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Negotiating Nausea

If passing the nearest Starbucks is all it takes to turn you green, you won't be surprised to hear the latest news about morning sickness. Recent research suggests that it's connected to a heightened sense of smell. "Pregnant women have told us for ages that certain smells, such as perfume, cigarette smoke, or meat can make them nauseous," says researcher LeRoy Heinrichs, M.D., Ph.D, professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. "It tends to be linked to the increased estrogen in their bodies. During ovulation, women are more sensitive to smell as well." Aside from walking on the other side of the street, here a few remedies that are worth trying.

  • Choose very fresh foods. Don't let fruit get too ripe and steer clear of milk that is close to its expiration date.
  • Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. Don't let your stomach get too full or too empty. Both can make you feel sick.
  • Stick to starchy foods. Dry crackers and pretzels can help settle a queasy stomach.
  • Avoid rich, fried, or fatty foods. "They're filled with oils that can trigger the nervous system," Dr. Heinrichs says.
  • Keep your body hydrated by sipping fluids, particularly if you've been vomiting. "Try making popsicles out of fruit juice," suggests Margie Profet, author of Pregnancy Sickness (Perseus). "When something is really cold, it doesn't smell as strong."
  • Prenatal vitamins can trigger nausea in some women. If you suspect this is the case, talk to your doctor who can suggest alternatives.
  • The same acupressure treatments that ease motion sickness (such as wristbands) can help during pregnancy.