Treating Morning Sickness with Naturopathic Medicine

Pregnant woman holding her stomach and a glass of water as she sits on the couch.
Morning sickness is one of the most common struggles of pregnant life. It is often one of the early signs of pregnancy, but it can happen at any time — especially throughout the first and second trimesters.

If you’re suffering from morning sickness (or feeling nauseated any other time of the day), be sure to check out Season 2, Episode 5 of our 40 Weeks to Forever podcast on integrating a naturopathic approach into your pregnancy plan.

In our podcast, we chat with Dr. Courtney Clayson-Russell, a naturopathic doctor and a doula who is sensitive to the unique challenges women face today. She specializes in nutrition, supplementation, botanical medicine, acupuncture, and physical therapy.

Naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole-patient wellness, not just a specific symptom or complaint. A naturopathic approach can help with your morning sickness by reducing nausea and taking the edge off the symptoms through diet, supplements, and exercise.

Eat What You Can

If you’re feeling nauseated all the time, it can be tough to have a positive relationship with food. However, it is important to eat well during pregnancy — both for you and the little one busy growing inside you.

If you’re struggling to eat, it’s not necessary to overhaul your entire diet, but concentrate on the things you like to eat and then optimize by adding a bit more protein, fat, and fibre in ways that are appealing.

One way to start understanding your eating habits is to jot down what you’re eating throughout the day. This will help you get a clear idea of your comfort foods (or food aversions) and help identify areas for improvement — making sure you’re getting enough protein, for example.

Simple proteins like fish, white meat, eggs, tofu, and dairy are easy to digest and can keep nausea and mood swings at bay. If you’re struggling for inspiration or not sure where to start, check out our article on foods to make you feel your best during pregnancy.

It is essential to get enough complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats in your diet. It is important to eat, even if your stomach feels like it is tied in a knot — sometimes this feeling can stem from not eating enough. One way to help soothe your stomach enough to keep a solid snack down is through dietary supplements.

Supplement Your Diet

One of the best dietary supplements for nausea is ginger, and there are all kinds of different (and fun) ways you can add some ginger into your diet. Even though sushi is off the menu while pregnant, pickled ginger is still an option if you like that bitter bite, or you can enjoy a mug of ginger tea, pop a bag of candied ginger into your purse, or even treat yourself to a cold-pressed ginger juice for a revitalising kick.

Vitamin B6 is another great supplement for morning sickness. B6 helps our bodies break down proteins, helping you use and store energy from your food. It can also help with the production of red blood cells. Chances are pretty good that if you’re suffering from nausea your B6 levels are low. However, if you’re already taking a multivitamin that includes B vitamins you’ll want to talk with your healthcare team before adding another supplement.

While it’s not specifically designed for morning sickness, our Milkin’ More Pregnancy Blend can help supplement your diet by adding oats, flax, B vitamins, and more into your diet as an easy-to-stomach powdered mix.

It can be tricky to find the right supplements for your needs. Our bodies process different supplements in different ways (folic acid vs. folate, for example), so it’s important to talk with your healthcare team to ensure you’re getting the right supplement at the right dosage.

Also, not all brands are created equal, and many contain random extra ingredients you don’t necessarily want. Be sure to read the label carefully and steer away from products that include food colouring, cornstarch, sugar, or other unpronounceable ingredients.

Keep Moving

Staying physically active while experiencing morning sickness can sometimes feel like adding insult to injury. However, the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise are worth it. Keep in mind physical activity doesn’t have to be a 90-minute Crossfit blitz, it can be a few minutes of yoga or a short walk.

Part of a naturopathic approach is checking in with your body and making choices based on how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling really rough, just try some light stretching. On the days you’re feeling a little better, try going for a walk through the park. The important thing here is to try and do something each day — especially during the first trimester — even though it can sometimes feel like a struggle just to get going in the morning.

Regular physical activity can help stimulate your appetite, but the best part about integrating physical activity into your daily routine during the first trimester is that you’re setting essential groundwork for your continued health throughout the pregnancy. These healthy habits are great for your developing baby and can also help speed your postpartum recovery.

An exercise routine now will also ensure that you’re ready for the baby carrier workout.

Look at the Big Picture

Healthy eating, dietary supplements, and regular exercise are just three ways you can help combat nausea during your pregnancy. While morning sickness is a normal (though unfortunate) part of pregnancy, feeling too sick to move day after day isn’t.

If you’re feeling really terrible all the time, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider. If they don’t believe you (or are dismissive), find a second opinion. One benefit to a naturopathic approach to your pregnancy is a whole-body approach to health and wellness, not just trying to provide symptomatic relief. By checking in with your body regularly and honestly assessing how you’re doing each day, you’ll be able to develop a clear picture of how you’re doing and take steps to improve your health.

Be sure to check out Season 2, Episode 5 of our 40 Weeks to Forever podcast for more ways to incorporate a naturopathic approach into your pregnancy plan!

*This information was taken from our 40 Weeks to Forever - Season 2, Episode 5: Optimizing Your Health During Pregnancy
Guest: Dr. Courtney Clayson-Russell

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