Everyone and every pregnancy is different when it comes to upset tummies—some of you might be queasy off and on for a few hours, while others wonder why it isn’t called “all day sickness?!” A lucky 24% of women don’t get this symptom at all and then they might worry why they aren’t having this symptom!
General Tips for Morning Sickness in Pregnancy
Here’s a few ways I’ve found helpful to deal with nausea.
Eat smaller meals and snacks more frequently, rather than 3 big meals. Try to eat whole foods but if all you can stomach are some starchy carbs, go with it and hopefully it won’t last more than a few weeks! Potatoes are great for many women.
Eat first thing. If mornings are worse for you, keeping snacks (like plain crackers) by your bed to eat first thing in the morning before even getting up can help! Also eating protein before bed that takes longer to digest can help.
Don’t let yourself get hungry! Eat before you’re hungry, even if it’s a small snack.
Eat mild foods that are more tolerable for your body. Spicy, fatty, or heavy foods may not sit as well, and take longer to digest. I love sandwiching protein in between really bland carbs like a croissant or tortilla.
Stay hydrated. Lots of water is vital during the entire pregnancy, but sip it often throughout the day rather than chugging huge amounts at a time. Keep a water bottle nearby at work, in your car, and at your nightstand. Consider adding electrolytes as well.
Experiment with your vitamins. Sometimes prenatal vitamins can affect queasiness so pay attention to whether you feel worse after you take yours and experiment with different prenatal vitamins if necessary. Try taking your vitamin right before bed rather than first thing in the morning, and see if it helps.
Exercise. It sounds counter-intuitive, but sometimes a walk outside can do wonders. Breathing fresh air, enjoying the sunshine and having a good time can help take your mind off of your tummy and lift your nausea.
Avoid Stress. I know, it’s easier said than done but aside from hormonal changes, stress/emotions are another potential cause for nausea.
Sea Bands: many women swear by these and I did have success with them on a road trip when I was extra queasy.
Essential oils—these can be a great additional tool in your toolbox when dealing with an unsettled tummy during pregnancy. Read on to learn more!
Two things to consider before using essential oils
Not every oil works the same for everyone
Essential oils are a great supplemental option to your wellness routine during pregnancy and if you’ve suffered from pregnancy induced digestive troubles or “morning sickness” then you know that you are likely willing to try anything to help ease the symptoms. Of course, essential oils are not a replacement for medical care and should be used as a complement to the care you receive from your doctor or midwife. If you are experiencing extreme nausea and vomiting you definitely need to let your care provider know.
Always consult your care provider
During pregnancy, it’s always a good idea to run any concerns by your care provider. You can also seek the advice of an aromatherapist or a midwife or doula that have extensive experience using essential oils with pregnant women.
8 essential oils for queasiness in pregnancy
Lemon essential oil, like all citrus oils, is very uplifting and really helpful for women suffering from aversions to smell during pregnancy. Simple open a bottle of lemon and take some deep breaths or try using Lemon (and Citrus Fresh) in your water. Young Living’s vitality oils are safe to ingest and just one drop in your water can make a refreshing drink when it’s hard to keep much of anything down. You can also add lemon essential oil to your tea.
Lavender is the jack of all trades when it comes to essential oils and can be used for SO many things during pregnancy. It’s super relaxing and calming and great for sleep support. It can also be calming to an upset stomach. Create a roller with lavender and apply it directly to your tummy or behind your ears. Lavender is also great to diffuse to bring feelings of relaxation and help you rest when you’re feeling exhausted and queasy. Take some deep breaths or try a guided meditation when using lavender essential oil for more relaxation.
3. Fennel Seed
For hundreds of years Fennel was used for digestive support and for balancing hormones during a woman’s menstrual cycle. So, it makes sense that it would help with hormone-related upset tummy during pregnancy. During my pregnancy, I used a blend from Young Living that contained fennel called Digize. I made a diluted roller and would rub it directly on my abdomen. You can also try a tea with fennel in it or even use the herb in your cooking. If you’re experiencing smell aversions, fennel may be too strong of a smell for you.
