Morning sickness tips

Morning sickness in pregnancy is debilitating, but we have some morning sickness tips from Dr Marilyn Glenville, leading nutritionist and author, and Russell Bowman ND BSc (Hons) Dip N.N is a nutritionist at The Nutri Centre.

Apple Cider Vinegar – ‘Apple cider vinegar is pH neutral, so it can help settle the stomach acid which causes nausea. Add 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water first thing in the morning to help keep nausea at bay’ advises Marilyn.

Try Higher Nature’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, £6.50 from Nutri Centre.

Almonds – ‘Almonds are a great source of protein and calcium, both of which can settle your stomach.’ Take Marilyn’s sickness-busting tip and soak 10 almonds (unroasted) over-night, peel off the skins in the morning before eating.

Water – drinking water is essential to compensate for the fluids lost during vomiting. Marilyn suggests you ‘keep a pint of mineral water by your bed with the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt. The lemon juice makes the water more alkaline and this seems to settle the stomach.’

Vitamin B6 – Some experts believe morning sickness is caused by high levels of oestrogen in the system. Marilyn explains ‘oestrogen can build up when the liver isn’t efficiently flushing away the excess. ‘Vitamin B6 can help clear away excess toxins by optimising liver function.’

Try BioCare’s Vitamin B6, a water soluble B vitamin which is yeast free and suitable for vegans. Biocare’s Vitamin B6 is £8.80 for  2 months’ supply and is available from Nutri Centre.

Ginger – Ginger supplements have been proven to ease nausea by helping food to pass more rapidly through the digestive system, as well as reducing the stimulation to the part of the brain that prompts a burst of nausea or vomiting. Russell says ‘Ginger can be helpful in preventing nausea and morning sickness, and research suggests that it can be effective.  It contains many active ingredients including phenols, which can improve gastro-duodenal motility and reduce the sensations that cause nausea. Ginger can affect certain heart and blood medications, so speak to your GP if you are taking these.’

Try Ginger People’s Ginger Chews Original, £1.55 from Nutri Centre, or
BioCare’s Gingerdophilus (Ginger and Probiotic Combination), £20.40 for a months supply from Nutri Centre. This product combines powdered ginger with the benefit of probiotics, which can assist in digestive complaints as well as the nausea associated with morning sickness. 3 capsules provides 900mg of ginger which can be effective for short term use (4-5 days at a time).

Lemon therapy – ‘Lemon juice can help to relieve nausea, even by just inhaling its fragrance. Cut a lemon in half and rub the juice on your hands, then hold your hands to your face and take a deep breath whenever you feel nauseous.’ advises Marilyn.

Homeopathy – Marilyn advises you take the most appropriate remedy (below) in a 30c potency, 4 times a day for 3 days:

Arsenicum – is best if you have a sense of constant nausea, some vomiting and if you feel exhausted or faint.

Ipecac – for morning sickness that isn’t relieved by either vomiting or stress.

Nux vomica – if you feel nauseous, but better if you actually vomit.  

Sepia – if you feel constantly nauseous, but a little better if you eat little and often.

Acupressure – One study showed a 60 per cent improvement in morning sickness in women who used acupressure. The acupressure point for nausea is at the base of your wrist, about 5cm from the crease of your wrist on the inside of your arm. Press on this point for several seconds each time you feel nausea coming on. Alternatively you can buy acupressure bands to do this job for you.

Aromatherapy – Try putting a few drops each of rosewood and lavender essential oils onto a tissue or handkerchief and inhale during the day.

Some tips from Russell to avoid morning sickness:

Become a protein grazer – Eat small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day so your stomach is neither too empty nor too full. Research suggests that high-protein foods are more likely to ease symptoms.
Snack attack – Keep simple snacks such as ginger biscuits or crackers by your bed. When you first wake up, eat a small amount and then rest for a while longer before getting up. Snacking may also help you feel better if you wake up feeling nauseous in the middle of the night.
Take it slowly – Getting up slowly in the morning by sitting on the bed for a few minutes, rather than jumping right up, may also be helpful.
Smell the roses, or not – Try to avoid foods and smells that trigger your nausea. Due to your heightened sense of smell, you may find that certain foods that you enjoyed before you fell pregnant may make you feel queasy now. If so, you could try sticking to more bland smelling or tasting foods for the short term.

Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD is the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s health. She is the author of 10 internationally bestselling books, including the recently re-launched Getting Pregnant Faster and The Natural Health Bible for Women. Marilyn practices in her clinics in Tunbridge Wells (Kent), St John’s Wood (London), Kensington (London) and Rathmines (Dublin). For more information on specific health problems see Dr Glenville’s website

Eating for two?

