Tips for Surviving Pregnancy Nausea

I am almost 14 weeks pregnant, due in early May 2014!  I’ve been struggling with nausea since the 5th week, but it’s finally, gradually beginning to abate.  Now that I’ve gotten through this phase of pregnancy two-and-a-half times (my second pregnancy died at 7 weeks; the only good thing about that was ending the queasiness!) I feel qualified to share some advice on how to cope with the horrible experience of feeling sick to your stomach for at least part of every day for two months straight.

Every mother is different.  Every pregnancy is different, even for the same mother; some details of my experience were different each time.  But I hope that my tips will give you at least a few helpful ideas.

The most important thing to know is that almost everything you know about how to react to queasy feelings and vomiting is wrong.  Probably most of your experiences with stomach upheaval have been caused by illnesses or food poisoning.  In those circumstances, you want to get the bad stuff out of your stomach and then leave it empty so it can rest; when you start eating again, you need to choose very simple, quickly digested foods; you shouldn’t eat more of the food that made you sick.  This is all very wise when your queasiness is caused by germs.  But when it’s caused by pregnancy, these behaviors will make it worse or just won’t help.  In fact, when you’re pregnant, a queasy feeling usually means you’re hungry.  It took me weeks to learn this in my first pregnancy, and I didn’t feel hunger that felt like hunger until about the sixth month.

Eat like a hobbit.  Start by putting some kind of nourishment–even if it’s only a few bites–into your mouth every hour while awake.  Within a couple of weeks, you’ll learn at which times of day you can eat larger amounts less frequently.  Develop a routine of frequent meals and snacks, adjusting as you find out what works best for you.  This is my basic routine:

  • First Breakfast.  Eat something before you even get out of bed.  A lot of pregnancy books recommend saltine crackers or pretzels for this purpose.  However, these starchy foods are difficult to eat if your mouth is dry, and in my second and third pregnancies I got a horrible aftertaste from all bread-type foods.  (My mother told me this is an amylase reaction.  I’m apparently just more grossed-out by the sweet taste of it when pregnant.)  Almonds are really good for easy eating in the dark, triggering just enough saliva to help you swallow them, and providing some protein which may settle your stomach better than simple carbs.  I bought organic, steam-pasteurized almonds in bulk at the food co-op.
  • Second Breakfast.  As soon as you get up, eat a smallish portion of an easily digestible food.  My favorites are organic cornflakes with milk, or warmed-up leftover rice with butter and either seaweed sprinkles or nutritional yeast flakes.  (B vitamins, found in both nutritional yeast and seaweed, may help with nausea.)
  • Elevensies.  After you’ve been up and about for a while, eating feels more feasible.  Do not make yourself wait until lunchtime.  Don’t even wait until 11:00 if you feel hungry/queasy earlier!  Try to get in some significant protein and/or fat at this point.  Some days I’ve ended up walking Nicholas to school and then going back home for my “elevensies” at about 8:30 before I go to work.  Some things I like to eat at this point are yogurt, scrambled eggs with toast, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  • Lunch.  By this point in the day, I’m usually able to eat much the same kind of thing I would when not pregnant, but I have to be careful not to eat too much at once.  If going out to lunch, bring a container to save leftovers.
  • Tea-time.  Eat at some point during the afternoon.  It’s especially crucial if you work outside the home and go home at dinnertime–and even more crucial if you don’t have a Daniel making dinner ready around the time you get home, like I do–that you don’t ignore late-afternoon hunger thinking you’ll soon be eating dinner.  It’s not “soon” enough when you have an embryo draining away your nutrients!  Especially if there is any delay in getting home, you can get dangerously hungry, and that often leads to throwing up the first thing you eat.  Practice pre-emptive snacking!
  • Dinner.  Like lunch, this should be a normal meal, but don’t over-eat.
  • Nighttime Snack.  I’m often surprised at how quickly my dinner seems to disappear.  Two to three hours later, I can eat another full meal!  This should be something nourishing, not dessert.  If you do feel like eating sweets, also eat some protein that will digest more slowly.  This prevents you from running out of calories so completely during the night.

– Read more…>

A Laundry Line-Drying System that Will Work for YOU!

Have you been wishing you could save money, conserve resources, and make your clothes last longer by line-drying your laundry instead of machine-drying it–but you just can’t figure out how to fit a clothesline into your home configuration and weekly routine?  I am here to help!  My new guest post at Live Renewed gives you 16 questions to consider and detailed suggestions about the line-drying options that will work best for your particular situation.  Check it out!

