Morning sickness in pregnancy
Updated: Feb 14, 2019
I recently attended Continued Professional Development with ex Midwife, now Homeopath, Jo Kettemen and thought it would be useful to share some of her experiences and insights using homeopathy during pregnancy and birth.
A very common symptom experienced during pregnancy is morning sickness. The actual number of women who are affected is difficult to find consistent data on. A google search brings up differing quotes from “more than 50%” (americanpregnancy .org) to “up to 80 – 90%” (parents .com). The NHS website says that “around 7 out of every 10 pregnant women experience nausea and/or vomiting” (70%). Of course the experience of morning sickness differs widely.
It is generally accepted that morning sickness can be at any time of day, and some women can feel nauseous all day long (NHS). The NHS website also highlights that “it doesn’t put your baby at any increased risk and usually clears up by weeks 16 to 20 of your pregnancy”. Some women are concerned about the development and growth of their baby if they are reducing the amount they eat. This is only considered a risk if the sickness and vomiting becomes ‘excessive’ where the woman might be sick several times a day and cannot keep any food or drink down, and this is known as hyperemesis gravidarum. The NHS estimates this affects 1 in 100 pregnant women. It’s important to tell your Doctor or visit hospital as soon as possible if this affects you.
Signs and symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum (NHS website):
- Prolonged and severe nausea and vomiting – some women report being sick up to 50 times a day
- Dehydration – not having enough fluids in your body because you can’t keep drinks down; if you’re drinking less that 500ml a day, you need to seek help
- Ketosis – a serious condition that results in the build-up of acidic chemicals in the blood and urine; ketones are produced when your body breaks down fat, rather than glucose for energy
- Weight loss
- Low blood pressure (hypotension) when standing (dizziness, nausea, fainting)
Potential triggers of morning sickness are increased/differing hormone levels, reduced blood sugar, excessive fatigue, emotional stress, frequent travelling, all of which can affect digestive processes. Therefore it can be very useful to take some time looking within. How are you feeling? How are you reacting to different situations? What are your physical actions (eg how does travel affect you, what are you eating and drinking)? If one individual experiences morning sickness due to low blood sugar and another relating to frequent travelling – they are both reacting to different stimulus and will both need different solutions.
In homeopathy, we consider the unique symptoms of an individual even further – which is a way to try and understand the layer beneath the blood sugar level, hormones or stress etc. It is a way to understand what is going on at the whole organism level to cause this knock on effect. Remedies stimulate your body to heal itself, so that you can adjust to differing situations with ease. So two women, both with sickness relating to low blood sugar, might still require different solutions/stimulus because their whole symptom picture differs.
Homeopathy looks at all the symptoms an individual may be experiencing – the what, why, when, where, how. The mental and emotional picture alongside the physical symptoms all give an indication of a remedy which can stimulate the body as a whole to re-balance.
Below are some examples of a few remedies which may be useful during morning sickness, depending upon symptoms and experience (there are many more, but these are common remedies with a particular affinity with nausea and sickness). It must also be remembered that pregnancy itself is not an illness, and where there is minor and occasional discomfort, that is easily accommodated as your body adjusts, there may be no need for any stimulus other than awareness and plenty of time, space and rest. Where this tips over into regular discomfort and affects the moods and functioning of a woman, remedies can be most helpful to rebalance.
These remedies can be used as ‘first aid’ or ‘acute’ remedies for yourself (in 30c potency), matching your symptoms to those of the remedy (you may not have every symptom listed, but a general match eg some physical symptoms and a mental/emotional symptom or what is most striking about your symptoms):
- Ipecac: still nauseous even after vomiting, the nausea and/or vomiting is persistent. Maybe worse after indigestible foods, raisins, cakes etc. Maybe constriction in chest. Worse with warm moist weather. Strong affinity with the vagus nerve – helps to rebalance this. The vagus nerve extends from brain stem to neck, chest and abdomen. It supplies the heart, major blood vessels, airways, lungs, esophagus, stomach and intestines. Deep diaphragmatic breathing can also help – with a long, slow exhale, it stimulates the vagus nerve, slowing heart rate and blood pressure, especially in times of performance and anxiety.