In the last few years there is much more awareness about the need for pregnant women to be careful about what they eat and drink while carrying a baby. Organic food for babies is virtually the norm in the UK now, even in ready-made foods. Scientists believe that a baby is programmed for a lifetime of good or poor health in the first few months of its life according to the type and amount of nutrition they receive.

If babies are better off eating organic food, it makes sense to avoid pesticides during pregnancy as well to avoid chemicals passing through the placenta to the foetus.  Also see Natural Baby.

What to eat:

When you’re pregnant you need plenty of:

Fruit and vegetables – broccoli is high in calcium, green leafy vegetables contain folic acid and all fruit and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Wholegrains – such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and wholewheat pasta.

Protein – fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, pulses (beans or lentils), or soya products such as tofu.

What not to eat or drink

Research has shown that just 200mg (two cups) of caffeinated drinks – coffee, tea, hot chocolate – can cause miscarriage in the early part of pregnancy.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is planning on advising women to avoid caffeine altogether in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and some may suggest cutting it out for the whole of the nine months. Herbal teas make a good alternative.

The new study carried out by Dr De-Kun Li and colleagues looked at 1,063 women who were in the first couple of months of pregnancy. They asked them to keep diaries about their caffeine intake until the 20th week. Out of the group 172 women miscarried before 20 weeks and there was an obvious link with caffeine. There was an increased risk of miscarriage of 15 per cent in those women who drank 200mg (four cups) of caffeinated drinks (hot chocolate, coffee and tea) a day, and a 25 per cent greater risk if they drank more than that.

Other foods to avoid:

Raw or partially cooked eggs to avoid salmonella and this includes mayonnaise, salad dressings, mousses and ice cream made with raw eggs. It’s healthier to eat organic/free range eggs and much healthier for the chicken too

Soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert and chevre (type of goat’s cheese) as they are unpasteurised

Pate of any kind because it can cause listeria

Liver products – and supplements that contain too much Vitamin A, such as cod liver oil

Some types of fish – only shark, swordfish and marlin and no more than two tuna steaks a week or four medium sized cans due to mercury content

Raw or undercooked meat

Undercooked ready meals

Raw shellfish because it can contain harmful bacteria and viruses

Peanuts if you think your baby is at risk – for instance if someone else in the family has a peanut allergy

Sugar and fat – it’s easy to put on additional weight when you’re pregnant because you are eating for two but it’s harder to take off afterwards, so try to avoid too much saturated fat and sugar in cakes, biscuits, sweets

What not to drink:

Caffeine – due to research above it is important to either cut out or drastically reduce intake of coffee, cola, tea or coffee. Try herbal teas instead or coffee substitutes like Bambu.

Alcohol – many women get caught out with alcohol before they realise that they are pregnant. Current advice is to avoid alcohol entirely or just drink one or two units (small glass of wine) a week.

To find out about latest findings on food in pregnancy go to

Vitamins and Minerals:

Folic Acid: 400 mcg (microgram) supplement daily from the time you start trying for a baby until the 12th week of pregnancy, and eat plenty of dark green vegetables (cabbage, spinach, greens, chard). The reason for taking folic acid is that it is believed to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the baby, such as spina bifida.

Iron: You may need to ask your GP about iron supplements if you are deficient. Floradix is a good all round tonic, high in iron, which is derived from vegetables.

Vitamin D: It is advisable to take Vitamin D supplements because few people in Britain get enough sun for the body to make the amount we need for pregnancy.

You should not take Vitamin A in pregnancy

There are a number of good supplements that can be taken in pregnancy – see below:

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Therapies for pregnancy, labour and afterwards

Massage, Reflexology, Aromatherapy

 ‘If a pregnant women is suffering from a debilitating condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, excessive swelling, or severe back ache they are referred to the complementary therapy team for reflexology, massage, aromatherapy and shiatsu massage,’ according to Wendy Gadsden, midwife specialist and complementary therapists co-ordinator at the Barratt Maternity Home at Northampton General Hospital.  Read also: Natural Baby.

In pregnancy:

  • Citrus oils are very uplifting in the early part of pregnancy – grapefruit, mandarin, lemon, and lemongrass are among the popular ones
  • To aid with relaxation Roman chamomile can be used from 24 weeks onwards
  • Reflexology is good for improving lymphatic drainage and alleviating fluid retention in pregnancy
  • After 28 weeks lavender, a versatile aromatherapy oil, is good for relaxation, swelling and many other ailments

and later:

  • The discomfort of pain in the pelvis can also be eased by working through the feet before or during childbirth
  • Massage is soothing and alleviates pain during labour, so choose an almond base and see if you can persuade your birth partner to practise.
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 The Association of Reflexologists: 0870 567 3320,

The International Federation of Aromatherapists: 020 8742 260,


‘It is unusual for a mother or baby to get through childbirth unscathed,’ according to Stuart Korth, the osteopath who runs the charity The Osteopathic Centre for Children, Harley Street. The centre offers osteopathy to children and pregnant women before and after childbirth regardless of their income.

