Preventing morning sickness?

July 17, 2010 at 7:46 pm

[This post was written in 2010... don't want you to be confused by the pregnancy announcement. ;-)]

Before I jump into my latest possibly-crazy musings on morning sickness, I have an announcement first:

I’m sporting a 9-week pregnant baby bump!

My cycle had been wacky for a few months, so it didn’t phase me much when my period was 8 days late in June.  Even so, I thought I’d take a test (on Father’s Day)  just to verify to myself that my cycle had, indeed, taken on a new unpredictable personality.  I did not feel the least bit pregnant and had been experiencing none of my usual pregnancy symptoms, so I was completely shocked when I found myself looking at a positive test a few minutes later.  Huh?!  Really?

We hadn’t been preventing pregnancy for the previous four months, but we hadn’t really been trying or expecting to become pregnant either.  We had decided back in January to leave things up to God, so we’re putting our trust in the divine (or at least attempting to trust) that having our 4th baby two months before my spirited toddler turns two is exactly right for our family.  ETA mid-February 2011 (the perfect month to give birth in AZ, or so I’m told).
 As I mentioned before, I was experiencing none of my usual early pregnancy symptoms.  And as the days and weeks passed, my husband and I kept saying to each other, “Is this for real?”  It didn’t feel real because I didn’t feel pregnant.  Then I started getting up to pee in the wee hours of the morning, and some of the denial dissolved. But it wasn’t until midway through our family vacation (and far too much vacation-y junk food) that I finally said, “OK, it’s real,” because I started experiencing some mild nausea. Then, over the next week+, I started noticing a pattern.  It’s something I never would have noticed before (in my previous pregnancies) because it was only a couple of months ago that I was exposed to some information that proved crucial.

Packing in the Magnesium

Some of you may remember my magnesium craze back in April.  Because of what I learned, I became convinced that increasing my magnesium levels would greatly relieve the chronic scoliosis back pain I had endured for the previous six years.  So I started consuming lots of magnesium-rich foods, using magnesium supplements, and drinking magnesium-rich water.  I also purchased a high-power Blendtec blender so I could consume more magnesium-rich dark-leafy greens in smoothie form.  Then I spent late April and early May in a tumultuous and unexpected magnesium-green-smoothie healing crisis.  My body was detoxing like crazy.  I experienced dizziness, fatigue, nausea, crazy mood swings, and other detox symptoms.

In an effort to relieve those symptoms, I did a bit of research and wondered whether all the toxins getting dumped into my system were acidifying my body.  So I started reading about alkalinizing foods via the books Green for Life and The pH Miracle and quickly applied what I learned, reducing acidifying foods and incorporating more alkaline ones.  I also learned that sweating is a highly-effective way to help the body eliminate toxins, so I sought out opportunities to sweat to purge as many of those toxins out of my system as I could.  Eventually my healing crisis ended, and I began this new pregnancy with a cleaner, healthier, more alkaline body than I had had probably since childhood.

Which brings me to my latest possibly-crazy theory about morning sickness. First a disclaimer: I have it easy when it comes to pregnancy nausea, in general.  I’m one of the lucky ones.  So I have no idea whether my experience is even applicable to women experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum, but I want to share what I have discovered just in case it might possibly bring relief to other women.

Alkalinizing

While on vacation, I began slacking nutritionally–eating a lot more sugar and fast food and no longer consuming alkalinizing smoothies or keeping up with my magnesium intake.  Then the nausea started kicking-in… possibly a coincidence.  One particular evening, we had beef for dinner followed by a big bowl of fudge-topped ice cream.  For the first time (excepting the morning I woke up with food poisoning), I woke up nauseous.  So I ate a bowl of cereal.  Then I met my sister at my grandma’s house and she made me french toast out of cinnamon swirl bread, topped with a very rich buttery syrup with pork sausage links on the side.  A few hours later I experienced some of the worst pregnancy nausea I have ever felt.  And there was this little voice in the back of my mind saying, “Alkalinize.”  My husband and I left the house when I could no longer bear the smell of beef cooking in the kitchen, and we grabbed some lunch (tacos).  Then I insisted we go to the grocery store.  My body was screaming, “Vegetables and fruit!”

When we got into the produce section, my body was on autopilot.  First:  Cucumbers!!!  Then I started literally salivating at the celery.  Spinach, carrots, and lemons!  Oh wow my body wanted lemons.  On the flip side, nearly everything else in the grocery store (processed foods) looked absolutely revolting to me.  When we got back to my grandma’s house, I squeezed an entire lemon into a glass of water and drank it.  Soon afterward, I single-handedly ate an entire cucumber, and within 30 minutes or so, the nausea was gone.  I topped it off with two slices of watermelon, and I felt great again.

That’s when the cogs and wheels in my head started spinning. 

All that meat and sugar and pork created a highly acidic environment in my body.  Meat is highly acidifying, but pork is one of the most acidifying meats you can consume.  Oops.  Cucumbers, lemons, and watermelon are alkalinizing.  Once they entered my system, my body was back into the proper pH balance again.

Most of what we hear about morning sickness is that it’s normal and even healthy for pregnant women.  We’re given lots of tips for treating it’s discomforts–eating small, frequent meals, ginger, medication, etc.  But what if morning sickness could be prevented or eliminated?  In early pregnancy, a mother’s body is undergoing enormous changes.  Her stores of vital minerals and nutrients (such as magnesium) are being sacrificed for her baby’s first crucial weeks of development.  As alkalinizing minerals become depleted, perhaps her body is tipped into the acidic range of the pH scale?  For women who start pregnancy with already acidic bodies, this could be even more pronounced and uncomfortable.  Could morning sickness be stemming from that acidic environment?  Possibly?  It would be really cool to see some high quality studies asking these questions.

In the meantime, it couldn’t hurt to try, right?  Ever since I had this epiphany, whenever I feel the nausea creeping up, I quickly eat or drink something alkalinizing, and so far it has worked to eliminate the nausea without fail.  If it has worked for me, maybe it could work for other women too?

Here are my favorite alkalinizing food/beverage choices:

Cucumbers (extremely alkalinizing), lemons and limes (acidic in nature, but actually have an alkalinizing effect on the body), watermelon, unripe bananas, dark leafy greens, unsweetened coconut water, carrots, celery, almonds, alkaline spring water, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and avocado.

Very acidifying foods to avoid or reduce:

Alcohol, pork, beef, coffee, refined sugars and carbs, aged cheeses, vinegar, artificial sweeteners, and chocolate.

See The pH Miracle for more complete lists of alkalinizing and acidifying foods. And here’s a helpful link with more alkalinizing tips. I also found quite a few websites claiming that alkaline water can eliminate morning sickness–while their sources may or may not be reputable, I found it intriguing nonetheless.

So far this has been the easiest first trimester of my life.  I suspect the detoxing, magnesium-optimizing, and alkalinizing I did prior to becoming pregnant played a big role.  I’ve also been running, and I suspect that eliminating toxins through my sweat has also helped bring my body into the proper pH balance.  Some pesticides and chemicals are highly acidifying, and it’s my understanding that some of those chemicals can only leave the body through the sweat glands.

Perhaps women who are susceptible to severe morning sickness might benefit from alkalinizing their bodies prior to pregnancy and continuing to maintain that alkaline environment?  It may be hard to alkalinize after the pregnancy has already begun since it’s difficult to keep foods and liquids down while experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum–which makes consuming alkaline foods/beverages next to impossible.

Do you think there’s some truth to this?  I’d love to hear from you if you find success reducing your pregnancy nausea with alkaline foods.

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