Peppermint essential oil has so many great uses during pregnancy including helping with smell sensitivities. You can simply open the bottle and sniff it or diffuse it along with a citrus, like lemon or orange. If you are using Young Living’s Peppermint Vitality which is ingestible, you can also apply one drop to your tongue and press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Be sure to avoid contact with your eyes.
Note: Some people choose to avoid peppermint in late pregnancy because it can be used to reduce milk supply but I personally used it up until the end and had an abundant milk supply. Use your best judgment and consult your care provider.
You’ve probably already heard that ginger helps with upset tummy caused by riding in a car or being on a plane or boat. It’s also great for general stomach discomfort. My mom used to always give me gingerale when I wasn’t feel well as a kid—not sure if it actually helped but it sure felt special in a house where sodas were never allowed. Ginger essential oil is another way you can support any queasy feelings. You can diffuse ginger essential oil, use it in a roller and apply topically to your tummy, or even put Ginger Vitality from Young Living in a capsule and take it when you feel your tummy churning coming on.
Digestion issues are pretty common during pregnancy and Digize, a blend of Tarragon, Ginger, Peppermint, Juniper, Lemongrass, Anise, and Patchouli oils, combines several of the oils we’ve already covered to aid in digestive support. Create a roller with Digize and use it during your first trimester on your tummy when you’re experiencing tummy troubles. You can also use Digize Vitality oil by putting a drop on your finger and applying to the insides of your cheeks. Be sure to eat frequent, small meals to help your tummy settle down as well.
Spearmint essential oil is a gentler alternative to peppermint and can be used without concern for affecting your milk supply in late pregnancy. Use it in the same ways you would use peppermint—diffuse, rub behind your ears or under your nose or put a drop on your tongue. Be sure to avoid contact with your eyes.
Thieves Oil is a popular blend for immune support and when you’re suffering from an unsettled tummy and having trouble keeping down nutritious food, an extra boost for your immune system during pregnancy is never a bad idea. You’ll also want to be sure you’re getting plenty of rest and eating healthy food to support your immune system. Thieves contains Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary. Several of those oils are recommended to use with care and caution during pregnancy.
Also ensure you dilute Thieves and use it in moderation, rather than daily. I like to make 10ml roller with just 10 drops of Thieves essential oil and coconut oil and apply it to the bottoms of your feet or simply open the bottle and inhale. The scent of Thieves is really lovely (reminds me of the holidays) and can be great for smell aversions as well.
2 places to purchase essential oils
Local health store
Most local health stores and even many grocery stores carry essentials oils. Unfortunately, not all essential oils are created equal. The regulation around essential oils is pretty nonexistent so companies can claim to have a 100% pure essential oil when actually it’s packed with synthetics or diluted.
Through Young Living!
I had used several essential oils brands prior to getting pregnant and I didn’t realize the difference in quality between many oils you find on the shelves or online versus Young Living oils. You can tell a difference right away when you smell Young Living essential oils and their Seed to Seal commitment was what really sold me on exclusively using their oils. I actually visited their lavender farm in Utah recently and was blown away!
The best way to get your essential oils through Young Living is by becoming a wholesale member so you can order for yourself, whenever you want at the wholesale discount of 24% off. To become a member all you need to do is purchase a premium starter kit once. It’s a pretty great deal because you get a diffuser and 12 of their most popular oils including many of the ones mentioned here (peppermint, lavender, digize, lemon, and thieves are all included!).
Find out more
If you want to know more about how we are using essential oils in our life, you can check out this post. And if you’re ready to get started using essential oils with Young Living, check out this post on everything you need to know about the Starter Kit.
NPR reports that, “Black women in the United States are 243 percent more likely than white women to die of pregnancy or childbirth related causes. There’s evidence that shows this gap is caused by the “weathering” effects of racism. Weathering is a term coined for stress-induced wear and tear on the body.” This statistic is true across all socioeconomic classes because “it’s a type of stress for which education and class provide no protection.”
There are amazing organizations working to improve outcomes for Black birthing people and we’ve compiled a list of places you can learn more as well as offer your support. Please leave any additional organizations or resources in the comments and we will continue to update this post.