Stuart Korth explains:

‘The baby’s head may also be adversely affected but osteopathy can prevent the child growing up with postural disturbances or neurological symptoms.’

  • Osteopathy before the birth can reduce the incidence of stress incontinence and post-natal depression
  • The state of the body framework is crucial to the process of labour, particularly the pelvic girdle and lumbic spine
  • Any mechanical disturbance can interfere with labour – e.g. if the pelvis doesn’t move freely it is difficult for the baby’s head to get through
  • Childbirth often affects the woman’s pelvic girdle and it is advisable to see an osteopath after labour as well.

 The Osteopathic Centre for Children: 109 Harley Street, London W1, 020 7490 5510

The General Osteopathic Council: 020 7357 6655,


 ‘If a woman suffers from sickness in pregnancy I suggest that she eats regularly, has plenty of fibre and lots of water, but cuts down on tea and coffee,’ advises Beth MacEoin, author and homeopath. ‘Even though homeopathy in pregnancy has no reported side-effects some women prefer not to take anything in the early months.

Beth recommends:

During pregnancy:

  • For sickness which is worse in the evening, weepiness and feeling uncharacteristically emotional Pulsatilla is a good remedy;
  • Sepia helps morning sickness and complete exhaustion;
  • If morning sickness is accompanied by retching and constipation Nux vomica is appropriate.

In labour:


 Arnica is the all purpose remedy for labour which helps to heal tissues and bruising and also relieves the emotional shock of childbirth

  • In the early stage of labour Gelsemium eases backache and physical exhaustion
  • Aconite eases the panic and fear associated with a fast labour
  • Nux vomica is helpful when contractions are causing sickness.

After the birth:  

  • Ignatia is suitable when the mother is tearful and finds it difficult to be separated from her baby;
  • Once home a panicking and overwhelmed mother can find Aconite calming;
  • Sepia is good for emotional numbness and physical exhaustion.  

‘All these remedies can be purchased in 6c potency over the counter, and the first four doses can be taken every hour. If there is no improvement the remedy needs to be changed or a higher dose taken, and it may be necessary to see a professional homeopath.’

Beth Maceoin practises in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 0191 236 6935 

The Society of Homeopaths can provide names of practitioners, 0845 450 6611,

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‘In China they claim an 85 to 90 per cent success rate in turning a breech baby round the right way using moxibustion – which involves burning herbs on the women’s toes,’ according to Sharon Yelland, Community Midwifery Sister – Acupuncturist at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.

As one of a team of three midwives qualified in acupuncture Sharon and her team give moxibustion to mothers of breech babies at around 33 to 35 weeks’ pregnant as well as acupuncture for sickness, back ache, varicose veins, piles and insomnia.

Provided the midwives who do acupuncture are available, acupuncture might be given during labour in hospital or at home to Plymouth’s mothers.

During labour:

  • Women often don’t need any drugs at all, the labour becomes shorter and pain levels are decreased;
  • Needles in the ear can be controlled by the patient with an electrical stimulation machine according to how intense the pain is.

After the birth:

  • Acupuncture helps with bladder problems brought on by childbirth;
  • Needles on top of the head and at the back of the calf are good for piles;
  • After the birth acupuncture can help with improving milk flow, mastitis and depression.

The British Acupuncture Council:, 0208 735 0400

Yoga therapy

‘Any exercise which opens up and energises the pelvis and gets energy flowing through the body is good for pregnancy,’ claims Satvikananda who runs yoga pregnancy classes in Surrey and Hampshire. ‘The butterfly posture is particularly good for opening up the pelvis – sit on the floor with the soles of the feet together, open the knees and gently flap them up and down.’

Satvikananda emphasises the need to be extra careful for the first 12 to 14 weeks:

  • Gentle breathing and relaxation is advisable at this stage, but no exercises;
  • Breathing to control pain is helpful throughout;
  • It also helps pregnant women to recognise the energy in the body so that they can use it to bear down in labour.

Class attendees often get back together when the baby is only a few days old. ‘We concentrate on pelvic floor exercises but we also see what we can do for the babies. Hardly any of my women get post-natal depression and yoga helps them to get their bodies back in shape and condition.’

It is important to go to a qualified pregnancy yoga teacher.

The British Wheel of Yoga, 01529 306851 ,

Satvikananda can be contacted on 01932 872587