According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 70 percent of all expectant mothers experience nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of their pregnancies. That's the bad news; the good news is that there are some foods that have been proven to have a soothing effect on nausea, making those early days of pregnancy more tolerable.
A recent report in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has confirmed that ginger can help manage morning sickness in the first four months of pregnancy. This is something Dr. Susan Lanni has known all along. Dr. Lanni, an assistant professor of maternal fetal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center recommends a variety of non-pharmaceutical solutions for her obstetrical clients, and ginger is among them.
"Ginger is absorbed into the GI tract, and it works quite well on low-grade nausea," says Lanni. "You can get ginger in a million different forms. Women can put a slice of fresh ginger between their cheek and gum and chew on it throughout the day or they can nibble on small pieces of crystallized ginger. They can also go to a Chinese food store and get a container of pickled ginger, which is moist and has a very stomach soothing effect."
Women suffering with morning sickness might consider starting their day with cold or hot cereal topped with crystallized ginger slices, whole-wheat toast topped with ginger jam, or a cup of tea made from steeped fresh ginger slices, honey and lemon.
Nausea Breaking Foods
"I tell my patients they can eat anything that doesn't have a skull and crossbones on it," says Miriam Erick, a perinatal dietician at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It would be great if I could get them to eat something really healthy, but a lot of times they just need nausea breaking foods, something to break the cycle." Erick, author of Managing Morning Sickness: A Survival Guide for Pregnant Women, considers morning sickness a very individual condition with different phases.
"When she feels fine, a woman might ask for something completely different than she would when her nausea is worse," says Erick. "Therefore, the pickier a woman can be at that point in time, the more you are looking at the solution as opposed to something that isn't going to work or something I think she should eat."
To help women identify what foods relieve their individual nausea, Erick came up with a list of adjectives to describe foods and the sensations they create. The list includes salty, sour, bitter, sweet, crunchy, fruity, wet, dry, hot, cold, bland, mushy, earthy, spicy, and fizzy. When a woman is asked what she wants in terms of the list, her answer is typically the food that will break that particular cycle of nausea.