by Colette Bouchez
Although it had long been considered the stuff of old wives tales and legend, using ginger as a remedy to treat morning sickness is rapidly earning a new respect. In new studies published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, doctors from the University of Adelaide in Australia proved once again this natural remedy is an extremely effective treatment for the nausea and vomiting that affects up to 90% of all pregnant women, usually in the first trimester.
But while many doctors still remain "on the fence" about natural treatments, according to pregnancy researcher and author Colette Bouchez, the wisdom of "Mom" has long been on the side of Mother Nature -- particularly in the treatment of morning sickness.
"When it comes to pregnancy, most women have incredibly sharp intuition and great natural instincts -- they know when something is wrong, and they sure know when something is right, and ginger has been one of those right remedies for generations," says Bouchez, the author of the brand new book Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy: Beauty, Health and Lifestyle Advice for the Modern Mother-to-Be.
In the new research, Dr. Caroline Smith reports ginger was compared to clinical doses of vitamin B6 (a common prescription for morning sickness) and was found to be as effective. although previous animal studies have revealed a potential link between very high levels of ginger and an increased risk of pregnancy complications including miscarriage, Smith reports that her studies found no such connection. She writes: "for women looking for a reduction in their nausea and vomiting... the use of ginger in early pregnancy will reduce the severity of their symptoms."
Bouchez, who notes that 3 previous studies on ginger found similar good results says ginger works thanks to two active constituents known as "gingerols" and "shogaols" both of which give this plant its pungent taste. Not coincidentally, she says, these same compounds also work directly on the gastrointestinal system to reduce the activity linked to nausea and vomiting.
If, however; you've tried ginger and it doesn't seem to help you, Bouchez advises skipping the gingerale and gingersnaps, and go for the "real stuff" instead.
"There is some research to show that it is the properties found in natural, fresh ginger that makes this a truly effective treatment -- so when possible, buy some fresh ginger root and use to make a tea, or sprinkle it on your cereal or bowl of fresh fruit," says Bouchez.
Six More Natural Treatments for Morning Sickness
If, in fact, ginger just isn't your "cup of tea" according to Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy, here are 6 more natural ways to beat morning sickness.
- Switch prenatal vitamins or the time you take them. The high iron content can induce nausea in many pregnant women. Switching to a low iron formula in the first trimester only (when the risk of anemia is very low) may squelch morning sickness. Also, take your vitamins late in the day and skip the glass of water. Instead swallow your vitamin in a spoonful of pudding or applesauce.
- Limit fluid intake with meals. Instead drink between meals and try other tummy-soothing beverages such as peppermint iced tea or chamomile hot tea.
- Massage your pressure points by applying pressure on what Chinese medicine experts call the P6 Nei Guan nerve located in the wrist. To stimulate this anti-nausea nerve use two fingers from your left hand to press the underside of your right arm two inches above your wrist. Hold for up to 60 seconds and repeat as needed.
- Rise and shine...slowly. Whether it's getting up in the morning or after a nap, rising too quickly can throw off equilibrium and contribute to the queasies.
- Have breakfast in bed. if you've heard that dry crackers is a treatment for morning sickness, you've heard right -- but the trick is to eat them in bed, twenty to thirty minutes before rising -- and don't drink any liquids, especially water, while munching.
- Scent you hankies! To sidestep nausea caused by smells and odors outside your home, tuck a hankie doused with a combination of lavender and peppermint oil into a small plastic bag and keep in your purse. At the first hint of nausea, hold the hankie to your nose and breathe deep for almost instant nausea relief.
Colette Bouchez is an award winning medical journalist with more than twenty years experience. She is the former medical writer for the New York Daily News, and the top selling author of The V Zone, Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy, and co-author of Getting Pregnant. Currently a daily medical correspondent for HealthDay News Service/The New York Times Syndicate, and WebMD, her popular consumer health articles appear daily online, as well as in newspapers nationwide and in Europe and Japan. She is a regular contributor to USAToday.com, ABCNews.com, MSNBC.com and more than two dozen radio and television news stations nationwide. She lives in New York City.
Copyright © Colette Bouchez. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.