Morning Sickness Survival Tips & Tricks - Part 1

home + family pregnancy Oct 09, 2014
morning sickness survival


The Ultimate Morning Sickness Survival Series!

Part 1: Survival Tips & Tricks

My last pregnancy I learned that Princess Kate and I had more than our due dates in common.  When her first pregnancy was announced, it was then that I learned that we were both currently in a season of bowing down to the same “throne.”  Morning sickness is not fun -- not for a princess nor a commoner like myself.  

There is really no cure for morning sickness other than time -- and for some, not until childbirth.  Luckily for me, my morning sickness only lasts until about my 20th week.  I’m sure we all know those who were sick their whole pregnancies or even hospitalized.  So, yes, I can say I’m lucky to only have half my pregnancy plagued by it.

For some reason, my morning sickness seems to get worse with each pregnancy.  I’m not sure if the reason is that my mind is fuzzy about just how bad it was with my first three pregnancies (with my boys), or if my morning sickness is just worse with girls (my last two pregnancies).  Either way, when I get the double lines on a pregnancy test, I know I only have a week or two to prepare myself for a really horrible, “kill me now,” season of life.

With five pregnancies and my love of taking notes and researching, I’ve accumulated quite an extensive list of things that “help” me during this yucky phase of my pregnancies.  There is no sure-fire way to get total relief from morning sickness, at least there wasn’t for me.  But I feel like every time I go through morning sickness, I learn something new that “kinda” helps.

I’m hoping some or many of these things will help you with your morning sickness or help someone you know who is suffering.  Know that some things work one day, but not the next day, or one pregnancy, but not the next.

Since there is so much great information I want to share, I’m going to divide up all my tips into three posts.  I didn’t want to overwhelm you with one monster post.  I’ll probably eventually put this into an ebook.  But I’ve had so many requests for this information lately that I really wanted to get it on my blog to start helping people now (while I figure out the world of ebooks).

So, here are some of the tips & tricks that helped me when I was sick.  See if any of these things help you.  I pray they do!

Remember above all else, this is just a season!  So, give yourself lots of grace.

 Know Your Triggers

First, it’s important to know your triggers when you have morning sickness.  Most of the time there is no way around them.  When I am pregnant, my nose turns into a superhero.  I call it my “Super Sniffer.”  It seems as though smells can be detected from miles away.  Plus smells are intensified and transformed.  Things that normally smell good, like fried chicken, smell horrible and make me incredibly nauseous, and often send me running to the nearest bathroom.  Even seeing foods that I knew could make me nauseous would make my stomach turn.  Lack of sleep, getting dehydrated, & getting too hungry can all intensify your symptoms, too.

Help With Smells

  1. Citrus!!-  Adding a wedge of lemon, lime, or orange to my water bottle really helped me not only stay hydrated but was great at helping me have something to sniff when I started feeling queasy.  I  always kept my “lemon water” with me wherever I went.  Sometimes, I’d even cut a lemon wedge and put it in a ziplock to take with me.  I’d just open the bag and take slow, big breaths whenever I needed something fresh to smell.  Note: Lemon water is great for cleansing your gut, it helps with digestion (which is important during morning sickness), and actually balances pH levels in the body (even though you’d think it would make you more acidic).  I still drink lemon water, hot and cold -- even when I'm not pregnant.
  2. Close doors throughout the house- I learned to always close my master bedroom door during the day.  So, if I had to cook, the smells wouldn’t linger in my room at night.  That was always the difference between a good night and a bad night for me.  Actually keeping as many rooms closed as possible created "safe zones" for me.
  3. Cook outside, whenever possible- Trying to keep cooking smells to a minimum is a must.  I’ll discuss more about this in the meal planning section in Part 2.
  4. Avoid cooking!-  :)  It’s okay to serve sandwiches for dinner...or eat cereal.  :) Again, give yourself grace.  Your kids will love "breakfast for dinner" nights, and you won’t have to deal with a smelly house.
  5. Vicks!!-  A little Vicks under the nose really helps with smells.  I kept a little bottle of it next to our diaper changing area.  Changing diapers is REALLY hard to do when you are extremely nauseous.  I’ll have more on diaper changing tips in Part 3.
  6. Essential Oils- I’d put several drops on a bandana or a wet washcloth and keep it in a ziplock to take with me when I was going out.  I even wore it around the house at night.  I felt like a bandit (see below).  It was sometimes the only way I could be in the same room with my family at night.  Again, having something fresh to smell is key.  Essential oils to try: lemon, lemongrass, orange, eucalyptus, peppermint, mint, & lavender.  

