Do you feel sick to your stomach?
If you’re pregnant, the answer to that has probably been yes at some time during your journey.
In fact, pregnancy nausea and vomiting is experienced by up to 80% of pregnant women in the first trimester.
While there is no surefire way to prevent morning sickness, changes in your diet could help. Although some researchers believe that hormones are to blame for pregnancy nausea, other experts say it could simply be caused by diet.
In this post, we’re talking about which foods are more and less likely to trigger pregnancy nausea and vomiting. Then, we’re ending off with a list of snack ideas safe for the sick mom.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is a common pregnancy symptom. Signs can range from mild nausea—often brought on by certain foods—to frequent vomiting. Unfortunately, unlike the name suggests, it can happen during any time of the day. Morning sickness is most common during the first trimester and tends to dissipate after. However, some women experience nausea throughout their entire pregnancy.
What Types of Food Are Good for Pregnancy Nausea?
These are the most common foods women turn to when they’re experiencing morning sickness. However, you may still have aversions to some on this list. Since everyone is different, pay attention to your body and find the staples that work for you.
- Analysis found that legumes weren’t connected to morning sickness. This includes beans, lentils and peas.
- Cereals can be a good food to eat during pregnancy because it’s less likely to trigger smell or taste aversions. There’s many types to choose from, so look for one that’s fortified with vitamins and minerals, low in sugar and high in fiber. If cow milk sets off your nausea, try other types, such as soy, almond, cashew or rice milk. You can also try eating dry cereal.
- Bland, Dry Carbs. Although carb overload is never a good thing, carbs can be a good choice from time-to-time because of the bland varieties available. This can include crackers, pretzels, bagels, etc.
- Nuts are good to snack on because they encourage you to eat smaller meals. Eating less but more frequently can be easier on the stomach and help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- It’s probably the first food you think of when nausea comes to mind—and for a good reason. A review of studies found that it was more effective than a placebo for preventing nausea during pregnancy. You can put ginger in hot water, tea or broth.
Foods That Make Morning Sickness Worse
We’ve listed the foods that most commonly trigger morning sickness below. With that being said, you’ll likely only have aversions to a few, so you don’t need to cut out anything that isn’t causing a problem.
You may also want to consider that just because you enjoy a food doesn’t mean it isn’t causing upset. Sometimes, your taste and smell aversion is instantly noticeable and you won’t pick up that food again your entire pregnancy. Other times, you may not know its effects. For example, you may have a huge craving for ice cream even though the dairy is setting off your nausea afterward.
If you’re feeling nauseous throughout the day, it’s a good idea to keep a food journal. Track what you eat at which times and when you’re feeling morning sickness symptoms. After a while, you may begin to notice a pattern between what foods are causing the upset.
- Animal Products. According to one analysis, animal macronutrients (i.e. carbohydrates, fats and proteins) were associated with pregnancy nausea and vomiting. Simply put, meat was a common problem for pregnant women.
- The same analysis also showed that sugar was a popular trigger food. Thinking of switching to a sweetener? Don’t bother—that could lead to nausea too.
- Fatigue can have you reaching for a second cup of coffee sooner than you’d like, but it may not be the best idea. Besides the evidence that pregnant women should limit their caffeineintake, it may also cause morning sickness to set in. Since stimulants also include caffeinated tea, soda and chocolate, you may want to steer clear of those too.
- If you’ve heard that cereal is a good breakfast for morning sickness but you’re still experiencing nausea, consider whether it could be the milk. Analysis also shows it’s a common trigger food.
- Another breakfast food correlated with morning sickness is eggs. However, you may try cooking them a different way to see if it helps (ex. maybe the smell of boiled eggs specifically is bothersome).
- Spices or Spicy Food.Many women can attest to spices setting them off during pregnancy. The aversion could be for any food that’s overly flavorful or specifically for hot, spicy ones.
- Highly-Scented Foods.Think about the types of foods you cook and everyone in the apartment hallway can smell—those are the ones that may cause strong negative reactions during pregnancy.
33 Snack Ideas for Morning Sickness
Keep in mind that everything should be eaten in moderation. While a bagel is safe for nausea, it’s still not the healthiest option and shouldn’t become a go-to snack.
Also, when you can, it’s best to make snacks as opposed to buying them. For example, store-bought bean snacks can be filled with salts and additional triggering spices. Making them at home means you can customize it to your own preferences.
- Cereal— Since a bowl may be too big for a snack, pour it into a small mug instead. Consider adding alternatives to cow milk if dairy is a trigger.
- Dry Cereal
- Plain Bagel with Butter
- Bread or Toast with Butter
- Bread or Toast with Peanut Butter, Soy Butter or Almond Butter
- Bagel with Butter
- Sandwich— Make sure to fill it with foods less likely to trigger you, such as nut butters.
- Rice cakes with Dip— Consider peanut butter or an alternative. Bean dips are another healthy and nausea-safe option.
- Crackers with Spreads— Again, consider nut butters or bean dips.
- Apple Sauce
- Yogurt— Although some people have an aversion to dairy during pregnancy, you may wish to try plain or Greek yogurt to see if your stomach can handle it.
- Peas— Buy fresh in the pods and snap open.
- Roasted chickpeas— You can make them sweet or salty, depending on your preference.
- Roasted Kidney or Black Beans
- Crunchy, Roasted Green Peas
- Oven-Roasted Snap Pea Chips
- Bean Chips
- Lentil Soup
- Tomato and Basil Lentil Chips
- Peanuts, Almonds or Cashews— Since these can be high in salt and fat, be sure to eat them in moderation.
- Rice— Boil or steamed and lightly spiced.
- Noodles— You can add to a broth for a bland but enjoyable small meal.
- Ginger and Turmeric Broth—Even if no ingredients are added, it can be a soothing soup to sip on.
- Candied Ginger
- Light Ginger Cookies
- Water with Fruits Infused— Keeping hydrated is very important if you’re experiencing morning sickness. Even if you can’t eat, try drinking a glass of water. Adding fruits can be a healthy and nausea-safe way to flavor it.
- Smoothies— Smoothies can be a good way to get nutrients into your body without struggling through a meal. You can use dairy alternatives if milk is an aversion. If you won’t be triggered, you may consider adding greens for nutrients and powder or peanut butter for protein.
- Hot water and Ginger
- Herbal Tea— Herbal tea is not caffeinated. The best choices could include ginger or peppermint.
- Popsicles— Consider making your own with juices or real fruits.
Morning sickness is a normal pregnancy symptom experienced by the majority of women. Even though it usually subsides after the first trimester, dealing with constant nausea and occasional (or frequent) vomiting can be rough. Although some researchers think it’s caused by changing hormones, there’s some evidence to suggest that the food you eat plays a big role in whether you experience morning sickness.
In general, many women find luck with dry and bland foods. Foods that contain meat, are sweet, heavy or hot in temperature or spice can be triggering. We’ve listed some safer snack options to try when you’re feeling nauseated and unable to eat. However, the best way to know what works for you is to start a food journal to record your diet and stomach problems. Over time, you should begin to notice patterns and learn your trigger foods.
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