For many women, morning sickness can take the shine off impending motherhood as they struggle to carry on a normal life while feeling queasy or actually being regularly sick.
Around three-quarters of pregnant women suffer nausea and vomiting in the early weeks, although symptoms generally ease by around 14 weeks.
However, around two per cent can suffer, like the Duchess of Cambridge, from hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare disorder that triggers severe vomiting and which needs medical treatment.
In December, Kate was admitted to hospital. Although her condition has improved, she’s still battling nausea and reportedly using natural food remedies, such as Turkish figs and lavender biscuits and scented candles, to override smells which can trigger nausea.
‘While most symptoms subside by 14 weeks, one in 10 pregnant women still feel sick after 20 weeks, so the condition can be very debilitating,’ says Siobhan Freegard, founder of website Netmums.
Nutritionists have several tips that can help expectant mums battle the nausea blues. Rachel Jessey, who practices in Lee-on-the-Solent, says it’s important for pregnant women to keep blood sugar levels up.
‘If your blood sugar levels are low, it can make you feel even sicker. So it’s important to eat something as well as drink fluids.
‘Fizzy drinks are sometimes recommended for settling the tummy but women should be careful about having too much sugar, because they’ll get a big surge and then levels will drop. They should only have very small amounts of sugary foods and drinks.’
Rachel recommends smoothies with natural yoghurt, fruit or nibbling on crackers. Sucking on a lemon can also relieve nausea. ‘Even the smell of it seems to have an effect,’ she says.
Ginger is well-known as being good for the digestive system. Rachel says porridge with a sprinkle of ginger works well and cinammon helps balance blood sugar levels.
Nibbling a ginger biscuit can help but again watch the sugar.
Women are advised to contact their GP if they are unable to keep food or drink down for 24 hours, are feeling dizzy or experiencing abdominal pain.