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What to Eat When Nauseous During Pregnancy

I am going to be really honest here and say I disliked being pregnant and i don't know what to eat when nauseous during pregnancy.

Okay, I seriously hated it.

I do know many of my friends who found it a breeze, and that is awesome. But I did find that each trimester in pregnancy brought its own unique challenges.


Today I thought I'd focus on the first trimester. Known for morning sickness and extreme fatigue (no exaggeration necessary), this trimester makes you wonder if you’re growing a baby or a deadly tumor.

My own mother retells a story of visiting her GP convinced he was going to tell her she was dying, only to be told she was pregnant. I’m not sure how relieved she was, but I digress.

We don’t know for sure what causes morning sickness, however, it is thought to be caused by the rise in the pregnancy hormone HCG.

This is a pretty solid theory. Feeling sick generally starts around 6 weeks and disappears close to 12 weeks into the pregnancy.

Its name is also misleading, as it can happen at different times during the day, all day, and sometimes all night too. Morning sickness isn’t correlated to how high your HCG is, in that women who get very high

HCG doesn’t necessarily get morning sickness any worse than those with lower levels. Rather it is more about how sensitive your body is to the rise in levels. Some research does point to twin pregnancies being worse.

There are also higher rates of girl babies born to mums with severe morning sickness.

Now we are not going to cure severe morning sickness (also known as hyperemesis gravidarum). This is a serious condition which often requires medical intervention. No, we are looking at your run-of-the-mill morning sickness experienced by 90% of the population (yes you are definitely not alone!)

Here is our compiled list of things to help you get through this stage;

1. Eat when you wake up

An empty tummy may make symptoms worse. Having some crackers and peanut butter or cheese by your bed to eat when you wake up may be helpful. If you have a supportive partner, ask them for a piece of toast with peanut butter on it first thing in the morning before you hop out of bed.

2. Have small snacks and avoid big heavy meals

Often a full tummy can increase the probability of nausea and vomiting. Likewise having a bigger meal on an empty stomach, or just waiting too long between meals, can lead to nausea. Instead, make sure you take time to eat small snacks throughout the day will help.

Carry a bag of nuts and raisins, or a container of sliced veggies, fruit, and cheese – then set a timer for every 45 – 90mins and have a little snack when the alarm goes off.

3. Don’t lie down after eating

Laying down after eating can slow down digestion/gastric emptying which can cause nausea.

Instead, make sure you have a smaller dinner a few hours before you intend to go to bed, and possibly even going for a short stroll will aid digestion.

4. Opt for cold meals where possible

Yes, we need to be careful of no-go foods during pregnancy – and these tend to be cold foods. However, if you do find that your sense of smell is heightened, then colder foods do tend to have less aroma and may be less likely to cause you nausea.

5. Keep hydrated

This is great for pregnancy anyhow! Research does show that staying hydrated will help with both fatigue and nausea.

6. Make sure you keep rested

I appreciate this will be particularly hard if it is not your first child and you are busy chasing after toddlers or pre-schoolers. Perhaps you have a job which has you working early mornings or late into the evening (or both).

Whatever the reason, missing out on zzzz’s will increase the likelihood of you suffering morning sickness. So try and get some shut eye so that you can function better during the day.

What to Eat When Nauseous During Pregnancy

1. Keep an eye on your prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are very important for a healthy pregnancy.

Take note of when you are having your prenatal vitamin – it can cause nausea in some people. Also look at having a vitamin without added iron which can be tough to digest.

2. Eat lower fat

High fat meals can be rich and take longer to digest. This means they will sit in your tummy increasing the risk of nausea or vomiting. Keep your meals light and low in saturated fat.

3. Protein and bland carbs are best

As with above, protein and simple carbohydrates will be lighter on your stomach and easier to digest. The sugar in the carbohydrates may be an additional benefit for morning sickness as well.

Remember protein doesn't have to be red meat or fish, as this is something which can turn some morning sick mummas' tummies. Nuts, avocado, tofu, eggs, and dairy products will all do the trick too.

4. Vit B6, ginger, or peppermint

There are emerging studies which show that Vitamin B6 is beneficial in combating morning sickness. Check with your GP on the correct dosage.

Ginger and peppermint are also traditional stomach aids. Scientists have seen positive results in women who have one or two ginger tea drinks each day.

Always check the correct amount you can have when pregnant, particularly with ginger.

Get Some Fresh Air

As hard as it is with the fatigue you might be feeling too. Getting some fresh air and a nice walk can help too. Even if it is a super slow walk along the street.

We hope our ideas help you through the first trimester of pregnancy, and that your symptoms get better as you enter the second trimester.

Read also our how to change your lifestyle to be healthy article

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