Top 10: Ways to cope with morning sickness

Although referred to as morning sickness, periods of nausea can happen throughout the day while pregnant at any point in pregnancy. It’s suspected that this is due to the increase in hormones estrogen and hCG, especially in the first 4-5 weeks or until 14 weeks (for about 50% to 80% of pregnant people).

Here are our top 10 ways to cope with sickness and nausea:

1. Avoiding smells or foods that you know could be triggering your nausea or reflux. So if you’re at work, maybe you avoid eating in a smaller lunch room until your nausea gets better or if it’s nicer weather, opting to eat outside if that’s an option where you work. At home or when living with other people, trying to keep rooms well ventilated so your house can stay free of, or minimize the cooking odors that day or from lingering in your home the next day (especially when cooking with lots of spices, with fish, or strong scents like garlic).

2. Don’t wait until you’re starving to eat and have several small meals or some in between snacks ready to grab. Also if your nausea is bothering you mostly in the early morning hours, and late or overnight, keeping crackers, pretzels, or another small snack by your bed might be helpful.

3. Minimizing how much you drink during meals but still staying hydrated throughout your day (since dehydration can lead to lots of other unwanted symptoms as well as increase the nausea or vomiting).

4. Sucking or chewing on something: ginger pop, hard candies, something sour, ice chips or popsicles.

5. Eating more dry or plain foods. You can try having some bone broth, raw veggies, some banana with almond butter, or if you’re also craving some more carbs, then having some brown rice, avocado toast, or waffle with peanut butter.

6. Talk to your provider if your nausea or sickness is not improving, getting worse, and is impacting your daily living routines. They may be able to even try a supplement such as vitamin B 6 or other remedies or medications.

Ginger can help settle your stomach. You can try:

  • Ginger capsules, candies,
  • Sips of Ginger ale made with real ginger
  • Ginger tea made from fresh-grated ginger

7. Getting plenty of fresh air, open windowns in your home or work place if you’re able to and go on daily walks outdoors.

8. Eat small frequent meals.

9. Drinking more clear liquids, avoiding having too many caffinated or sugary drinks. Adding in some teas such as: ’stomach ease’ tea, peppermint, lemon, or ginger teas, or sips of gingerale (anything in moderation).

10. take prenatal vitamins on a full stomach. Some doctors might be able to prescribe you chewable options.


*If you’re nauseous or sick longer than you believe is within the norm,
if your symptoms become severe to the point where your quality of life in your daily routine is being affected


*If you’re having extreme symptoms such as:

-unable to keep food or liquids down for more than 24 hours or
-loosing weight (5 lb within 1-2 weeks).
-flush face
-extreme thirst
-leg cramps
-extreme fatigue
-not urinating very often under 4 times a day,
or urine is dark in color or has an odor.
-having an unpleasant, fruity taste or dry mouth
-dizziness or confusion, then

Please speak to your provider to see if they suspect a diagnosis of
severe dehydration or even hyperemesis gravidarium. Your provider
may have other useful advice or referrals for you and could help
you form a plan to keep you feeling supported, safe and more comfortable.

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Wick, Myra J, MD
MayoClinic: Guide to a healthy Pregnancy 2nd edition, 2018.


This blog is not a substitute for medical advice, please refer to your provider for specific recommendations based on your medical history and circumstances.

Am I Pregnant?

Are you wondering: How can I tell if I’m pregnant?

Photo by cottonbro on

Here are some of the top 10 signs early on in pregnancy

  1. Missed period:

Some of those who experience irregular periods might decide to wait 1 to 3 weeks until they take a test (it can take 5-14 until a fertilized egg fully attaches to the lining of the uterus).

  1. Implantation bleeding:

Slight bleeding or abdominal cramping can occur but it’s typically a few days before your expected period. Can consist of pink or brownish spotting and can last about 1 to 3 days.

  1. Nausea:

Due to suspected increase in the hormone estrogen.

