Anyone who has suffered with morning sickness will tell you how absolutely awful it can be. It is a very odd time for women as the elation and excitement of being pregnant is often subdued by the intermittent or, often non-stop feelings of nausea, low energy, dizziness and vomiting. There is no magic pill that will take it away and none of natural remedies are guaranteed to work. It is something that you know you just have to put up with, in the knowledge that at some point (for most it is around 12 weeks, but for others it can continue longer) it will stop.
No one really understand what causes morning sickness, but it is believed to be triggered by a combination of hormonal, physical and emotional changes that take place when a woman becomes pregnant.
Some say it may be nature's way of preventing the mother from eating foods that are not helpful to her or her baby for example women completely go off things like tea, coffee, wine and, believe it or not, even chocolate! However in research studies, far more women went off foods that are recommended as being good for her baby such as fish, eggs or meat. This is particularly interesting as in a study comparing anthropological reports of 27 societies (i), the seven societies for which morning sickness was completely unknown rarely ate animal products, relying instead on corn, rice, tubers, and other plants.
Most websites and pregnancy resources will tell you that morning sickness is considered a normal part of pregnancy quoting that up to 80% of women (in our society) will get it. However there is considerable research, including a study that came out in Germany in January 2013, which has shown that psychosocial variables have a clear influence on incidents of morning sickness including levels of stress, social support and emotions relating to being pregnant (ii)
Stress in particular has been shown to increase the incidence and severity of morning sickness (iii, iv) as an Increase in cortisol (stress hormones) leads to highs and lows of blood sugar which bring on the bouts of morning sickness.
Another theory is that it may also be nature's way of getting a mum to slow down, to take better care of herself, and to begin her journey to becoming a mother by ensuring that she begins to be more aware of the effect her actions have on her baby.
Which ever view you hold, morning sickness is something that is very common, and in most cases is considered to be a positive element of pregnancy - statistically morning sickness reduces the likelihood of miscarriage, pre-term birth, low birth weight and perinatal death.
However, if you are suffering from morning sickness you probably do not really care what the theories are or why you have it - you probably just want ideas on how to reduce or get rid of it.
There are several natural ways to help reduce morning sickness including acupuncture, acupressure, taking ginger, peppermint, eating bland foods and grazing rather than eating big meals. Another way that has helped many women, including the Duchess of Cambridge is by using hypnotherapy.