Eating This Food Every Day Could Help Curb Nausea During Pregnancy, According to New Research
More than 50%—and even up to 80%—of people will experience morning sickness while pregnant, according to our sister brand Parents. And while research has shown that morning sickness can be a sign of a healthy pregnancy, that doesn't make nausea or vomiting anymore fun to deal with. We have a few tips for snacking to ease your morning sickness symptoms, and new research has indicated there's one kind of food that may be especially helpful.
A new study in Nutrients found that pregnant people who took probiotic capsules twice a day reduced the amount of nausea they experienced by 16%, and vomiting was reduced by 33%. Participants who experienced constipation also reported feeling some relief. Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria. Pregnancy elevates hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which can affect the gut microbiome, this study postulates. That's why researchers like Albert T. Liu, lead author for the study and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California-Davis, wanted to see if probiotics could help improve gut health and in turn reduce the symptoms associated with these hormones.
"Over the years, I've observed that probiotics can reduce nausea and vomiting and ease constipation. It's very encouraging that the study proved this to be true," Liu said in a media release. "Probiotics have also benefited many of my other patients who weren't in the study."
The study was small—it concerned just 32 subjects over 16 days—so more research will need to be done to support the study's findings. The good news is that it's pretty easy to add more probiotics to your diet, even without purchasing supplements. You'll find the good bacteria in fermented foods, like yogurt, kefir and kimchi, which means you can start your day with a probiotic-packed smoothie or satisfy your sweet tooth with frozen Greek yogurt bark. Plus, whole food options are typically more affordable (and more delicious) than supplements.
Because participants gave a stool sample at the start and end of the study, researchers also found that participants who vomited the least had the highest levels of vitamin E. Snacking on almonds or mango, which are high in vitamin E, will help you add a little more of that nutrient to your diet. (Or you could try some of our favorite almond recipes.)
"This research provides key insights about the impact of gut microbes on gastrointestinal function during pregnancy. Our gut microbiota explains why we are what we eat, and why bacteria-generated metabolites and products have a huge impact on our health," Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan, one of the study's authors, said. "They affect the gastrointestinal tract as well as skin health and neurological function."
Whether you're pregnant or cooking for someone who is, it can be tough to figure out exactly what and when to eat—but as long as you're avoiding the foods you know trigger nausea, taking a daily prenatal vitamin and aiming for meals that include nutrients like calcium, folate and iron, you'll be setting yourself up for success. And if morning sickness is a recurring problem, it might be worth adding in more probiotic-rich foods or a supplement—like Nature Made's Digestive Probiotics Gummies, which are USP-verified. Just be sure to consult your doctor before taking a new supplement.