There are apparently perfectly valid biological and evolutionary reasons as to why we feel sick when we’re pregnant: it’s thought to be due to the increase in hormones, and possibly to help women avoid eating something that could harm the foetus… Or something… But let’s be honest, it’s a cruel trick of nature, and it’s just not bloody fair. It’s a sick ‘welcome to motherhood’ joke that never gets funny.

Everything’s heightened when you’re pregnant; the sense of smell in particular in the early stages can be the olfactory equivalent of (an un-fun) funhouse hall of mirrors, particularly if you live somewhere that’s already smelly, like London. Not at all helpful when coupled with a constant pregnant hangover (without the fun bit preceding it) and omnipresent desire to barf.

Morning sickness is a cruel trick of nature – a sick ‘welcome to motherhood’ joke that never gets funny

Having just come through the worst of my barfy stage – the first trimester (or the worst trimester, as I think we should rename it) – I feel well placed to discuss the few lifesavers that took the edge off for me. Honestly though, morning sickness – or ‘all-day and all night sickness’ – is different for everybody, and some lucky souls might never experience it, while on the other end of the spectrum there is the serious medical condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, where women suffer severe and constant illness and can’t keep any food or liquids down. This condition only affects 1% of – very unlucky – pregnant women, and requires professional medical attention; no article on morning sickness cures will help you, sorry.

For the rest of us who sit somewhere in the middle of the rainbow-yawn spectrum I’ve put together the collected wisdom on morning sickness in the hope that it might help someone somewhere feel even a tiny bit less green around the gills…

Top tips

It’s a cure as old as the hills, but one that actually works. Chop up a bit of ginger root, add some hot water and sip throughout the day. A marvellously simple and accessible cure.

I find the fresh bite of anything minty – peppermint or spearmint – takes my mind off any sludgy, bilious feeling and replaces it with something altogether more pleasant. Pop some mint essential oil on a pulse point, or simply chew some gum.

I don’t know about you, but for me any excess movement can trigger ‘the sickness’. That means you should either get out of the car or bus as soon as possible, or stop watching your phone/TV and go sit somewhere still and un-distracted for a moment.

Plenty of people pooh-pooh homeopathy, but if it works for some it’s worth a try. Visit a practitioner for a prescription or go straight to an online retailer. Nux vomica and Ipeacac tend to be the most common suggestions.

It sounds idiotically simple, but it’s often the best cure for morning sickness. Rooms can be full of trapped and festy smells, so if you can face it, a walk in the fresh air will help reset the impulse to vomit.

I’ve found acupuncture borderline miraculous throughout my pregnancies; I’ve even had it on the NHS to prompt labour when baby number one was overdue. Visit a respected practitioner for morning sickness and almost any pregnancy ailment.

Overloading your already-loaded pregnant body with a big meal can be disastrous for morning sickness sufferers. Keep meals small and eat often – less 3 square meals a day, more 6 little meals a day to keep the sickness at bay.

Avoid spicy, greasy and sugary foods, and simple carbohydrates. Opt instead for protein-rich foods and complex carbohydrates that will fill you up without tipping you into ‘the sickness’ or acid reflux.

Like mint, Tiger Balm helped me to redirect my feelings of queasiness elsewhere. I popped a little bit behind my ear so I could smell it constantly and help myself think of something else. Worked for me anyway.

Dehydration will not help your morning sickness. Apart from all the bodily functions that require hydration during pregnancy, staying well watered will help you avoid morning sickness too.

B vitamins – in particular B6 – can help with morning sickness, so it’s important that any supplements you take include this (and if you can stomach it, yeast extract is a good food source). Zinc too is important to include in a healthy pregnancy diet.

Rescue Remedy is a good cure-all that can help sufferers of morning sickness, too. Pop some drops under your tongue when feeling sick, it can be a pretty miraculous helper.

Low or high blood sugar levels can result in revolting bouts of morning sickness and worse. Opt for foods with a low GI (glycemic index) that keep blood sugar levels even. Foods like lentils, humous, nuts, seeds and whole grains are great for this.


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