  1. Stay home if you need to & avoid places that have smells you can’t handle- I found that I couldn’t go to any store that had fried or rotisserie chicken.  I was also very sensitive to public places where a lot of people were gathered in a small area.  Unfortunately for me this also included church and moms’ groups.  Thankfully, my church has its messages online.  So, while my family was at church, I’d watch from the comfort of home.  I just couldn’t handle perfumes, deodorants scents (or lack of deodorant scents), coffee breath, etc.
  2. Sleep in a separate bedroom- This may sound so strange to you, but it really helped.  I can barely handle my own scent and morning breath when I have morning sickness.  So, it really was not my hubby, it was me.  Poor guy.
  3. Shower daily-Keeping with the theme of morning smells.  :) Showering every day does help you smelling nice, but it's also refreshing and can help you feel better.  Be sure to eat a little something before you jump in since you don't want to get light-headed in the shower.
  4. Be careful of the "scents" you put on daily-I had to change shampoo and deodorant with one pregnancy.  Their scents made me nauseous.  My mom had a hairspray that got to me, too, while she was visiting.  It's always strange how something can smell really good one day, and then during morning sickness turn into your greatest enemy.
  5. Open windows- If weather permits, leave windows open to get some good ventilation going.  Of course, if a neighbor starts BBQ’ing, close up shop quick!
  6. Get outside!- Going for walks in fresh air and sunshine can help.  Although, there are some plants I can’t stand, so I try to avoid those areas (society garlic is a pretty, but stinky plant).  So, this tip may or may not always work.

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

Sound weird as it may, but when you are sick seeing food can trigger nausea.  Commercials were the worst for me.  Seeing people eat on TV was hard, too.  I remember seeing an interview of a sweaty athlete after a game on ESPN actually made me queasy (I was, of course, watching with my hubby.  I’m more of a Hallmark movie girl).  But, I could imagine how smelly he must have been post-game & it got to me.  Weird, I know.  But I knew my triggers.  So, I closed my eyes during commercials and food moments during shows.  Needless to say, Food Network was off my watch list for a few months.  Sorry, Pioneer Woman.


Sleep is so very important to your health whether or not you are pregnant.  When I was researching solutions for morning sickness, one thing that I read over and over was that getting lots of sleep really did seem to help people get relief from their nausea.  Some people said that it totally cured them of their morning sickness.  Amazing!  I wasn’t that lucky, but I did feel like when my focus was on getting lots of good sleep, I did have better mornings.

  1. Unisom at bedtime- I know taking medication during pregnancy can be controversial.  I will discuss medications & vitamins more in Part 2. But I will say that taking Unisom at night was key to helping me survive during my last pregnancy.  Getting a solid night's sleep really did help me more than anything else.  If I was sick all night, then my mornings were horrible and nights were worse.  It was a vicious circle.  But taking a Unisom at night, helped so much.  My doctor said I could take one at night or split the pill and take half at night and half in the morning.  Splitting the dose didn’t work for me.  I found taking the whole thing at night helped me to get through the night without being sick. Always talk to your doctor before taking anything when you are pregnant-even vitamins.  My doctor was okay and supportive of me taking everything I will outline in these posts.  However, my doctor knows my body and my health history.  So, again, always talk to your doctor first before trying anything you read here or anywhere else.  My OB/GYN said that Unisom was one of the best-tested drugs for pregnant women.  It’s been used for decades on pregnant women with no adverse effects.  Again, talk to your doctor first!!
    *Unisom is an over-the-counter medication.  You need to take the original Unisom, not the natural one or dissolvable one.  But TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR first!!!   (Did I say that enough yet?)
  2. Calcium Magnesium Citrate at bedtime- Calcium Magnesium Citrate is great at helping you sleep.  It’s recommended for insomniacs like myself even when not pregnant.  Again, more on vitamins in Part 2.
  3. Sleep in the quietest room in the house and have someone else get up with little kids-  My hubby was great at helping during this grueling part of my pregnancy, but my oldest son was great at helping, too.  We’d move the monitor into his room during the times my hubby would travel.  He did a great job.
  4. Sleep separately- I know I mentioned this before. This is not a horrible thing.  It’s temporary.  I really do love sleeping next to my hubby.  However, during my morning sickness and the newborn phase, we sleep separately.  We bunked up kids in order for me to be able to sleep in the back bedroom.  I keep the door closed until I was ready to face the day.  Remember, it’s just a season.  You can cuddle with your hubby again at night when you aren’t puking. (& because I know you’re wondering, we sleep separately after we bring a new baby home because we’ve found that somebody has to get sleep in order to help with the other kids in the morning...and think sanely).  :)
  5. Go to bed early!- Personally, I had so many pregnancy hormones raging during my first trimester that I was usually falling asleep on the couch at 5:30 pm some nights.  But do try to get as much off your plate as possible and get to bed early.
  6. Essential Oils- Again, I like to use essential oils for a more natural approach to things. Personally, I use lavender, a balancing blend, a serenity blend, and vetiver to help me sleep. I put the first three behind my ear or on my chest. The vetiver goes on my feet. Do make sure that the vetiver doesn't make you nauseous.

Slow Down

I’m always asked if pregnancy gets easier for me each time.  I know they are really asking, “Now that you're so old, is it really hard on you to be pregnant?”  My answer is always, “Yes, my pregnancies as a whole are easier.”  My morning sickness is worse, but my pregnancies are better because I’ve learned this concept of slowing down.  My last two pregnancies, both at “advanced maternal age” were my best.  I stopped pushing myself so hard and learned to take time to sit down, put my feet up, and rest.  Okay, I’ll admit that I did put together a huge IKEA bookshelf when I was eight months pregnant with our Princess (#4).  & I did hang curtains (yes, on a ladder) a few weeks before our little Angel was born (#5).  So, I’m not perfect at following my own advice.  Just remember that you are growing a little human being.  You need rest.  Give yourself permission to sit more and rest more...even nap now and again.

