Pregnancy—particularly your first pregnancy—can be a strange, wonderful, confusing, uncomfortable, rewarding journey. Even when armed with advice from your mom, mother-in-law, sister and friends plus a brand new copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting, you'll likely utter, "Why didn't anybody tell me that?" at least once (if not a dozen times) during your pregnancy. You might say as much about one of the following five "secrets."
1. Forget saltines. Ginger wins the prize for coping with nausea.
The spicy root used predominantly in Asian cuisines and most commonly in Western kitchens to flavor sweet treats like pumpkin pie and cookies possesses anti-inflammatory and healing qualities that have made it a staple of ancient Eastern medicine for centuries. Scientific research supports the use of ginger for its antioxidant properties and ability to quell nausea.
More: Ginger's Health Benefits
A randomized double blind control trial conducted at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Medical College and Vajira Hospital found ginger more effective for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy than vitamin B6; furthermore, ginger had very minor, if any, side effects. An article published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia reviewed 12 clinical trials and found that, collectively, ginger was favored for treating nausea and morning sickness over placebos or no treatment at all. Another double blind control trial published in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology revealed ginger's efficacy in decreasing vomiting episodes and improving nausea symptoms.
Ginger ale works for some; however, I'm not much of a soda drinker—too much sugar—and diet soda was a no-go because certain sugar substitutes are off limits during pregnancy. Also, carbonated beverages just didn't sit well with me when I was pregnant.
Make your own ginger tea; it's a low-effort, cheap remedy that you can make a big batch of and reheat when needed. Just strain out the ginger root before you store it or the spiciness will intensify the longer it sits. If you leave the ginger in the tea when you store it, just make sure to dilute with a little extra water before sipping. Steeping this tea on your stove emits a pretty neutral, slightly spicy scent that won't make you gag—a plus when you're so nauseas that the aroma of nearly anything cooking will send you teetering toward the toilet. This is also a good elixir to drink when you have a cold (see secret #2).
Ginger Tea Recipe
- 12 cups water
- 1 4-inch piece of ginger root, sliced into pieces
- 3 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
Place a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add water, sliced ginger (don't bother to peel the ginger) and honey or sugar to the pot. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain out ginger pieces before drinking. Store any unused tea in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two days.