7 Tips to Survive Morning Sickness

When does morning sickness end?!? If you’re reading this in the midst of your own battle with morning sickness, I’m so sorry. Morning sickness sucks. But it does eventually go away! And in the meantime, there are things you can do to alleviate some of your misery.

Angry mommy-keeps-barfing selfies. This was around week 9, I think.

My own morning sickness began around week 6 this pregnancy. It raged on with a vengeance weeks 7 and 8, then continued but toned down a little from weeks 9 through 15. I had ZERO morning sickness my first two pregnancies, so feeling this bad this time caught me completely off-guard. I figured out a few things that helped me survive, though. Today I’m sharing my top 7 morning sickness game changers with you.

1. Gummies to the Rescue!

If you feel pukey, don’t even try to choke down regular prenatal vitamins. Just don’t. Your baby will be just fine if you back down to prenatal gummies. If you compare labels, you’ll see that the gummy vitamins contain pretty much everything your regular prenatal vitamin does minus iron. Now, iron is important, but it’s not more important than being able to keep food and its attendant calories and nutrients in your system. If prenatal vitamins are making your nausea and vomiting worse, switch to gummies right away. You can return to regular prenatal vitamins once you feel better. A few weeks of low iron is not going to adversely affect either you or your growing baby.

Target prenatal dummies

But Are Gummy Vitamins Worth the Cost?

I’m frugal enough that paying more for gummy vitamins annoyed me. But, I finally realized there was no point in paying for the regular ones since I mostly just threw them up. The regular prenatal vitamins that I currently take (I’m 29 weeks at the time of writing this post and my nausea is long gone) cost me $7.99 for a bottle of 100 tablets. That breaks down to about eight cents per pill.

The cheapest prenatal gummy vitamins I found during my first trimester were the ones pictured below. They’re the Target store brand variety and cost $7.99 for 90 gummies—which is actually 45 days’ worth of vitamins, since one dose is TWO gummies. That means you’re paying about 23 cents per dose. But assuming you are sick enough to need gummies for 12 weeks, that extra 15 cents per day adds up to only $12.60 total. YOU ARE WORTH $13.00!

Another great option is these VitaFusion prenatal gummies through Amazon. I didn’t use them personally, but I wish I’d Googled them back when I needed gummies because they’re even cheaper than the Target ones, at only $5.59 for a 90-count bottle (so a 45-day supply). And for both of these online options, if you’ve got either a Target RedCard or Amazon Prime, they’ll ship to you for free. Woot! (Side note: I don’t do store credit cards, period, but the RedCard has an awesome debit option that I use. I’ve saved like a bajillion dollars in the four years I’ve had it from the free shipping alone. Ditto with Prime—I shop enough online that both are well worth it.)

One last thought on vitamins: whether you take gummy or regular, take them at the time of day that you feel best. For most women, that’d be later in the day. However, what I had was more EVENING sickness than morning sickness (read: weeks 7 and 8 NOTHING stayed down after 3pm) so I made a point of taking my gummy vitamins midday, when my morning nausea had subsided but my worse evening nausea hadn’t yet begun. Figure out a schedule that works for you so that those vitamins can stay down as often as possible.

2. Eat Every 2 Hours

You may be rolling your eyes as you read this. Every TWO hours? I don’t want to eat EVER! It makes me sick! I know I felt this way. But around 2 weeks in of really awful vomiting every single evening, I decided to just try eating small, easy-on-the-tummy snacks every 2 hours around the clock. It made a HUGE difference for me.

Give it a try for a day or two. Amazingly, all the advice about this I read proved right for me. I really did feel better if my stomach was never empty but never overly full. I set alarms on my phone and simply ate when they went off, whether I wanted to or not. Force-feeding like this may sound unpleasant, but over time, I found that it kept my nausea manageable. Snacking every 2 hours got me to the point where I never felt awesome, but I was up and functioning and not throwing up. And that was a welcome change!

when does morning sickness end
I had this ultrasound in the midst of my morning sickness. Keeping this print taped on the fridge helped remind me why I was bothering to choke down snacks every two hours. This baby and me needed nutrition, and we needed it to stay put!

3. Don’t Stress Nutrition Too Much

This was bizarre, but I found myself throwing up every time I ate a dessert weeks 6ish through 14ish. Even a small amount of something like licorice or chocolate cake sent me running for the barf bowl. I hated that! But I finally accepted it and eased back on sugary foods temporarily. (But I’m now back to eating dessert 2x a week. Yay!)

Other foods that didn’t sound great included raw fruits and veggies (a fresh salad? eek!). I had a hard time not feeling guilty about it, but I finally made peace with the fact that my nutrition wasn’t going to be stellar during my first trimester. The one veggie that appealed to me was baby carrots, and I could do both fruit smoothies and applesauce as well. But that was about it. So for my first trimester, I ate a lot of carbs plus smoothies plus carrots. That stayed down, so that’s what I decided I would do until my nausea began to ease up.

