During the first trimester of my pregnancy I was most affected with morning sickness. When I has an appetite, it was for the worst foods imaginable. Most days I could not bear to eat any breakfast and by noon I would have a ravenous appetite. It was horrible, the only foods I could keep down were toast, bagels, and smoothies. Forget about making any meals at home, I was lucky if I did not vomit even with our daily takeout at dinner. Somehow magically, the morning sickness disappeared by 10 weeks while on our baby moon.
I wanted to share some of the things that worked for me in the early months. I started my Ayurveda Health Counselor program in September, fell pregnant end of October and and completed my program in May. During most of my pregnancy I was away for 10 days just about every month. As much as I was learning about Ayurveda, I was applying my learning as much as possible. Not so much the diet though!
The ayurvedic perspective is that the 1st trimester is a time when the embryo is settling and sticking itself in the uterus. It is a time when proper rest is needed so that the body can do its job and prevent a miscarriage. A cocktail of hormones in the body increase rapidly and as a result cause morning sickness. It is actually mother nature’s way of saying that you need to relax and exert less. I did my best to cut back on typical gym workouts and instead I practiced yoga in the morning at home.
In ayurveda we would say that the first trimester is a time when apana vayu is trying to stabilize. The increase in HCG and fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen allow for the growing form to stabilize and blood volume to increase. It is best to avoid pungent, bitter and astringent foods. Focus on nourishing/building foods to help increase rasa and rakta dhatu (lymph and blood). Pregnancy is an exception to the Ayurvedic rule of not snacking and eating 3 meals a day. Instead a pregnant woman’s food cravings should be honored, even if it is snacks.
- B6: Along with taking a high quality whole food based prenatal vitamin, I started taking B6 before bedtime. It is wonderful to eat foods high in B6, but the problem is nausea may prevent in eating at all, so pill will be better.
- Magnesium: I tried oral magnesium supplements to also help with the nausea and nothing really worked. I had the best results with a magnesium oil spray that I would spray on the legs and bottoms of feet at night. This was great for using throughout my pregnancy and helped preventing charlie horses.
- Black salt: Also known as kala namak, this is great when added to club soda with some lemon. It make a wonderful digestive stimulant, antacid, antidiuretic and helps with flatulence. This was my favorite drink when I was battling with nausea. It was also super helpful when keeping food down was difficult, I would make sure to drink my Pelligrino with a pinch or two of it with fresh lemon juice.
- Ginger: If not pregnant, then ginger is the BEST remedy for nausea and digestive issues. Being pregnant and taking ginger is tricky. If you overdo it then it will increase heat in the body and cause contractions or possibly a miscarriage. This would have to be very high doses. My favorite way to take ginger was to thinly slice one or two pieces of it and steep it in hot water to drink as a tea. Or you can put those one or two slices in sparkling water and add cane sugar to drink as fresh gingerale. Do not drink more than two cups of tea or fresh gingerale a day. Alternatively, you can sniff and inhale the freshly cut ginger too.
- Yoga: On most days I did not have any energy to make it to yoga classes. and I found it best to practice it first thing in the morning in the comfort of my home. There are some amazing videos YouTube.
- Walk: Try to go for walks in nature a few days a week, even if it is just 15-30 minutes. Listen to music if you prefer.