A Plant-Based Diet for Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is an unfortunate part of pregnancy for many women, but it doesn’t have to be.

This article was originally published on NutritionFacts.org and republished with permission. NutritionFacts.org

As many mothers (and sympathetic fathers) already know, morning sickness is considered to be a normal, even expected, event during the nine month pregnancy process. But did you know that it isn’t actually as common in other parts of the world? While on a global scale this condition affects some 70-85% of pregnant women, not all countries experience it at the same rate.

It has been found that nausea and vomiting in the morning happen far less frequently in countries where diets are centered on plants like fruits, vegetables and grains. For example, India is a country where eating meat is far less common than in the Western world. Many animals that are considered livestock in the United States are revered and respected in India. As a result of eating mostly plant foods, India is at the bottom of the list when it comes to frequency of morning sickness at just 35%.

While it may seem like just a handy bit of information, there is a very good reason to avoid frequent bouts of nausea. Sometimes pregnancy-induced vomiting can become extremely severe. This condition, known as hyperemesis gravidarum, puts approximately 50,000 pregnant women in the hospital every year in the United States alone. Bouts of vomiting can be so severe that it can lead to vomiting blood and risk of esophageal rupture.

The good news is that there are ways to alleviate the symptoms of nausea in the morning. As already noted, a plant-based diet is positively associated with a reduction in sickness, so getting rid of some if not all of the meat in your diet can help. But specific plants can be great natural alternatives to a pharmaceutical option to alleviate the symptoms when they do strike as well. A daily dose of a gram of powdered ginger can help in this arena, but be careful with your dose, as researchers suggest no more than 4 grams of the powder a day. Marijuana is also well-known for it’s anti-nausea effects, and when facing hyperemesis gravidarum can be a miracle cure to help mom stay out of the hospital. But be careful, it is recommended that pregnant and breast feeding women should severely limit and completely stop the use of marijuana where possible, as long term and heavy use can have a detrimental impact on the developing fetus. However, used very sparingly and only when severe nausea is involved, cannabis is effective in over 90% of cases.

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