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Pregnancy : 5 Tips for Relieving Morning Sickness

Morning sickness (or, more accurately for many unlucky individuals, "any time of day" sickness) is the most common pregnancy symptom, affecting an estimated 70 to 85 percent of pregnant women. Also called nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, morning sickness develops between the fourth and sixth week of pregnancy and for most women, symptoms go away in 16 to 20 weeks.

The cause of morning sickness is not fully understood, but it's generally believed that the combination of increased hormone levels, low blood sugar, and increased sensitivity to smells plays a part. While morning sickness is a natural part of pregnancy, it can have a major impact on pregnant women and their families. The following tips may help minimize symptoms naturally.

1. Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated is critical for good health and is especially important during pregnancy. Some mothers-to-be who feel nauseated may not feel like drinking water -- especially if they're vomiting. However, the more dehydrated you are, the more nauseated you will become. If water won't stay down, try 100 percent juice popsicles.

2. Eat small portions. Always having some food in your stomach will lower your chances of becoming nauseated. Before you get out of bed in the morning, have a small snack containing protein, like crackers and peanut butter or a handful of nuts. Eat small snacks and meals throughout the day, and have another protein-based snack before bedtime to help regulate blood-glucose levels.

3. Stay active. If you feel lousy, the last thing you want to do is be physically active. But many women find that a little exercise helps improve symptoms of morning sickness. Go outside for a walk if possible -- the fresh air will also help.

4. Bring on the ginger. This herb has a long history as a stomach soother, and research finds that it may help relieve nausea. Cut or grate fresh ginger, pour hot water over it, and drink as a tea. Chew on crystallized ginger. Also look for ginger root in supplement form.

5. Get some rest. Being overtired makes morning sickness worse. Wear a sleep mask to block out light, get a supportive body pillow so you're more comfortable in bed, catch a power nap during the day -- the more sleep you get, the better you'll feel.

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