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How to Ease the Queasies
by Karla Davis

I danced to the left, then to the right, but still no success. Finally, I plopped down on the bed, exhaled, then sucked in my stomach. Mission accomplished. My jeans were on. But now my bladder protested the confinement. "Not again," I said to myself. I had emptied my bladder just ten minutes before the great zipper battle began. Frustrated, I trudged to the bathroom. As I popped open my button, nausea washed over me. Once again I faced my greatest pregnancy battle-morning sickness.

Morning sickness affects approximately fifty percent of all pregnant women. Although experts haven't pinpointed the exact cause, many believe it occurs when pregnancy hormones rise and/or when the blood glucose level drops. Usually morning sickness develops during the first three to four months, but it may linger throughout the entire pregnancy. The nausea and vomiting may occur during the morning only. Or like a surprise attack, it may invade anytime throughout the day. Currently no cure exists. But women can tame it.

When nausea strikes, drink a soothing beverage.

As a child, to ease your upset stomach, your mother probably served you ginger ale, Sprite or 7-up. Experts agree that carbonated sodas buffer the stomach and reduce nausea. Tart drinks curb nausea too. So as an afternoon treat, try some lemonade or grapefruit juice. Also, for those women who dart to the bathroom at the mere sight of food, a vegetable, beef or chicken flavored bouillon may serve as a temporary alternative.

Eat frequent, light meals.

What happens when the stomach becomes empty? The acid has nothing to work on so it works on you. Some women munch every two to three hours to relieve nausea. Dry, salty foods saved me during my uneasy moments. Morning to night, I devoured pretzels. I carried them everywhere and guarded them as if they contained a lifesaving drug. Saltines, almonds, toast, dry cereal and juicy fruits soothe the stomach too.

What happens when the stomach becomes too full? This triggers nausea also. Particularly if foods such as hamburgers, french fries and pizza comprise the daily diet. Fatty foods inch along the digestive system, which may induce nausea. So how can you find a happy medium? Stick to light, high protein, high carbohydrate meals.

Many pregnant women claim that spicy food triggers their nausea too. During my first pregnancy, I craved Mexican food. In fact, I ate tostados, hot sauce and quesadillas so often that I thought my son would arrive wearing a sombrero on his head. But with my second pregnancy, Mexican food sent me racing to the bathroom-not the border. So the enchiladas, salsa and chili I skipped. Instead I ate bland foods, such as lean meats, potatoes, pasta and rice.

Exercise regularly.

Because exercise aids digestion, it prevents nausea. Walk. The fresh air is beneficial too. Swim some laps. Or if you prefer, dance to the beat of prenatal aerobics. But before you step into your walking shoes or leotards, check with your practitioner first. Then choose a regimen that fits your lifestyle and exercise a little each day.

Avoid common triggers.

When coffee brews, bacon sizzles and eggs fry, most mouths water. But these smells offend many pregnant women due to their hyper-responsive olfactory senses. Their best defense-avoid bothersome odors. While cooking, open windows and turn on ventilation fans. Also, light aromatic candles. This idea works. Nine weeks into my first pregnancy my husband and I rented an older home. On our first night there I smelled a musty odor. Waves of nausea hit me. I feared that we'd have to pack up and find a new home that night. Then a friend recommended aromatic candles. I lit vanilla scented candles everywhere. The odor vanished and we stayed.

Stress provokes morning sickness too. So when possible, dodge the rat race. Set your alarm clock ten to twenty minutes earlier than normal, then briefly sit up before you start your morning routine. Rest often. If possible, catnap during the day. Lie down, close your eyes and remain motionless. Sometimes a little peace and quiet is all you need to nip the nausea.

When fighting morning sickness, no single strategy benefits everyone. So try different tactics until you discover the right ammunition for your personal battle.

A Little About Karla
I reside in Alabama with my husband and two-year-old son. Currently, I am a part-time pediatric pharmacist and a full-time mother. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and freelance writing.
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