Finding out you are expecting is a momentous time in a woman’s life. But for many women the first couple of months are marred by morning sickness. I was lucky enough in my three pregnancies to not even feel a teeny tiny bit queasy but for some mammas it can be incredibly debilitating. Weeks and weeks talking to the big, white telephone takes the shine out of any occasion. Ayurveda teaches us how to listen to our bodies, understand when we are being threatened by disease and to bring things back into balance through a combination of changes to our diet and lifestyle and the use of herbal medicine. When I did my training in India last year we touched on the Ayurvedic approach to fertility and pregnancy, but it wasn’t deep enough for me to start blending this into our pregnancy yoga practice, but I am planning to rectify that by undergoing more training later this year. Watch this space!
I get asked for all kinds of help with pregnancy ailments and I was recently asked for help and advice about morning sickness and how to manage it without popping pills or taking manufactured products and thought it would be interesting to share some of the things Ayurveda recommends. Much of this will be a process of trial and error but if you have any concerns then I would be happy to have a chat 1-2-1 about what might be best for you. Remember, we are all different so what works for one mamma won’t necessarily work for the next. Hormones have a heating effect (we call this Pitta in Ayurveda), and it’s the rapid production of oestrogen in the blood that research has shown causes some mammas to react by feeling nauseous or actually vomiting. Your senses are totally heightened in pregnancy so for some folks strong smells and tastes can trigger nausea so watch out for triggers if this is you – and avoid it! And remember, it’s called morning sickness, but it can happen at any time of the day or night. So, if you want to try to manage your queasyness without chemicals then here are some things to try that are recommended by Ayurveda. All safe and all natural!.
1. Start the day with food – Seems a bit counter-intuitive if you are experiencing morning sickness, but as we said earlier hormones are heating, or increase Pitta in the body according to Ayurveda. Having a salty cracker, for example, before getting up will help produce saliva and which is cooling and keeps a lid on excess Pitta. Lime or lemon juice will have the same effect.
2. Don’t go hungry. An empty stomach is more acidic so eating little and often (even 5 or 6 small meals a day) will help keep a lid on the acid.
3. Coconut water – is incredibly cooling and will keep you rehydrated if you have been sick. Take little sips (not big gulps!) every 10-15 minutes to settle nausea.
4. Activate your nuts! Soak 10 raw almonds in water overnight, then peel them. Not only are they a good source of protein and calcium, they can also help settle your tummy.
5. Give yourself a rub! In Ayurveda we call this Abhyanga (or self-massage). Before your shower use massage oils (there are different oils for different body types so let me know if this is for you and we can see what’s what for your body type). Take some oil and warm it gently and simply rub it all over your body. It has the effect of de-stressing the mind which can be one reason for nausea – stress and worry.
6. Smelling of roses! Get yourself some rose water or rose essence and when the queasiness is rising add a drop to a cup of milk, heat the milk up (makes it more digestible), allow to cool and drink it warm. Taken at bedtime it can help some people not feel sick in the morning.
7. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! – even better make your own saline drink. 2 teaspoons of sugar, a little fresh lime or lemon juice and a pinch of salt to a pint of water and sip regularly.
8. Get off your butt! Exercise and generally keeping moving keeps the lymphatic system moving and that can help prevent nausea.
9. Ginger! Chewing a little bit of ginger is what our grannies used to recommend, and they were spot on. Even adding a little salt can help stimulate the digestion and keep acid at bay if chewed before food.
So, there you have it! Not a Gaviscon or antacid in sight! It’s a process of trial and error so see what works for you. And if you are looking for 1-2-1 advice just give me a call for a chat. #ayurvedaeverydamnday