How to avoid seasickness in pregnancy: food and practical tips

It is not new that, during pregnancy, a woman may experience nausea. But it is necessary to make it clear that not all pregnant women have this symptom and that does not mean that there is something wrong.

Even so, some doubts may arise: why does nausea occur? When does it usually happen? And, mainly, how to avoid and end this problem?

The Healthy Minute explains all of this and even more information, below:


Why does pregnancy make you sick?

It is not known exactly why pregnant women feel sick, but there are experts who indicate that the problem is more likely to be related to the increase in the levels of the hormone hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin).

This is also known as the “pregnancy hormone”, since it favors the first most common symptoms of pregnancy – that is, nausea and vomiting.

There are some studies that relate the appearance of these symptoms with a possible stimulus that hCG makes in the Central Nervous System (CNS), reaching the postrema, the area of ​​the brain responsible for inducing and controlling vomiting.

There are even indications that the stimulus may be stronger in the case of twin pregnancies, considering the greater hormonal production.

Still, there are some hypotheses with an evolutionary origin that indicate that nausea could be beneficial to the fetus, acting as a supposed “protection mechanism”.

This is because, in times when humans sought food through practices such as hunting and plantations, there was a greater chance that foods with toxins harmful to health would be consumed.

And if this happened during pregnancy, there would be great risks to the baby. Then, the pregnant woman’s body induced nausea to prevent her from consuming foods with potential toxicity to the fetus (such as meat, for example). This mechanism persists today, and may be responsible for seasickness.

However, other factors that can effectively contribute and cause seasickness in pregnancy are: keen sense of smell , change in food preferences and pre-existing chronic disorders (such as labyrinthitis ).

How long does it take to get sick from pregnancy?

In general, pregnancy sickness usually lasts until the end of the first trimester . Therefore, it tends to disappear after the 16th week of pregnancy. So, it is rare that a woman suffers from this discomfort until the moment of the baby’s birth.

Nausea usually lasts until the end of the first trimester, that is, it is more common at the beginning of pregnancy. However, there are cases where some women have this symptom for a long time.

Even when the sickness continues after this initial period, it is common that a clinical analysis is necessary, so that the doctor can make sure that everything is running properly with the health of the mother and baby.

However, in general, even when nausea is prolonged, it is usually not serious.

It is worth mentioning that nausea is related to the hCG hormone levels, which peak between the 7th and 10th week. Therefore, when there is greater stability in hormonal rates, nausea and vomiting cease to occur.

In addition, although it is a common symptom, it is reinforced that not all women have such discomfort. Which does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong.

What to do to improve nausea in pregnancy?

Many women seek advice from friends, relatives or even on the internet to alleviate the unwanted nausea during pregnancy. However, this is not advisable, the most prudent is to always seek guidance from the obstetrician responsible for prenatal care.

This (a) professional can indicate care and treatment for nausea and vomiting, without any risk to the health of the mother and, especially, the fetus.

This can include changes in habits, such as avoiding exposure to strong smells that can trigger such discomfort.

In addition, drinking plenty of cold water can help. Some women even experience nausea relief when drinking lemon water, which may be associated with the fact that this fruit raises gastric acidity (usually it is low in pregnancy and can cause heartburn ).

In cases of more recurrent or more severe seasickness, the doctor may prescribe the use of drugs such as Dramin B6 or Vonau .

Finally, another key factor is to prioritize the consumption of fresh foods without strong spices (such as pepper, paprika, nutmeg, etc.). In this sense, fruits are a great choice of ingredients to include in the diet – here are a few options:

Fruits that reduce nausea during pregnancy

Fruits are excellent for general health and, in addition, they can also have some specific benefits. Like, for example, helping to relieve symptoms such as nausea, which is quite common for pregnant women.

In this case, the best options are light fruits, with a higher water content and which are more acidic (in general, fruits rich in vitamin C ). This is because they help to minimize gastric discomforts such as heartburn and poor digestion, which favor nausea.