Choosing a Clothesline that Works for You

Seeking more guidance in the art of line-drying laundry?  Here are my other articles on the subject:

Visit Waste Not Want Not Wednesday for other ways to conserve resources!  Visit Works-for-Me Wednesday to learn about hundreds of things that work for other writers!  Check out the Laundry Tips Linkup at Mums Make Lists!

Help Save the Animals!

My eight-year-old Nicholas created this picture that he wants you to share everywhere and put in a place where you will see it often. He wants you to think, every time you see it, about what you can do to help animals of all kinds to be safe in this world we share.

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How can you help save the animals? Here are just a few ideas:

  • When you could choose instant garbage or wash a dish instead, think about animals whose trees were cut down to make paper plates, animals whose prairie burrows were destroyed to drill oil wells so people could make more plastic, animals whose air was ruined by smoke from factories. Every time you reuse something instead of choosing a throwaway thing, you are helping to slow down the process of turning animals’ habitats into garbage.
  • Buy things that are made near where you live, instead of things that travel from the other side of the world in big ships. Think of the animals who live in the ocean where the ships leak poisonous oil. Think of the whales who get lost or can’t find food because the noise of ships blocks their special singing.
  • Pick up trash outdoors. Never throw trash on the ground! Think of the animals who get hurt by trash that gets twisted around them, chokes them, or puts bad chemicals in their drinking water.
  • Walk, bike, or take public transit whenever you can. Think about the animals who drink water that runs off pavement with yucky car drips on it, the animals who breathe air filled with car exhaust, the animals who live in rubber trees that are cut down to make tires. Every time you leave the car at home makes those problems a little bit less.
  • Have a birthday party where everybody gives money to an organization that helps animals, instead of giving you a gift. Or sell your old stuff to make money that you donate–while also helping your stuff find new users so that they don’t have to buy newly-made stuff.
  • Eat less meat and other animal foods. When you do eat them, buy food from animals who lived healthy lives. Spend a moment thinking about the animal who died, or gave up its milk or eggs, so that you could eat.

Nicholas was inspired by a recent documentary which showed that leopards are living wild in the city of Nairobi because their habitats have been destroyed. I was just fascinated by the idea that the animal knocking over your garbage cans in the alley could be a leopard! But Nicholas got very sad and upset. He had trouble falling asleep that night because he was crying about the leopards who just need space to live and all the other animals who face this problem around the world. He sobbed, “What can I do, Mama? How can I help save the animals?”

I told him the things above. I reminded him that every little bit counts and that all the little bits add up. I encouraged him to think of the animals when he is tempted to make a harmful decision.

The next day, he decided he needed to do something to help other people remember to think of the animals. He drew the picture and asked me to make copies that he could hang on telephone poles. I reminded him that paper comes from trees and that posters on poles last only a few days and often become litter. But on the Internet, images and ideas can spread very quickly all around the world.

Please share this image everywhere! Please link to this article! Please help save the animals! You can share more ideas for helping animals in the comments.

My son’s taking action to help the animals works for me! Visit Waste Not Want Not Wednesday for more ideas to use resources wisely so more creatures can share them. Visit Mom’s Library for lots more educational ideas for kids.

Ben’s Hot Chocolate

Autumn is here, and the hot chocolate season is beginning!  This is a guest post by Ben Stallings (brother of ‘Becca) , who is a permaculture gardener, home energy efficiency auditor, and owner of a curbside recycling business in Kansas and also happens to have a scrumptious hot chocolate recipe.

For most of my life, I’ve been making hot chocolate by melting chocolate chips in milk. It’s come to my attention that most people don’t do this, even though many people prefer the taste of hot chocolate made this way to the stuff from the packets, so I’d like to share my recipe, if you can call it that. But first, some history…

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at my best friend’s house, and I paid close attention to how his mother did things differently than my own mother did. One day we came in from playing in the snow, and I noticed that she was making us hot chocolate by melting chocolate chips in a pan of milk on the stove. (This required low heat and a lot of whisking, so I had plenty of time to notice what she was doing.) It was the best hot chocolate I’d ever had, so when I got home I told Mom about it. She made her own cocoa mix from powdered milk, sugar, and cocoa powder. Mom, bless her heart, decided to ask my friend’s mother for the recipe although I insisted it was just chocolate and milk. I can only guess that my friend’s mother was self-conscious about not using a commercial mix — there was a substantial socioeconomic difference between our families — because she denied the whole thing and said she had made it from a mix!

Anyhow, a few years later when we got a microwave oven, I began experimenting with melting chocolate chips in mugs of milk in the microwave. I christened it “Chocolate Abomination” because it seemed so decadent compared to mixing powder in hot water, but it’s really not that rich Read more…