National Birth Equity Collaborative (https://birthequity.org/): Creates solutions that optimize Black maternal and infant health through training, policy advocacy, research and community-centered collaboration. Donate here. Follow on instagram @birthequity and facebook
The Black Maternal Health Caucus (https://blackmaternalhealthcaucus-underwood.house.gov/Momnibus): Aims to raise awareness within Congress to establish black maternal health as a national priority and explore and advocate for effective, evidence-based, culturally-competent policies and best practices for health outcomes for black mothers.
The Blavatnik Family Women’s Health Research Institute (https://icahn.mssm.edu/research/womens-health): Optimizing quality of care for women across the life span and narrowing gaps in treatment and outcomes in underserved populations
ROOT, Restoring our own Through Transformation (https://www.roottrj.org/): Black women-led reproductive justice organization dedicated to collectively restoring our well-being through self-determination, collaboration, and resources to meet the needs of women and families within communities. Donate here
Black Women for Wellness: Black Women for Wellness has been working for over 20 years for maternal and infant health for Black women. Programs include nutrition education, chronic disease prevention, breast cancer support, reproductive justice, environmental justice, sexual health education, civic engagement and policy work.
Education and Community Resources
Mamas of Color Rising (https://mamasofcolorrising.wordpress.com/): A collective of working class and poor mothers of color around Austin, TX interested in organizing women/mamas of color around issues with accessing needs and building ideal community together. Donate here
Black Midwives Alliance Train and organize midwives to serve as advocates to address disparities in maternal health care that impact black birthing people. Central goal is to have a representative voice at the national level that clearly outlines and supports the various needs and interests of Black midwives.
My Brown Baby (http://mybrownbaby.com/): Providing service for those who need information and helping sort through the “beautiful struggle that comes with being black parents in America”. Follow on instagram @mybrownbaby and facebook
National Black Doula Association (https://www.blackdoulas.org/): Overall mission is to help fight the Black Maternal Mortality rate in the U.S. and beyond, through education empowerment. Provides a professional business directory and resource for Black Doulas & Trainers in the childbirth industry.
Natal: A Docuseries about having a baby while Black in the United States.
Homecoming Podcast: At Homecoming, we address two myths: 1) Hospitals are the safest place to give birth and 2) Black families don’t birth at home. We broadcast how Black families birth in love and choose to birth at home, unassisted or with midwives.
Birth Stories in Color: Birth Stories in Color is a podcast for people of color to share their birthing experiences- a space that specifically celebrates, mourns with and supports people of color and their transformation through birth.
Sisters in Loss podcast: Sisters in Loss is dedicated to replacing silence with storytelling around pregnancy and infant loss and infertility of Black women.
Anti-Racist Baby(board book) – written by Ibram X. Kendi, a best selling anti-racist author and founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, we are SO thrilled he wrote this must-have board book.
The Undefeated(picture book) – stunning poetry and illustrations highlight Black history and Black futures in this award-winning book. Understanding Black history is essential to understanding American history, and this book serves as a great tool for acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of African Americans.
Let the Children March(picture book) – there are a handful of books written about the thousands of African American children that protested (and got assaulted…and arrested) in 1963 inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This one is our favorite.
Read books that celebrate racial diversity
Littles and How They Grow (board book) – this story lists the sweet and abundant ways we give love to our children. Black illustrator AG Ford beautifully depicts families across race, gender, and age spectrums.
We Are Little Feminists: Hair(board book) – Little Feminist wrote this book specifically for families to talk about celebrating race & ethnicity at home. Photos of real families is accompanied by playful rhyming text that will make this a book your kids keep reaching for. Sold as a set of 3 on Amazon. Can be purchased separately on LittleFeminist.com/giftshop.
Read biographies of people of color, beyond athletes and musicians
Think Big, Little One (board book) – Black author & illustrator Vashti Harrison (we love her so much) shines light on powerful women of color. Her simple introductions to visionaries from around the globe prove educational to adults and children alike.
