Nausea in the First Trimester - What worked for me

 Legs supported by a bolster for increased circulation and to release the lower back.

Legs supported by a bolster for increased circulation and to release the lower back.

For me, that faint second line appearing on the test one early morning (on my test two lines meant a positive result) carried the message of exhilaration. I was pregnant! It was really early though, I was only four or five weeks but the subsequent mornings that second line got more and more clear. 

Around week six I started to get heavily nauseous, especially in the mornings. I tried every trick of the book. Crackers upon waking and before leaving bed each morning. The nausea remained and only left hard crumbs on the sheets (to my husband's frustration). Any type of ginger: ginger tea, ginger smoothie, ginger sweets. Nothing worked. Some days when the nausea was really bad I stayed in bed, read books, watched TV, and slept, which for me - only made the nausea more intense. I looked for Ayurvedic remedies and read that many recommended a tablespoon of Shatavari in warm milk in the evenings. Tried and failed. My body responded with heavy nausea and I vomited one hour later. I started to feel desperate.

As the weeks went by I started to get more used to the feeling of being nauseous. This was a big realization for me. I noticed that the more I resisted the nausea, the worse it became. Despite the physically frustrating feeling, I decided that the nausea was a good sign. A sign of a healthy pregnancy (I found some stats that nausea reduced the risk of miscarriage). I didn't know if it was true, but I held on to it.

While the nausea was still the worst in the morning, I let go of some of my early morning classes. I soon noticed getting plenty of sleep helped a lot. I also noticed that getting out of the house was an important step. When I had a distraction from the nausea, the worst of it disappeared, at least for an hour so. I got into the rhythm of always eating the last thing before leaving the house and always keeping snacks on hand. I filled my bag with treats made with nuts and dried fruit, apple slices, carrot sticks, hard-boiled eggs. Whatever I craved that day. 

While I usually stay away from dairy I noticed some goat cheese, goat yogurt and labne (kefir) helped soothe the worst acidity that could build up. Most of all, I craved carbs such as pasta, rice, bread and fruit. I made sure to satisfy my cravings the best I could.

At my first meeting with my midwife in week 9 she prescribed me Vitamin B6 and encouraged me to eat some leafy greens every day. It's probably the last thing you want right now she said with a smile. She was so right. Apparently, the greens contain important vitamins that can help combat the nausea. I tried with rocket salad dressed with olive oil, introduced some kale salad and spinach smoothies. After eating so many plain carbs for weeks, it felt good to reintroduce some fresh food into my diet

 
 Listen to your cravings - Carbs helped me to combat nausea

Listen to your cravings - Carbs helped me to combat nausea

 

Here's list of what did and didn't work for my nausea

What didn't work
Ginger
Crackers before leaving bed in the morning
Shatavari

What made it worse
Fatty, oily food
Trips with the car (unless I was behind the wheel)
Staying in bed all day

What did work for me
Spending time with good friends
Walks in fresh air
Plenty of sleep
Eating every two hours (Not a little snack but until satisfied)
Plenty of carbs (rice, pasta, bread, crackerbread)
Introducing some dairy (yogurt and cheeses - pasteurized of course)  
Deep breathing exercises
Hip opening yoga poses (Pigeon and Butterfly pose)
Always keeping a snack in my bag
Supplementing vitamin B6 (prescribed by my midwife)

I taught my classes as usual but my home practice changed dramatically. I stopped all flow based practice and started to incorporate Restorative Yoga. Below you can find some examples of some of the few poses I enjoyed in the first trimester. It helped me a great deal to combat my anxiety and worry of the early pregnancy.

In these postures, my focus was mainly on the breath to become more relaxed, grounded and present.  

 Restorative Pigeon pose with two bolsters to open the hips and encourage an inward focus.

Restorative Pigeon pose with two bolsters to open the hips and encourage an inward focus.

 Restorative Twist with bolster for grounding and relaxation.

Restorative Twist with bolster for grounding and relaxation.