When I was pregnant the first time, I was only 4 weeks along and I thought “this isn’t soo bad… what morning sickness?”

By the 6th week, it hit me hard! I also discovered that “morning sickness” doesn’t just happen in the mornings. It happens all the time! Also, heightened sense of smell can trigger nausea. 

I was also surprised by how tired I was! I mean, it makes sense, my body was working overtime trying to grow a tiny human. A TINY HUMAN. You know… the one that has like a trillion things going on in their body? Lots of important stuff to make, like brain, lungs, heart, kidneys, blood, nervous system, spinal cord, and millions of other things. NO WONDER I was dead tired. It was a struggle to be awake at work!

Remember. This too shall pass.

So here are some tips I got from other moms and tips that I tried (I didn’t try them all) to help us collectively survive the first trimester. Keep in mind, different things work for different people.

If there was the ONE thing that worked for everyone, it would be offered every time. But you do have to try a lot of things to figure out what works for you and your body! 


1. Take it s-l-o-w in the morning

This was a tip from Kathy McGrath, an experienced Pittsburgh doula: take it slow! It can look like this: when you wake up in the morning lay there for a bit, then sit up for a bit, sit on the side of the bed for a bit. Then walk to the bathroom and lean on the counter for a bit. Then when you can eat something, start with just one bite. Think about what you want – something soft, crunch, creamy, hot, cold, sweet or savory. Pregnant woman almost always have an uncanny ability to know what is going to stay down. When one bite stays down, you can add another. Graze, snack continuously – try not to have an empty stomach. Rest whenever you can.


2. Rest often – nap and sleep

Your body is making a tiny human (or humans)! It’s a lot of work! It’s like a huge team of engineers, construction crew, electricians, plumbers, welders, etc… all coming together to make this human. Except YOUR body is doing it allll by itself. No wonder why you’re tired. It’s okay to nap or just want to chill and actually watch Netflix or Prime. Go to bed early…sleeppppp all you want.

I know that it’s difficult to do this when you have other children in the house. This is the time to call in your support system – partner, friend or family member can watch the kids while you’re zzzzzzzz. As soon as my husband was home, I was “off-duty” and was able to rest. Or I would play “Daniel Tiger” for my toddler so that I can lay down for a few minutes.



3. Sea bands

I used these for both of my pregnancies. A Sea band is an acupressure wrist band that people who experience nausea on boats, cruise ships or in general, OR pregnant people can wear. They look like exercise bands that you wear around your wrist with a white bump that goes two fingers width below the palm of your hand. They help lessen or eliminate nausea by using acupressure. I was mighty skeptical about this until I tried it. I liked it so much that I wore the Sea bands all the time from like week 6 until week 13 or 14. I found it at my local pharmacy. You may have to ask the person at the counter for help to find them, but they’re there! (Or you can get them at the link below).

Image source: Sea-Band’s Amazon listing


4. Peppermint oils, tea, gum or mint

The smell of peppermint has a calming and numbing effect to relax your stomach muscles.

Peppermint tea, peppermint lifesavers, peppermint gum or peppermint oil can help!

I carried a bottle of peppermint oil everywhere I went for the first trimester. Whenever I felt like I needed something to help with nausea, I opened it and held it under my nose and breathed in the vapor. It works well if you mix it with a carrier oil or use a diffuser!


5. Ginger – tea, ale, pop, popsicles, ginger chews…

Ginger can help alleviate or prevent nausea and vomiting because it naturally calms an upset stomach. Studies have confirmed this. You can cook with ginger (yummy stir fry with rice), drink ginger tea, pop or ale. Some stores sell ginger popsicles, candied ginger or ginger chews.

If you live near a Trader Joe’s, some moms in my moms group swear by Trader Joe’s Seltzer Water Lemon and Ginger.

Fair warning and funny story, I went shopping at Aldi, they were out of ginger ale. But they had non-alcoholic ginger beer. I thought “eh. Close enough.” Haha. I was wrong. I felt like when I drank it.. I was being throat punched by an overgrown angry ginger. Ouch. It helped but, geez… chill.


6. Preggie Pop Drops

I personally haven’t tried this but some moms swear by it! Do whatever works for y’all! It’s like a hard candy with different flavors – lemon, raspberry, apple, tangerine.

Image source: Three Lollies’ Amazon Listing


7. Boring snacks with you all the time

Have snacks by your bedside, by your couch, on your desk, etc… Nausea can be less or prevented if you don’t have an empty stomach. So snack on saltine crackers, oyster crackers, potato chips, almonds, bread, etc..


8. Small frequent meals

Instead of eating 3 big meals, try to break it up. For lunch, I used to do a sandwich, yogurt, fruit, energy ball and popcorn. To break it up, I would eat the yogurt and fruit an hour before lunch. Then lunch I would eat the sandwich, then 30-45 minutes later, I ate the rest. 

Also, you have my permission (not that you need it) to be a picky eater. There were some foods that I couldn’t eat – anything that was greasy, not crunchy, overly smelly (good or bad smell), etc.. It’s okay to not worry about nutrition JUST yet. Just focus on getting calories into your body.


9. Sour candy

I’m not sure why, but sour candy can soothe stomachs. I was happy with this because I prefer sour candy over chocolate. GIVE ME all of the Sour Patch Kids, Sour Punch Straws, Warheads, and the like. 😀 Lemonade flavored things like candy or juice also does the trick!


10. Check your prenatal vitamins

Check to see if you feel queasy after taking prenatal vitamins. Try taking it with a snack or just take it a different time of the day. Or try other versions such as chewable or gummy. If it still persist, you can ask your healthcare provider for alternatives options to make sure that you’re getting the iron and vitamins that you’ll need during pregnancy. 


11. Combining Unisom and B6

B6 is a vitamin that is known to fight nausea. For some moms taking this with Unisom made it possible for them to function like a normal human being. Try this item 1-10 doesn’t seem to be helping after 4-5 days.

Talk to your doctor about trying this combination. Unisom is usually a medication that people take to fall asleep and stay asleep but it’s also common to take it during pregnancy to help with nausea and vomiting. This may cause you to be drowsy…but you may prefer that over feeling like you have to throw up all the time.

12. Zofran

If nothing is working and you can’t keep anything down, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for Zofran. It works by blocking the actions of chemicals in the body that can trigger nausea and vomiting. In both of my pregnancies, I experienced nausea but not vomiting. I have some friends for whom a good pregnant day was one when they only vomited once. Yikes. Zofran worked wonders for them.

About the Author Kristen Schell

Kristen is a birth doula, photographer and childbirth educator. She wants to help families feel inspired by what birth can be. It can be beautiful, empowering, supported, and evidence based.

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