Some have found herbal teas to be helpful, however, like drugs, most herbal teas are made from plants and some caution is necessary. The following list of herbal teas are not known to cause birth defects: ginger, peppermint, red/black raspberry, spearmint, slippery elm, and dandelion. Chamomile must be taken with caution because of possible allergic reactions. Fennel and anise tea have also been mentioned, but I'm not sure about their safety in pregnancy.
Ginger deserves extra honorable mention as a natural antiemetic. Used in the Orient for centuries, it improves production and secretion of bile from the liver and gall bladder, improves gastrointestinal motility, and stimulates digestion. Ginger tea can be made by grating the fresh root (found in the produce section at almost any grocery store), skin and all, until you have two Tablespoons of the mushy, lemony smelling stuff. Next, boil 4 Cups of water. Finally, steep the 2 Tablespoons of fresh, grated ginger in it, and then pour it through a strainer. You can add honey and/or lemon to make the taste more bearable, because let me tell you, it is NASTY stuff. Interestingly, if I try to drink it when not pregnant it tastes so gross it's almost enough to MAKE me sick. But when I'm sick from pregnancy, it seems to make me feel a bit better - sometimes. Prepare yourself, the stuff has fire in it and burns all the way down, BUT the burn replaces the nausea in some instances and is well worth it... IF you can tolerate it. People have come to me in the past asking whether they could take powdered ginger root instead of the foul tasting brew. I advise against this, because the powdered root contains a strong ingredient called thomboxane synthesase inhibitor, which may affect testosterone receptor binding. Quite simply, it might affect the baby. I urge you to check with your doctor before using ginger in powder form.
Acupressure or Shiatsu is a form of therapeutic massage in which pressure is applied with thumbs and palms to those areas of the body used in acupunture. In this, pressure is applied at the P6 (Nei Kuan) point which is located on the inner aspect of the wrists, just proximal to the flexor crease (basically 3 fingerbreadths up from the wrist joint [toward the elbow] on the inner part of the arm). The theory is that stimulation increases endorphines. This is the same principle behind Sea Bands, which are basically wrist sweat bands with plastic buttons on the inner side. The only uncomfortable side effects of Sea Bands are that constant pressure can cause some numbness in the fingers and redness under the button; they are tight and can be uncomfortable which, in itself, can aggrivate nausea in an hyperemetic woman. Sea Bands can be purchased at drug stores and travel agencies, as they are mostly used by people who would rather not use dramamine or other motion sickness inhibiting drugs.
When I initially began to notice the nausea/vomiting was getting bad in my first pregnancy, I went to the local health food store in order to find a natural aid. The naturopath on duty brought down a huge book off the shelf and, after some deliberation, handed me a small bottle of tiny white, pellet-like pills labeled "sepia". I read about it in the book and was quite surprised to find that the pills were basically made out of squid1s ink. I bought the bottle (under $3) and took it to my doctor who refused to approve the use of the drug. She said that she had never studied it and had no knowledge of its interaction with other drugs such as phenergan and reglan, so I didn1t take it and can't comment on its efficacy. Perhaps one of you has had it and will write me!
Aromatherapy is based on the theory that sniffing certain aromas can affect the emotional/physical state of the sniffer. I1m sure you1ve all seen the tiny bottles of aromatic oils which claim to invigorate, energize, clarify, calm, relax, etc. For our purposes here, two scents have been recommended the most, and they are: 1) fresh lemon and 2) peppermint oil. It is not known how these scents work or even confirmed that they actually do, though some have claimed great relief from breathing them in. I have read about women who have carried around a cut lemon in a plastic baggie, or even on a rope around their neck, and when they got nauseated they just sniffed the lemon for comfort. I am guessing that the lemon acts as a sort of 3white scent2 which blocks out all other smells and can, therefore, stave off a spell that would have resulted from being subject to some other particularly obnoxious scent wafting around.
Peppermint oil is the second of the oils I mentioned, and I suppose it works on the same principle as fresh lemon. It must be noted that peppermint oil taken internally may cause liver problems and will nullify the effects of any other homeopathic you might be taking, so it1s for smelling only.
To tell you the truth, I really can't understand the purpose of aromatherapy for use in the treatment of h.g. I say this because h.g. is, more often than not, accompanied by hyperolfaction which contributes to h.g. Hyperolfaction is described as a very heightened sense of smell. The sense is so heightened that it becomes disturbing. Smells that will make one vomit violently are often times scents that no one else can detect or can barely detect. Unfortunately, this reinforces the mental case already against women with h.g. Honestly, women with hyperolfaction really DO have an absurdly heightened sense of smell which is attributed to increased vascularity in the respiratory tract caused by the influence of our dear old friend estrogen.
No one knows why some women suffer from hyperolfaction, but theories exist. Some hypothesize that long, long ago pregnant women needed to be able to smell dangerous animals coming from long distances since fleeing with a huge belly slows one down. Detecting animals from far distances would give a woman a head start. Another theory of why hyperolfaction exists is that it may prompt one to seek a cleaner, quieter, more temperate environment. Finally, I have also heard theories that hyperolfaction exists in order to detect spoiled food so that it won't be ingested. Personally, only the first one really sounds interesting to me. It would explain why everyone doesn't have it; it would be a vestigial (left over) thing from prehistoric times that not all of us have evolved away from yet. Really, I don't know that any of these explanations hold very much water.
Hyperolfaction is enough to precipitate some pretty horrible vomiting spells, so I simply can not imagine shoving something scented, no matter what the scent, under your nose while you're that sick. Just to prove this to myself I tried it while suffering from hyperolfaction and it only made things worse. When I get that way I don't want to smell ANYTHING much less lemon and/or peppermint. I only mention aromatherapy here because it has been cited in valid, medical literature regarding h.g. and seems to have worked for some.
For those who are especially opposed to i.v. treatment there is another option, albeit only for the brave. Of course, I'm refering to the Pedialyte & water enema. If you can stand being in an hyperemetic state, having a tube place up your bum and filling up with warm fluid in that manner then by all means, it's worth a try! I have been assured that this works to hydrate and replace electrolytes and that this method was used before the invention of i.v. hydration. For me, I'm just a very anti-anal person to begin with. I don't want anything up there when I'm not sick - not to mention being terribly sick. But believe me, if it weren't for my own personal prejudices against anything going up my bum, I'd probably prefer it to i.v. hydration. If you can stomach it then I say go for it!
If anyone has any other information on these or other more natural methods of relief then please email me, and we'll see about adding it to the page. Feedback is very important!
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