Staying Hydrated

You feel lousy, but it is really important to stay hydrated however you can!!  You need to find whatever you can to get down and keep down.  What tastes good one day, you may have an aversion to the next day.

  • Flavored sparkling water- Plain sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice & OJ is great, too. Some people might find that sparkling drinks bother their tummies, so for those of you that have this problem, drink things flat.
  • “Fancy Spa” Water- Try adding lemon, cucumber, or orange slices (or a combination) to your water.  Pineapple wedges, strawberries, and mint leaves are great to try, too. {I love citrus flavored essential oil in my water, too}
  • Hot or Iced Tea- Whatever your favorite kind is, try it.  I liked raspberry, apple cinnamon, mint, lemon, citrus, peach, blueberry, & cherry.  One fun tip is to make “Tea Slushies.”  Just throw your brewed tea in a blender with some ice. Yum!  Red Raspberry Leaf tea is recommended throughout pregnancy since it is supposedly helpful in strengthening the uterus.  Ginger teas can be soothing and aid with calming nausea.  So, you can give those a try, too.
  • Ginger Ale- Sipping on ginger ale throughout the day really helped me during my first few pregnancies.  For some reason, I couldn’t handle how sweet it was with my subsequent pregnancies.  But in a pinch, ginger ale was my “go-to.”  Really anything with ginger in it does help a bit.  Again, if carbonation bothers you, drink it flat.
  • Lemonade- I found lemonade refreshing only if it was weak and loaded with ice.  I couldn’t drink it every day since it bothered my stomach a bit.
  • Fruit juice- I don't regularly drink juice, but when you are trying to get calories down and stay hydrated it’s great. If you want you can add either sparkling water, ginger ale, or your favorite lemon-lime soft drink to your juice.  I also loved sparkling apple cider.  I toasted to our new arrival to come. :)
  • Gatorade or Vitamin Water- I love ice-cold Gatorade anytime I'm sick.  It tastes refreshing, and it has electrolytes.  I'll try to ignore the ingredients.  :)  I do try to avoid sugary drinks most of the time, but then again, this is just a season.
  • Smoothies!!!- I survived on smoothies!!!  This was one of the main ways of getting nutrients into my body during this arduous time. I use a product called “E7” by Intergris.  It has loads of vitamins and veggie powder but tastes great.  I recommend their chocolate, berry, or vanilla-flavored powders.  I usually make my smoothies with an almond milk base.  I like to toss together different combinations of frozen fruit, bananas, berries, mangos, orange juice, yogurt, spinach, or kale (if they don’t repulse me at the time) -- really anything that sounds good.  I even toss in wheat germ, ground flaxseed, or chia seeds some days.  Adding whey protein is another way to sneak in some protein to your liquified meal. I like Swanson’s Grass-fed Whey Protein (vanilla or chocolate).  There is no added sugar, and I love that they use hormone-free cows that are grass-fed.  I had a homeopathic doctor recommend it to me years ago.  I love it.

Fresh Breath

Brushing my teeth was sometimes hard during my first trimester.  It triggered my gag reflex really easily.  Don't get me wrong I did still brush my teeth (more than usual actually), but I found that having a mint or something to suck on really helped me.  They were great when I’d go out and would be faced with different smells.  If I had mint in my mouth, then the smells didn’t hit me as hard as they would have otherwise.  So, just try different things out and see if you find anything that might help.  Be sure to stock your purse with them, too.  They come in really handy when you start feeling like you might "lose it."

  • Preggo Pops- these are specialty suckers that are a bit sour.  They helped some days, but not all the time.  But other people have told me they worked great for them.
  • Hard candies like Jolly Ranchers, Lemon Heads, and suckers
  • Mints or mint candies
  • Ginger Chews- Trader Joe's carries a brand or you can get them on Amazon.  Really any ginger is great.
  • Gum-Mint gum or orange gum were my personal favorites.  But whatever sounds good to you works.

Stay Distracted

It really helps to do things that will take your mind off of how horrible you feel.  Watching a movie, reading a book, having a long phone conversation, or being active all help to take your focus off your nausea onto something else.  Playing solitaire on my iPad helped me from time to time during this phase.  However, my last two pregnancies were so bad that I'd shut myself up in the backroom (the door was closed to keep dinner smells out) and watch Hallmark Christmas movies on the really hard nights.  Nights were my worst time.  & watching a show or movie really did help to take the edge off.  Not something I'd typically recommend.  However, in times like this, you have to do what you can to survive.

& Don't Let Morning Sickness Break All of Your Traditions 

I really hope these tips help you or someone you know who is suffering from morning sickness.  It's never a fun stage of pregnancy, but it's so worth it in the end -- it's just hard to see that in the thick of it.

Stay tuned for more...Morning Sickness Tips & Tricks--Part 2 

Raising Clovers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to None of these statements have been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. The products discussed here are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease.

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