Mae Among the Stars(picture book) – inspired by Mae Jemison, the first Black American to travel to space, this book encourages everyone to reach for the stars. Make sure to talk about racism with your kids when Mae’s white teacher discourages her dreams.
Enjoy fun fiction board books by Black authors about Black characters
Calling Dr. Zaza(board book) – your family is going to fall in love with Zaza, and (SCORE!) it’s a series. Showcase a strong, spunky, Black girl on your bookshelf! We picked this book to highlight because Zaza plays doctor in this story, and it leads to lots of fun imaginary play at home.
Baby Goes to Market (board book) – the routine task of grocery shopping becomes a colorful adventure filled with joy, and delicious treats! Enjoy counting along as Baby and Mama work their way through a bustling West African market together.
Baby Says (board book) – a board book remake of a classic, we love this tender sibling relationship filled with small annoyances and big love.
Read books about being bullied for being different
Sulwe (picture book) – a gorgeous tale about loving ALL of ourselves by Academy Award winner Lupita Nyongo.
The Proudest Blue(picture book) – Hijabi gold-medal Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad brings authenticity to her own story of wearing a hijab at school. A powerful reminder that something as simple as showing up in the world observing your faith and heritage requires incredible bravery.
May We Have Enough to Share (board book) – gorgeous photos all taken by Indigenous female photographers capture the spirit of gratitude.
Read books celebrating all family structures & genders
We Are Little Feminists: Families (board book) – with photos of real families and rhyming text, this board book showcases different families with one thing in common: love. Let your kiddos wonder about gender pronouns and expressions as they observe the people on each page.
Love Makes a Family (board book) – beautiful metaphors highlight the emotional love and labor caregivers pour into families. We love the diverse family constellations which even highlight singlet parents and elder caregivers.
Introducing Teddy (picture book) – we love how this book features gender identity and expression – it’s accessible to the toddlers and so heartwarming! Teddy and his friends show us what it looks like to be loved and accepted exactly as we are, regardless of gender, appearance or our favorite hobbies.
Books that celebrate all bodies and abilities
Lovely (picture book) – there are so many bodies and intersecting identities celebrated in this book, every time we read it we discover something new we love. Jess Hong uses sparse words like ‘black’ and ‘white’ and ‘fancy’ and ‘sporty’ to highlight how all of our bodies are lovely. We love how the illustrations challenge our expectations!
We Are Little Feminists: On-the-Go (board book) – where are all the books featuring characters with disabilities as more than someone to pity or save? We have NO idea! So we published this book to feature as many kids with disabilities as possible moving in all sorts of ways.
This guest post was written by Brittany Murlas from Little Feminist Book Club. Hungry for more? Or want our help curating the best picks for your family? Join Little Feminist book club. Use code THEBIRTHHOUR for 15% off any Little Feminist subscription.
All three of our kids have attended Montessori or Montessori-based preschools and we love the minimalistic and practical approach to toys (or works), furniture, and daily rhythms. When we were planning to transition our one-year-old into a room that was more for him than an afterthought/sometimes guest room, I knew I wanted to bring in some of the Montessori designs I had come to love. I fell in love with the simple Montessori furniture from Sprout and partnered with them on this post. You can use the code birthhour for 10% off at Sprout.
6 Things to Consider when Designing a Montessori Bedroom for Baby
There are a few key elements when designing a Montessori room for your baby or toddler.
Montessori Floor Bed for Baby
While you can definitely just put a mattress on the floor, we decided to go with a beautiful, yet simple, natural wood bed frame that can grow with our baby. This bed from Sprout keeps him from rolling over the back side and then as he gets older you can flip it over and have it a little higher off the ground. We have a few furniture items from Sprout and my favorite thing about their products is how easy everything is to put together. I can put it together by myself without any tools and very quickly! Floor beds are a staple in Montessori because they encourage independence, allowing baby to get in and out of bed as needed.