My days consisted of a lot of Baked Lay’s plain potato chips, wheat toast, smoothies, and applesauce. The one other food that, oddly, sounded great most of the time Papa Murphy’s chicken garlic pizza. Go figure! So I ate a lot of those things, in small amounts, every two hours. If I’d looked at the calories or macros carefully during that time, I would have felt stressed and guilty because of all the carbs. So I didn’t. I made a conscious decision to just eat what worked for my first trimester or so without worrying about nutrition and numbers. And I’m glad I did it.

Nausea AND Weight Gain?

You unlucky duck. If you’re like me and only want to eat carbs first trimester, you may notice that in spite of how sick you feel, you’re gaining weight. Don’t feel guilty about this, and DON’T try to scale back on your calories or include foods that don’t sit well to try to counter the gain. Just embrace it. Getting food to stay down is a huge deal for you and your growing baby.

I know I’d hoped to not gain at all in my first trimester, but I did put on 5 pounds by week 14. And that was okay. It was the result of doing what was best for me and little Scarlett—and THAT, more than a number on the scale, is what healthy really means. It’s easier said than done, but don’t worry about your weight gain here. It’ll all even out later in pregnancy, and it’ll all come off post-baby. Nourishing your baby is far more important than the number on the scale.

4. Include Protein If You Can

You shouldn’t worry about nutrition too much, true. But you may find that making the effort to eat some protein is worth it simply because it might help your nausea.

For many who suffer from morning sickness, foods high in protein (like eggs and meat) may sound horrible. I know I was this way (with the weird exception of the chicken pizza). However, I found that eating protein did seem to help my nausea. How did I swing that? Instead of turning to meat for my protein, I discovered protein bars. I used to only eat protein bars immediately post-workout. But as I grappled with morning sickness, I found that eating a small protein bar once or twice a day as one of my snacks helped me feel a lot better to my stomach.

The kind I found that tasted great and were perfectly portioned for my diet of frequent snacks? Think Thin bars. Note that they come in a few varieties, but the type I liked were the littlest ones, the Lean Protein and Fiber Bars. These little guys contain only 150 calories apiece but pack in 10 grams of protein. I LOVE the Salted Caramel, Almond Brownie, and Cupcake Batter flavors. Yum!

The cheapest place to get these is at Target. Where I live, you can get a box of 5 bars for $5.99. Your next best option is larger packs sold through Amazon. But even these break down to be about $1.60/bar whereas snagging them in the 5-pack at Target is about $1.20/bar.

Another great way to sneak protein in without upsetting your guts? Smoothies. I would add a scoop of vanilla flavored protein into fruit smoothies and not be at all bothered by the taste or texture. A small  fruit + ice + almond milk + protein powder smoothie was my go-to breakfast through most of first trimester.

easy protein smoothie

5. Make Sleep a Priority

Another thing that I noticed made my nausea worse was lack of sleep. On nights when I hadn’t slept well, my stomach felt way worse. So I finally gave up my 5:30am workouts and slept in until 7:00am instead. I also often napped while my kids napped. This trade-off made me feel like a lazy bum, but it also meant far less time kneeling in front of the porcelain idol.

Do whatever it takes to get to bed early, sleep in later, or get a chance to rest in the middle of the day. I was sleeping 10+ total hours during that time, and I think my body needed it.

6. Tread Carefully with Exercise

I mentioned above that I stopped working out in the mornings. For my worst 2 or 3 weeks, workouts were completely out of the question. I didn’t want to deplete my system of even more calories by burning some off with exercise, plus I felt like crap. So at that point, the healthier choice for me was to completely bail on workouts.

However, once I was no longer puking, I did find that working out helped in two ways. It alleviated my nausea AND helped me work up more of an appetite. I found that I was able to eat my one real meal a day around noon, right after a light 30-minute workout. The rest of the day I mainly stuck to little snacks, but exercise was a big deal for me in getting one decent meal down a day.

when does morning sickness end
Me in my workout gear around Week 9, when I finally decided to try exercise again. I was so glad that I did.

So honestly consider how workouts make you feel. If they help, do something light each day! And if they don’t, let exercise go for a few weeks until you start feeling up to it. Like with your nutrition, your activity level may not be completely ideal in early pregnancy. And that is okay. Treat this time as survival mode. Do whatever you need to do to feel okay and help your baby grow. And don’t feel guilty about it.

7. Embrace Maternity Pants Early

Last of all: don’t let pride get in the way of your switching to maternity pants. You may physically fit into your regular jeans, but guess what? If you are constantly dealing with nausea, regular jeans feel awful! A nice elastic panel feels glorious compared to a standard button.

I jumped into maternity pants at week 7, even though I hadn’t gained any weight at all by that point. Why? Because they were comfy, that’s why. Don’t deny yourself of one of the biggest things you can do to make your guts a little happier. Anything even remotely tight on your stomach is only going to make your nausea worse. Even if you think it’s waaaaay too early, try switching to maternity pants and see how it feels.

You Are Going to Make It!