- Nux-vom: constant nausea, may feel faint and hypersensitive. Nausea may be worse in the morning and after eating or sometime after eating. Vomiting with lots of retching or wants to vomit but unable. May have sour, bitter belching. May feel irritable, angry. Maybe worse for noises, smells, light and does not want to be touched.
- Sepia: tiredness and nausea, worse for smells or sight of food but better for eating (don’t like the smell of food, but better for eating it). Nausea maybe in the morning before eating. May want to vomit after eating. May desire vinegar, acids and pickles. Maybe worse after milk. Cold. Maybe sadness, anxiety, heavy feeling.
- Arsenicum: Cannot bear the sight or smell of food. Nausea, retching and/or vomiting after food. Thirst, drinks a lot but little and often. Can crave acids, coffee or milk. Heartburn, gulping up of acid and bitter substances. Nightly aggravations, restlessness and exhaustion. Maybe clingy.
- Phosphorous: Food maybe scarcely swallowed before it comes up again. May feel hunger after eating. May vomit water just drunk, after it warms in the stomach. May have sour taste and sour belching. Can be over-sensitive, easily startled with sensitivity to light, sound, smells, touch and electrical changes including thunderstorms. Maybe fearful and easily vexed or have strong desire for company. Sudden symptoms.
- Cocculus: motion sickness, nausea from travelling. Nausea worse for becoming cold. Nausea with faintness ad vomiting. Aversion to food, loss of appetite. As if gone a long time without food, lost hunger. Smell of food disgusts. Aversion to drinks or desire for cold drinks. Metallic taste. Feels too weak to talk loudly. Mind feels numbed.
Sometimes a deeper remedy is required for your individual constitution, in these circumstances it is advisable to seek the help of a registered professional homeopath for support. A homeopath can objectively consider your current health patterns, health history and family history to prescribe a suitable remedy. Here are some examples of further remedies;
- Symphoricarpus: persistent vomiting, worse for any motion, very changeable appetite, bitter taste in mouth, smell and thought of food repungent, constipation from not eating. Fickle appetite. Better lying on back.
- Apple tree: nausea in pregnancy persisting after first trimester. Includes motion sickness. May be used where there is deep old trauma and grief. Sensitivities and fears. Supports to become in the present moment.
- Rhodocrosite: extreme nausea, stoic, anger but have to hold it together for others. Extreme past trauma. Cleansing, supports kidneys. Balances old anger, resentment. Nurturing, supports bonding with baby during pregnancy.
- Gossypium: very strong indication to be sick in the morning (before eating), very sensitive, bloated, worse for motion.
It is important to only take a remedy that is indicated (a good symptom match, physically and mental/emotionally). If a remedy has not helped, do not continue to take it without support from a registered homeopath. The gentlest stimulus is required.
Homeopathy can also consider the tissue salts present in the body. Dr. Wilheim Scheussler (1821-98) researched the chemistry of body tissues and discovered that there are 12 inorganic minerals in the body. Our cells are made of combinations of water, organic matter (eg sugar, proteins, fats) and inorganic matter (minerals). Scheussler described the minerals as the active substances which utilise the inactive organic matter. For normal cell functioning we require sufficient levels of the 12 tissue salts. The 12 salts are produced at homeopathic levels, at which they are found in the body, so that they can be readily absorbed into the blood stream naturally. There is a widely prescribed tissue salt programme available for mothers-to-be to support both the woman and the development of the baby at key stages.
There is an online site that can help you find and choose a registered homeopath if this is something you decide is for you; www.findahomeopath.org where you can type in your postcode or area and look at details for nearby homeopaths. It is a good idea to have a chat with a few homeopaths to help choose who you might like to go and see.
If you are interested in learning how to use homeopathy for yourself and family members for acute/short term illnesses such as coughs, cold, flu, mild infections, minor injuries etc, I am offering the following 2 hour session:
‘Introduction to Homeopathy’
Saturday 23rd March 2-4pm
St. Peter’s Church, Cambridge Rd. Harrogate, HG1 1PE
£25 per person.
Contact myself to book: Rebecca Maunder, call/text 07584 119252,
My website has more information about myself and homeopathy: www.naturally-well.co.uk
If you have any questions or would like to arrange a free 20 minute consultation to discuss homeopathy, please get in touch.