Organic Mattress for Baby
Another important aspect of the bed, for us, was having a non-toxic mattress. Conventional mattresses are filled with all kind of nasty ingredients that no one should be spending half of their day laying on! We decided on a twin mattress from My Green Mattress that is GOTS Certified organic and comes in a bunk size that is the perfect thickness for our floor bed! We also got their Organic Cotton Waterproof Protector because, well, accidents happen, but at the same time I didn’t want to cover our organic mattress with a mattress protector that wasn’t toxin-free as well.
I personally love having a comfortable mattress to lay down on when I’m in our little one’s room too! We still nurse before naps and bedtime and it’s so nice to cozy up together on a mattress that’s big enough for me too!
Play and Movement Space for Baby
We have a simple infant shelf, also from Sprout, in our baby’s room that is great for pulling up on and choosing his own toys to play with. We rotate out toys periodically to keep it interesting and prevent the shelf from being overwhelming with too many items. We always have blocks, some sort of puzzle toy, a stacking toy, books, and musical instruments (current favorite is a very loud drum!)
Finding high quality toys that will last a lifetime is important to us and we find that all three of our kids have enjoyed these items more than the flashing/noise-making toys that flood many store shelves. We are currently loving the quarterly subscription box of Montessori materials selected by age from Monti Kids. You can use the code BIRTHHOUR40 to save $40 + free shipping on your first Monti Kids order! Monti Kids provides Montessori subscription boxes and access to child development experts for children ages 0-3. Monti Kids subscription boxes come with toys and guidance in an easy to use program to give your baby the best education from birth.
Mirrors are a frequent component of Montessori spaces and a great addition to a bedroom. We have ours behind the play area so our baby can make silly faces and watch himself play. For a younger baby, many parents will put the mirror next to the bed or changing area so baby can see themself while laying down on the floor. An easy tip for getting a mirror (and what we did), is to use one of the giant mirrors that many home builders install in bathrooms. You can remove it and hang a mirror in the bathroom with a bit more character! Or check online for people giving away these old bathroom mirrors.
Dressing and Self Care Area
Allowing your child to choose their own clothes and dress themselves from an early age is one of my favorite Montessori ideas. Not only does it make life easier when you are avoiding battles over clothing but I love to watch the creative outfits that come together! Obviously with a one year old, their ability to dress themselves is limited but even at 14 months, our baby knows that hats go on his head, socks go on his feet, and pants go on his legs. He will pull clothing out of his child-size wardrobe and place them where he thinks they belong on his body and then we can help him actually get dressed.
I love our Alba wardrobe from Sprout because it is customizable— we can add and remove shelves and doors based on the stage our little one is at. Right now we use all of the shelves and left the door off of the hanging clothes side so that our baby can see his jackets and sweaters and grab one when we ask him if he’s ready to go outside!
Babies and Toddlers don’t benefit from a character-themed bedroom (it’s more for the adults, right?) and Montessori rooms tend to include neutral colors and natural materials without a lot of excess clutter. If you do add wall decor, make it something that’s safe to hang at their eye level so they can enjoy it—it’s their room after all! We actually have a couple of canvases that our older kids made for the baby’s room before he was born that I still need to lower to his level since I doubt he even knows they are there currently! One of our baby’s favorite things in his room is the sheepskin rug. It’s so soft and he will often crawl over to it just to roll around for a bit!
Creating a Montessori based room for your baby doesn’t have to be perfect! Have fun with the design elements but focus on keeping it simple! Less is more and it won’t always be a picture-perfect space (see below!) but the goal is for baby’s room to be a place that he (and you!) want to spend time and explore together!
This past year I had the amazing privilege of getting to work with Heather Gallagher to document our family from the end of my pregnancy through baby’s first birthday. I love that Heather offers this “year in the life” photography package because it focuses more on how the whole family changes and grows over a year rather than the more typical baby milestone photo packages I’d seen before. We have two older children and this year was HUGE for them in terms of changes and I’m so grateful to have these priceless images to remember our whole family unit over the course of the year that we welcomed baby number three into the fold.
I highly recommend Heather Gallagher not only for this year-in-the-life package but for any of your photography needs (especially birth photography!). She is based in Vermont but also travels for photo sessions from time to time!
