Morning Sickness- Is it unavoidable?
June 7, 2018
Some Logical Questions
Mention morning sickness and most people think that it just comes with the territory of being pregnant, and with 70-80% of women in the US experiencing symptoms, you might tend to agree that it is just good luck if you don’t have it. Some women even end up hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea and dehydration). If you think about it, rationally, it does not makes sense. How could we have been so successful as a species if 75% females spend a good deal of pregnancy being too sick to eat anything but saltines (which only existed recently)? That rational thought has led to research linking morning sickness to nutritional deficiencies.
What the Research Says:
Research has shown that the two most common nutrients that are lacking and result in morning sickness are magnesium and vitamin B6. But wait, you already take a multivitamin! Sorry, not enough in there to do it. Magnesium intake in the US has decreased from 500mg a day in 1900 to about 175 a day now. The current RDA for magnesium is set at 320-420mg a day, most of us are only getting about half of that. Many experts also feel that the RDA is too low, and should be set 500-750mg a day. A French study found that 80% of women were magnesium deficient.* Reports by the World Health Organization have estimated that 75% of Americans do not meet the requirements for Magnesium.* Additionally, blood tests for magnesium levels do not give a true picture of the situation. According to the Journal of the American college of Nutrition, as many as 50% of deficiencies go untreated due to errors in reading reports.*
Rates of B6 deficiencies have been shown as high as 40% for women aged 21-44 in the US* Low rates of B6 are associated with preeclampsia, low birth weight, miscarriage, difficulty conceiving, morning sickness, and more.
How To Help:
The good news is that morning sickness can be prevented, or at least reduced, by getting your nutritional status up to par before you even get pregnant. Why before pregnancy? Well, if you wait until you become nauseous, you are not likely to be able to make the dietary additions that would relieve your symptoms. If you are already pregnant, magnesium can be absorbed through the skin in topical applications. B6 supplements are available if you cannot keep food down.
Great Sources of Magnesium:
• Swiss Chard
• Dark Chocolate (Hey! Great news!)
• Black Beans
Great Ways to Get Your B6:
• Turkey Breast
• Grass Fed Beef
• Pinto Beans
*Plasma pyridoxal 5′-phosphate in the US population: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2004.
Morris MS, Picciano MF, Jacques PF, Selhub J
Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May.