purse probably isn't a bad idea," Dr. Berens says. "Often symptoms are worse if the woman has an empty stomach, and crackers can avoid that. Eating small, frequent meals is also better tolerated, so she may wish to keep small snacks in the car or desk.”
On top of nausea, heartburn and indigestion can add to a pregnant mom's discomfort. "Antacids can help with reflux of pregnancy," Dr. Ricciotti says. "The hormone progesterone, which relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, causes this, allowing stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus, causing pain."
Dr. Ricciotti suggests that calcium carbonate and calcium citrate (chewable heartburn tablets) are effective and no adverse outcomes have been shown when taken in dosages on the package directions. "It can be a good way to take in extra calcium, since the RDA is 1,200 milligrams for calcium in pregnancy," she says.
Next to ginger, Emetrol was mentioned most frequently by moms. "Emetrol is a highly concentrated glucose solution; it coats the stomach, and can be helpful," Collins says.
Becky Scott of San Diego, California, found it controlled her nausea well. "Saltine or club crackers and Emetrol ... worked wonders for me, and it was on the safe list of [medications] from my doctor," she says.
Always consult your physician or midwife prior to taking any medication.
A toothbrush is a very important part of your anti-nausea kit. A sour mouth can make nausea worse. Brushing your teeth more frequently can make you feel better—and your dentist would definitely approve!
“Protein snacks, like the nuts or sunflower seeds, etc., help to keep the blood sugar more stable longer, as it takes a longer time to digest protein," Collins says. "The main hint would be to keep something in the stomach at all times," she adds. "When the stomach gets empty and the blood sugar is low, that can be a trigger for nausea."