Heather is also a full spectrum doula which you can learn more about by reaching out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or following her on Instagram @heather.gallagher
Our first photo session was a maternity photo shoot at the Austin Public Library which is one of our favorite places to explore together. The kids quickly became comfortable with Heather and were up to their typical silly antics.
The next time we saw Heather was for the birth! She arrived just 40 minutes or so before baby was born and probably would’ve missed it if she hadn’t had the foresight to be hanging around the area ‘just in case’ which I’m forever grateful for! Birth photos are the most beautiful images in the world and I look back at mine often. It can be hard to remember the details when you’re in “laborland” and having all of the little moments captured is not only really special but has also helped me in the processing of my birth story.
Postpartum Photo Session
Heather came back a few days later for a Postpartum shoot which really captures our big kids and how they were changing as they stepped into their new roles.
One Year Old Birthday Photo Session
We finished our year together with Heather capturing baby’s 1st Birthday party! Of course I love all of the images but more than that, it was so nice to not have to worry about where my phone was so I could be taking pictures as well and I am in way more of the photos than I would’ve been as well. I think it helped keep everyone else off of their phones as well especially when it came time for the smash cake—I noticed that everyone didn’t do the typical thing of all trying to film this moment because they knew Heather had it covered.
It’s so surreal to have more than a year captured of our family and putting together this blog post was so much fun as I went back through all of the images. It was definitely hard to pick my favorites and I’m sure my favorites will change over time! I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a year in the life of our little family! If you are in the Austin area, I highly recommend Heather Gallagher not only for this year-in-the-life package but for any of your photography needs (especially birth photography!). Heather is also a full spectrum doula which you can learn more about by reaching out to her at email@example.com or following her on Instagram @heather.gallagher. Thank you Heather!!!
I love that we are discussing pelvic floor health more and more especially with moms postpartum. In many countries it is standard practice to visit a pelvic floor therapist after having a baby and while that isn’t the case here in the United States, there are more and more therapists available. I’m always happy to get the message out that if you are experiencing symptoms related to your pelvic floor after having a baby, you do not need to just ‘deal with it’.
I recommend looking for a pelvic floor therapist and doing some of your own at-home therapy as well. I’m always recommending the MUTU system for an at home program and I myself have really loved it. Recently, I also had the opportunity to try the Perifit Pelvic Floor Trainer as the company sent me one to review.
From my own personal perspective, it’s also just fun to use since it is game-oriented! You insert the device into your vagina and then it connects with an app that you play games with your pelvic muscles to move your “player”. It’s kind of hard to explain but go here to watch how it works. I’m not even someone who typically likes video games but this was surprisingly really satisfying to advance to the next level on—maybe because I know that I’m actually doing something good for my body in the process.
Kegels aren’t all that great for you
Many of us have always heard to do kegels… the way I learned was to practice the feeling of stopping the stream of urine but it turns out that that isn’t all that good for strengthening your pelvic floor, plus it’s boring! So, the difference with the Perifit is that you also work on the action of relaxing your pelvic floor muscles and contracting them. Plus, the device can tell you the difference between the use of your deeper muscles versus the superficial ones.
My favorite part is that you get real-time feedback so you know how you’re improving. It really helped me to better understand how to do pelvic floor exercises since you can try different things and then see in the app whether you’re improving or not rather than just listening to someone describe what to do.
Programs for your stage in life
They have a few different programs to choose from including: postpartum, stress/urge incontinence, intimate well-being and preventative. I’m working my way through the postpartum program right now and feel quite the sense of accomplishment when I move up to the next level! I only spend about 10-15 minutes a day doing the games and noticed an improvement within about 3 weeks (I may have missed some days in there but I TRY to do it every day). You can set the app to send you reminders to play the games too!
I definitely recommend the Perifit if you’re struggling with any pelvic floor issues and think it would benefit just about any mom postpartum. Of course it’s always a good idea to consult with your care provider if you have any questions.
You can use the coupon code TheBirthHour10 for 10% off your purchase. I was gifted the Perifit to review and was not compensated in any other way. I only recommend products to you that I truly love and all opinions expressed are my own.