I remember every time I had an upset stomach as a kid, the one thing my mom always gave me, without fail, was ginger ale. Drinking that ginger ale always made my stomach less rumbly and jumbly, and the nausea would dissipate pretty quickly. To this day, ginger ale is still my go-to for an upset tummy, and when I’m pregnant, I plan to use some form of ginger for morning sickness. But why and how exactly does that work? Is there a specific way you should learn how to use ginger to relieve morning sickness, or is sipping on a room-temperature ginger ale enough?
First of all, how does ginger work to help with nausea? What does it do for your body when you’re experiencing morning sickness? According to doula Monique Cowan, “Ginger contains active chemicals called gingerols and shogaols that make ginger antiemetic (keeps away nausea and vomiting).” Cowan tells Romper in an interview that ginger naturally has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe our digestive tract, but most “doctors don’t really know exactly why ginger helps, but they all agree that it does."
Cowan suggests a few different ways to include ginger in your daily routine to help you with morning sickness while pregnant, including “drinking a ginger infusion by grating a bit of fresh ginger into hot water, eating a bit of crystallized (candied) ginger, or taking it in powder or pill form. However you decide to take it, be sure to consult your OB-GYN or midwife beforehand to be sure it is safe for you to take."
It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider beforehand, because according to Cowan, “Ginger is fine to consume raw, ground, or in pill form, but women must be cautious not to consume too much (it is recommended at only 1 gram per day for no longer than four consecutive days) and to make sure it is OK with their care provider to take at all. Ginger is a natural blood thinner and blood sugar reducer, and can counteract with other medications or have adverse effects on your body if you are experiencing other issues.”
Morning sickness is the worst, but unfortunately, it's a very common symptom of pregnancy for many women. Luckily, there are several options out there to hopefully help you cope with feeling like crap, including non-ginger-related products like acupressure wrist bands. As always, consult with your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplements, even if it's ginger.