Morning sickness is one of the most miserable parts of pregnancy. And the fact that it’s incredibly common (about 70% of pregnant women experience morning sickness) doesn’t make that constant sense of nausea or frequent vomiting any easier. Although it might feel hopeless, there are plenty of natural morning sickness remedies that can help you through the toughest days.
(The contents of this post do not constitute medical advice. This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read our disclaimer.)
What Causes Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness often kicks in during the first trimester as hormones like hCG, progesterone, and estrogen rise. Progesterone and estrogen relax the muscles of the digestive tract, slowing digestion down and leading to nausea and vomiting.
These hormones also relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a major cause of acid reflux and heartburn during pregnancy. Acid reflux can also increase as your baby grows and creates greater pressure on your stomach. Nausea is actually a symptom of acid reflux. Because of this, trying remedies specific to acid reflux may help your morning sickness.
7 Natural Morning Sickness Remedies
If you’re like me, you prefer to keep over-the-counter medications to a minimum. Fortunately, many natural morning sickness remedies are easily accessible and effective at reducing pregnancy nausea.
Always check with your healthcare provider before taking a new vitamin or supplement, as well as before trying a new form of alternative medicine.
Ginger is a classic nausea solution, and it holds up as a morning sickness remedy, too. There are several ways that you can use ginger to help with pregnancy nausea:
- ginger tea
- ginger capsules
- ginger chews
- cooking with fresh ginger
- adding fresh ginger to a juice or smoothie
2. Papaya Enzyme for Acid Reflux
Since acid reflux is a direct cause of morning sickness, it might make sense for you to focus on remedies that target it specifically. When I was struggling with acid reflux during my first trimester, my midwife suggested that I try papaya enzyme.
I carry these papaya enzyme chewables with me everywhere and take a few whenever I feel acid reflux creeping up the back of my throat (yuck). They work quickly, keep my nausea at bay, and honestly taste pretty good.
Since I have IBS, I’ll probably keep taking papaya enzyme tablets even after I give birth. I wish I had known about them years ago because they’re such a great digestive support!
3. Acupuncture & Acupressure
Acupuncture is a technique used in traditional Chinese medicine. Therapists insert small needles into specific points on the body with the goal of treating issues like nausea, migraines, and back pain. Some studies have found that acupuncture is an effective morning sickness remedy. Health insurance sometimes covers acupuncture, so if you’re interested, check your benefits.
Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but pressure is used to stimulate points on the body instead of the insertion of needles. Stimulating the P6 point on your wrist may help reduce nausea. If you find that it’s helpful, you might try wearing sea bands (which stimulate this point) on days when your nausea is really bad.
4. Eat Plenty of Protein
Research has shown that eating a diet high in protein during pregnancy is an effective morning sickness remedy. Poultry, low-mercury fish, and lean beef are all high in protein. But if meat is making your morning sickness worse, there are plenty of non-meat protein sources, including:
- nuts and legumes
- wild rice
- nutritional yeast
Peppermint is a powerful morning sickness remedy. You can obtain peppermint’s anti-nausea benefits either by consuming it or using it for aromatherapy. Try drinking peppermint tea or sucking on a peppermint candy when you feel nauseous. You may also keep a bottle of peppermint essential oil with you to sniff when morning sickness comes on. Or if you feel nauseous pretty much all the time, you can diffuse peppermint oil at home or at work (with respect to those you share your space with, of course).
6. Change Your Prenatal Vitamin
I struggled with constant nausea during the first trimester of my pregnancy. It didn’t occur to me that my prenatal vitamin might be the culprit. I realized that I dreaded taking my prenatal every morning, so I crowdsourced some other options on Instagram.
I ended up choosing Hello Bello’s prenatal vitamin with DHA. One of my friends recommended it because it’s a gummy vitamin (my original prenatal was basically a horse pill), which I loved, but I noticed that it didn’t include any iron.
I checked in with my midwife about switching vitamins, and she told me that the iron in my first prenatal was likely the cause of my nausea. She gave me a few tips on supplementing iron since my new prenatal vitamin didn’t include it. And I’ve been mostly nausea-free since switching over!
7. Breath Control
To practice diaphragmatic breathing, follow these steps:
- Find a comfortable place to sit. Extend your spine to sit up tall, and roll your shoulders up toward your ears and down your back.
- Place your left hand over your heart and your right hand on your belly. Your right hand should be the one that moves the most as you breathe. Your left hand on your chest may move slightly.
- Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4, breathing into your abdomen. Notice your belly expanding under your right hand.
- Pause at the top of your inhale and hold the breath for one count.
- Exhale slowly and steadily through your nose for a count of 6.
- Pause at the bottom of your exhale and hold the breath for one count.
- Repeat diaphragmatic breathing for a set amount of time, starting at 3 minutes and building up to 10.
Breathing exercises have the added benefit of addressing other pregnancy symptoms, like stress and tension. I love using diaphragmatic breathing as a natural morning sickness remedy because, once you know how to do it, it’s a tool that you always carry with you.
If morning sickness is getting you down, I see you. I’ve been where you are, and I know how difficult it is.
I hope that these natural morning sickness remedies bring you some relief and that nausea-free days are in your near future!
Have you struggled with morning sickness? What natural morning sickness remedies were most helpful for you? Tell me in the comments!