During my first trimester, only a few select activities appealed: watching the Great British Bake Off, napping, and chugging liter bottles of ginger ale to ease my morning sickness. And then napping some more. I lost interest in all of my favorite foods and made a near-permanent indention on our couch.
So when the time came to take a 10-day hiking vacation, which I normally would have been thrilled about, I considered canceling altogether. But with the help of copious internet research, pro tips from other moms, and some serious trial and error, I came up with a strategy for a happy tummy and a totally survivable—even fun!—vacation. And no surprise, these morning sickness tips carried me through the rest of the trimester too. Life savers!
1. Eat breakfast in bed.
You don’t have to ask me twice. I start with this tip because it’s my absolute favorite. When I first got pregnant, I was hearing so many things that I didn’t want to hear (no booze, no sushi, eat for one instead of two), that this tip made my day, and it ended up making my trip as well.
I didn’t ever convince my husband to actually serve me breakfast in bed—as in delivered on a tray with a freshly picked daisy and a steaming teapot—but I still enjoyed this little indulgence. I usually ate a cracker or cookie, like these perfectly simple Gingersnap Cookies at Kristine In Between, and it made a huge difference when my feet hit the ground.
2. Stay hydrated.
I know that this one sounds obvious, but when I was fighting serious nausea, I didn’t even realize how little liquid I was consuming. Which of course made me more nauseated. Vicious cycle.
I ended up setting water goals for myself by filling a large water bottle and giving myself a fixed amount of time in which to drink it. I made myself drink more if I was hiking in the heat and less if I was sitting around the lodge. Plus, I splurged on sugary drinks that I normally try to avoid like Sprite and ginger ale—anything to get me exciting about consuming large amounts of fluids. Carbonation itself can help with nausea, too, so say yes to the occasional soda if that helps.
3. Ginger is your friend.
Like, your BFF. Eat it candied, drink it in ginger ale, bake it into cookies: Just find a way to get this soothing wonder root into your upset tummy ASAP. I ended up finding a (non-alcoholic) ginger beer with a stronger ginger flavor that helped me get through several meals. When home, I made a big pot of this Lemon Ginger Infusion at One Hungry Mama and sipped on it throughout the day, which is great because lemon is another nausea godsend.
4. Eat bland food and carbs.
Your new favorite words: “I’ll take the bread basket.” Give yourself permission to eat plenty of bland, simple carbs. Your doctor will actually approve this time. Even when I didn’t feel great, I loved getting to binge on bread, biscuits, scones, etc. Plus, it helped me stay on track with my weight gain despite the fact I wasn’t eating much overall.
5. Don’t forget the protein too!
For me, carbs and bland food both appealed and helped with my morning sickness, but protein helped too. Though harder to eat with a smile once the nausea set it, I’d feel so much better when I could get down a piece of cheese, a few nuts, or a hard boiled egg. And I’m not the only one for whom this is true: A recent study found that many women report that foods high in protein help ease tummy issues related to pregnancy, probably because it helps ward off low blood sugar, a cause of nausea. And remember that broth counts—that’s super easy to eat when feeling ill!
6. Make a snack schedule.
Because I had no appetite, I skipped tons of meals the first week that I had morning sickness. Which, just like skimping on liquids, actually made me feel worse. So for the trip I packed loads of saltines and peanut butter crackers and asked the family to remind me (or force me) to eat every couple of hours, even if I didn’t feel like it. I might have snapped at them a few times, but in the end, it helped my nausea immensely. Which in turn led to better group harmony. Worth it.
7. Preggie pops for the win.
I decided to test these out before the big trip, but I was so skeptical. Could I really manage flavors like Green Apple and Sour Raspberry when I’d eaten nothing but biscuits for days? It turns out that I could! These Preggie Pop Drops actually tasted quite good and were super soothing on my stomach.
I bought three packs because I was so afraid of running out of them on my trip, and sucked on them consistently throughout the plane ride and on longer drives. These are game changers, honestly!