When does morning sickness end? Way after it should, if you ask me. Even one day of first-trimester puking and bleh-ness is way too long. You might not feel awesome for the next few weeks or even months, but hopefully, trying a few of the above strategies may take you from all-out misery to a place that’s manageable.

More than anything else, remember that this is ALL going to be worth it! Keep the end in your sights. Before you know it you will be snuggling a sweet little newborn. All this awfulness will be a distant memory that will pale in comparison to the joy it is to be a mom—not just of a tiny baby but of a child who is going to continue bringing you happiness your whole life long. So hang in there, warrior!

IMG_0948
Me ready to take my last baby, Aurora, home from the hospital. 🙂 You’ll reach this magical day before you know it!

 

 

Vegetarian Rainbow Pasta — Freezer Meal Friday

Hey! It’s Friday, which means I’ve got another great freezer recipe to post. I’m not vegetarian, but I don’t miss meat at all in dishes like this one. Vegetarian freezer meals aren’t easy to find, but here’s one that not only freezes beautifully but LOOKS beautiful too!

This isn’t my own original recipe. It’s a recipe my sister found somewhere and made for me once.  I liked it so much that I went home and copied it as best I could. 🙂 I also made up the name. Because who doesn’t love rainbows? Bright, colorful rainbow bell peppers are one of my all-time favorite healthy foods. Beauties like these are the starring ingredient in this delicious meatless dish.

beat binge eating

Ingredients

 

2 boxes whole wheat penne

2 jars of your favorite basic tomato pasta sauce

4 bell peppers in red, orange, or yellow (you may ramp up or scale back the veggie: noodle ratio as desired)

2 cups of baby carrots

1 large onion

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

olive oil

garlic salt

vegetarian freezer meals

 

Directions

  1. Prepare the penne according to directions on the package. Go al dente—for pasta freezer meals, overcooking your pasta may make it mushy when it thaws. As your penne is boiling, chop up the baby carrots, bell peppers, and onion into thin slices.
    vegetarian freezer meals
    I forgot to include these guys in the ingredient pic above. Sorry!

     

  2. Combine all the chopped veggies into a large bowl and toss with olive oil and a few generous sprinkles of garlic salt.

    chopped veggies in bowl

  3. Dump the veggies onto a cookie sheet or two lined with foil. Try to have the veggies lie out in one layer and touch each other as little as possible.

    bell peppers and onions
    I find that it takes me 2 large cookie sheets to get all my veggies nicely distributed and not piled on top of each other.
  4. Roast the veggies at 475 for 15–20 minutes or until you can see slight blackening and curling on the veggies. Roasting these vegetables brings out all their natural sweetness. 🙂
  5. Once veggies have roasted, put the veggies back into the large bowl you used before. Add in the cooked penne and dump your jars of pasta sauce over all of it. Mix and coat all the pasta and veggies with the red sauce.
  6. If you’re going to freeze this meal, go ahead and bag up your portions as desired. This recipe yields 12 adult-sized servings.  You can bag these up individually in sandwich bags or put them  into 2, 3, or 4 total larger freezer bags.  I tend to eat this one a lot as either a lunch or a dinner on nights when my husband is at school, so I went for individual bags this time.

    vegetarian rainbow pasta
    Whenever I freeze a meal in bags, I like to get them laid out as flat as possible on a cookie sheet and freeze them that way. This makes it easier to stack and store lots of pre-made meals in my freezer without running out of space.
  7. On the day you want to serve this meal, thaw the bag of pasta in the fridge. You can warm this straight from frozen, but I find the texture is best if you thaw the noodles out ahead of time (morning of is fine for individual baggies but the night before is best for a family-sized bag). Thawing also makes it easy for you to transfer the noodles from the freezer bag you used to an oven-safe dish.
  8. Cover your oven-safe pan full of veggie pasta with foil and warm through. Setting the oven to 350 and leaving the pan to warm for 30 minutes is perfect if you’ve pre-thawed your noodles; go longer if you are working straight from frozen.
  9. Once your noodles and veggies are warmed through, remove the foil and top your pasta with cheese. I do about 1/4 cup of mozzarella per serving. Turn the oven on broil for 2–5 minutes until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.

    vegetarian rainbow pasta freezer meal

On the Side

This pasta could be a complete meal, since it contains not just grains from the pasta but healthy fat from the olive oil as well as protein from the mozzarella. Dish up a big enough portion to stay full for a solid, balanced, one-dish meal with no sides required. However,  I often toss together a green salad as a side just to round the meal out. If you’re a runner, a roll or breadstick on the side would make this a great pre-long-run dinner full of healthy carbs.

Nutritional Info

This data comes from divvying up this big batch into 12 individual servings (or for my family, 4 big bags. I then serve up about 1/3 a bag apiece for my husband and I and split the remaining 1/3 between my 5-year-old and 2-year-old).

Calories: 471 | Fat: 14g | Carbs: 68g | Protein: 22g

So there you go! If you are looking for delicious vegetarian freezer meals, look no further than this great recipe. 🙂