Ayurvedic Morning Sickness Tips

Ayurvedic Morning Sickness Tips

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH),  70-80% of pregnant women experience morning sickness during their pregnancies. The good news is that only a small percentage experience feelings of nausea beyond their first trimester.

The NIH study found that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) are more common in urban areas and Western countries. It is comparatively rare among African, Native American, Eskimo, and most Asian populations except India.

Other risk factors linked to an increased risk of NVP include a history of migraines, a history of taking birth control, being underweight during pregnancy, and consuming a high-fat diet before pregnancy. The results related to being overweight during pregnancy are inconclusive. Surprisingly, known risk factors that compromise the health of the baby (like smoking and drinking alcohol prior to pregnancy) offer some protection from NVP, as does taking prenatal vitamins before and during the pregnancy.

There is a genetic component, so if your mom had issues with morning sickness, that trait may be passed down. A handful of studies (such as this one in Harvard’s Gynecology archives) have linked carrying a girl baby to an increased risk of NVP by as much as 50% compared to carrying a boy.

The underlying cause of morning sickness remains elusive from a Western perspective. Some studies link it to high estrogen while others link it to low estrogen. Progesterone, HcG (human chorionic gonadotropin), thyroid hormone, and others all remain inconclusive. 

In This Article

The Ayurvedic Perspective on Morning Sickness

According to Ayurveda, the cause of morning sickness falls under three categories:

  1. Udvarta is the upward movement of vata into the stomach, where the downward-moving apana vata needed for elimination and pregnancy moves upwards instead of downwards as it should. This happens in support of prana vata to handle the mental, emotional, or digestive stress the mother is going through.
  2. Udvarta can lead to Garbha Nimittha, which is upward-moving pressure from the embryo pushing up against the diaphragm and stomach during pregnancy.
  3. Dauhidra Avamaanuana is caused by unfulfilled desires or cravings during pregnancy. This can be linked to mental and emotional stressors, overwork, or worry before and during pregnancy. Once again, such stress calls upon the downward-moving apana vata to help the mind prana vata cope with such stressors.

Much of the prevention of morning sickness takes place before conception by addressing the possible causes of these three factors. In Ayurveda, preparation for a healthy pregnancy should start a year before the pregnancy

Pregnancy Preparation

Pregnancy preparation starts with a nesting process for both parents, which includes creating the space, time, and funds to care for the baby. The mom should start shifting gears from high-stress work to low-stress work with more time spent resting, meditating, and preparing the home for the baby. Some of this may be contrary to the Western norm, but I have treated many couples struggling with infertility and have had good success by primarily teaching them how to nest and de-stress. Babies don’t come when the body is perceiving a bear chasing you while working 80 hours a week! Herbs like Ashwagandha and Shatavari are rejuvenating herbs traditionally suggested to turn off the alarm bells and provide deep rejuvenation in preparation for pregnancy. 

Dive Deeper Into Nesting From the Ayurvedic Perspective:  Ayurvedic Approach to Fertility, Pregnancy and Postpartum Care  

Other factors that lead to poor pregnancy success or an increased risk of morning sickness are nutritional deficiencies. These commonly go unnoticed when screened by your doctor or midwife.  

Dive Deeper Into Nutritional Preparation: Ayurvedic Pregnancy Preparation Tips

Three Health Concerns Linked to Morning Sickness

The three often-neglected health concerns linked to morning sickness and Udvarta (upward moving vata) are:

  1. Trouble breathing or shallow breathing
  2. Fatigue and moodiness
  3. Irregular digestion and elimination

Many of the causes of morning sickness can be addressed before pregnancy by running a fine-tooth comb through all aspects of digestion, breathing, and mood.  

Dive Deeper Into Pre + Postpartum Digestive and Breath Resets: Three Ayurvedic Treatments for Post Partum Recovery

18 Safe Morning Sickness Tips

Once pregnant, the supplements and herbs that are safe to be ingested are slim to none. In Ayurveda, all herbs are suggested to be stopped and instead to let the pregnancy be the medicine. Sadly, even with the best preparation, bouts of morning sickness can still occur. As the research has shown there is no one cause of morning sickness and no singular solution., I have put together a list of remedies from the best of midwifery and Ayurveda that I hope will make your pregnancy more enjoyable.

  1. Small, frequent meals. Maintain blood sugar. Eat before getting out of bed.
  2. Vitamin B6: 25mg 3x/day (or B Complex)
  3. Ginger capsules or tincture (up to 1000mg per day). Ginger tea/ale/candies are good too.
  4. Sip hot water, plain or with lemon as needed for nausea.
  5. Sip coconut water throughout the day to combat nausea and stay hydrated.
  6. Sip lemonade sweetened with raw honey as needed for nausea and hydration.
  7. Drink warm milk with ginger and cardamom
  8. Fennel and Anise tea
  9. Peppermint, Dandelion, Chamomile tea or tincture
  10. Chamomile, Hops, Lemon Balm, Red Raspberry tea or tincture
  11. Peppermint, Ginger, + Orange essential oil aromatherapy
  12. Fresh air and exercise!
  13. Acupuncture
  14. Acupressure “Sea Bands”  and/or The Reliefband
  15. Preggie Pop Drops 
  16. Wishgardens Calm-a-Tum tincture (for early pregnancy) 
  17. Wishgardens Mo’Betta Belly (for late pregnancy) 
  18. Unisom (2 tabs at bedtime, or ½ to 1 tab with meals). Check with your midwife or MD before using.

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Gratefully,
Dr. John

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