Therefore, some of the fruits that can reduce nausea during pregnancy are:

  • Lemon;
  • Watermelon;
  • Strawberry;
  • Blueberry;
  • Orange;
  • Kiwi;
  • Guava;
  • Acerola.
The orange is an example of a fruit that can help against pregnancy sickness, especially due to the concentrations of vitamin C. But it is not the only one, the same goes for the strawberry and the lemon, for example.

In addition to these, it is also worth noting that papaya , dates and bananas are options that can help against such discomfort and contribute to good health.

When you have a lot of nausea in pregnancy, what does it mean?

Although nausea is a common symptom in pregnancy and women may experience it at different intensities (milder or more severe), when there is excessive nausea it can be a problem .

Such a condition is called hyperemesis gravidarum (vomiting and excessive nausea during pregnancy), which is characterized by an increase in the frequency and intensity of the onset of symptoms.

This can trigger conditions such as dehydration and weight loss , which can affect the pregnant woman’s nutritional status, the health of her body and, consequently, the baby’s full development.

Often this condition is caused by psychological factors, such as the mother’s insecurities and / or other discomforts that may be weakening her emotional. In these cases, in addition to monitoring with the obstetrician, therapeutic support with a psychologist is required.

It should be noted that hyperemesis is not common, affecting a very small portion of women. In general, if treated correctly, the problem does not usually affect the baby.

However, otherwise, the fetus may be born prematurely, suffer from nutritional deficiencies and even present cognitive changes.

Remembering that care must be redoubled for women who already have previous health problems that can favor nausea on a larger scale. Like, for example, labyrinthitis (disorder that affects the labyrinth and causes nausea, imbalance, etc.).

How to know if nausea is from pregnancy?

There is no way to know if nausea is really a pregnancy without the woman having other symptoms. In general, the difference is that nausea usually occurs in the morning in pregnant women, the time of day when there are the highest hormonal rates in the body.

Other than that, there is no greater evidence that nausea may be related to pregnancy. Therefore, you need to pay attention to other common symptoms:

  • Indisposition;
  • Sudden nausea throughout the day;
  • Delayed menstruation;
  • More refined sense of smell;
  • Breast tenderness;
  • Pink and / or thick discharge;
  • Cramps and pain in the lower back (lumbar).

Still, a first option to know about pregnancy is to use the tests available in pharmacies, although they are not the safest option. But this can be done, for example, when the woman has two or more of the listed symptoms.

Sickness is a sign of healthy pregnancy?

Sickness can be one of the health signs in pregnancy. Although it is not comfortable for the mother to have to deal with nausea during pregnancy, they can be an indication of normality in the levels of the hCG hormone.

But in addition, a study by specialists at the Hospital for Sick Children , Toronto (Canada), indicated that women who experienced nausea during pregnancy had lower rates of spontaneous abortions.

And that the mothers who had this symptom, conceived babies with a bigger stature and even healthier. Still, such a study pointed to a lower rate of congenital problems (down syndrome, cleft lip, heart disorders, etc.) in these children.

Finally, the research also links nausea during pregnancy with the child’s best development in the long run.

However, despite these benefits pointed out in the analysis, it is worth noting that more studies are still needed to understand the relationship between seasickness and gestational health.

In addition, although it is a very common symptom (affects more than 80% of women) in pregnancy, the absence of nausea does not necessarily mean that there is a problem.

In any case, medical monitoring is essential , since this is the safest and most effective way to ensure that everything is fine with the mother’s health and fetal development. Remembering that each woman and each pregnancy is unique.

How to avoid?

Basically, the way to avoid nausea in pregnancy is to maintain the care indicated to minimize this discomfort when it occurs. In other words, during the first trimester (period when nausea usually occurs), it is recommended:

  • Avoid strong smells;
  • Maintain a light diet and without strong spices;
  • Drink plenty of water, preferably cold;
  • Include fruits rich in vitamin C in the diet (lemon, orange, strawberry, watermelon);
  • Do not leave windows for long periods between meals.

In addition, it must be remembered that it is normal for women to experience nausea during pregnancy and, as mentioned, this can even be considered an indication that everything is going well.

Therefore, the pregnant woman must carry out the correct monitoring with the obstetrician and treat the symptom, in order to minimize the discomfort. However, remembering that there is no way to completely prevent nausea from happening.