  1. Food aversions:

Are there certain foods or smells bothering you lately? Some people experience morning sickness and some may just have heightened sensitivities. Also, even though it’s labeled as morning sickness, this feeling can unfortunately occur for some people throughout the entire day.

  1. Bloating.
  1. Frequent urination:

As the uterus expands, pressure is placed on the bladder. Early on, hormone changes are also responsible. The increased blood flow to the urinary system and more fluid going through the kidneys, can speed up the filling process in the bladder.

  1. Change in breasts:

There are many hormone changes happening which can cause the breast to feel firm, larger, or just more tender in general. Even early in pregnancy, some people may notice other changes in breast appearance like lines or darker veins.

  1. Constipation:

Due to the levels of the hormone progesterone, muscles of the digestive tract can be more relaxed causing food to move slower through your system. Also if you take iron or prenatal vitamin, those could also contribute.

  1. Mood swings:

Feeling more emotional, weepy, or extra irritated? This can occur given the amount of hormone changes experienced in early pregnancy. This cam improve once your body adjusts to the higher levels of hormones. Of course on top of that, if a person has sickness, metabolism changes, changes in sleep, stress, and fatigue, emotions can certainly be running high anyway.

  1. Fatigue:

In the first trimester, an increase in your progesterone hormones can cause you to feel unusually tired. Also the increased blood volume Blood vessel dilation, can also result in mild headaches, dizziness, lower blood sugar or lower blood pressure. 


*Keep in mind that (like many things), Everybody is different.
Some may experience symptoms prior to getting sick or prior to their menstrual period, but other pregnant people may not have many symptoms at all. 

*Which test should I take and Where should I buy it from?

-Blood test with your doctor, nurse, community clinic, local Planned Parenthood Center, grocery store, dollar store, drugstore, local pharmacy, even ordering one offline. 

*Home tests:

There are a lot of brand names to choose from with home tests. Many home tests claim to be about 97-99% accurate if used correctly, and

keeping the following in mind:

  1. make sure you actually read the directions. It’s important to not read the test too early or too late for unreliable results.
  2. Some tests could get false positives if the person was taking birth control, antibiotics, fertility meds, etc.
  3. Check the expiration dates to make sure the test is not expired.
  4. Typically accuracy is increased of taken in the morning when your urine is less diluted.

*Is there really one brand that is more reliable than the others?

-Ask your pharmacist or provider. 

-Another resource is the website:, where you can read about some tests that could be more sensitive to reading early levels of hCG.

*Your hCG levels double every 48 -72 hours. Therefore, some people may choose a 2-3 pack of tests to repeat a few days after they’ve actually missed their period.

*Other resources:


FDA, food and drug administration






Mira J MD Mayo Clinic: guide to a healthy pregnancy, 2nd edition, 2018

-Capstone Doula Services 

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*This blog is not medical advice and any concerns you should bring to your providers attention.

Benefits of A Doula

We like to share the most relevant and evidence based information. This post originally published on

Often, when people hear the word doula, they think of midwives. Although these two professionals provide a very important role in the birthing process, they are quite different. 

So, what does a doula do? 

We love, support, educate, and help birthing people and couples feel empowered in their birthing choices.

The day you have a baby is one that will likely be remembered for the rest of your life. As a career doula, one of my personal goals is to help the people I support to leave their birthing day with a positive view. 

I was not able to have a doula the first two times I gave birth. After having a doula for my third pregnancy, not only did I feel a difference, but my husband and I saw one. I want to break it down, and tell you more about what my doulas did. 

Offer support and love

  • Encouragement: Doulas build you up and keep you going by using affirmations and motivational words.
  • Presence: Doulas offer a calm presence in the birthing room, helping you and your birthing partner(s) to stay calm. 
  • Physical touch and comfort measures: Counter pressure can offer a lot of relief when laboring. Doulas are trained to help ease discomfort in all the special places like the hips, sacrum, knees, and back. 
  • Comfort and reassurance: Because birth is unpredictable, there can be situations where options are given. Doulas can offer their trained expertise and provide reassurance in the decisions being made. 
  • Partner support: Labor can sometimes be long, leaving birth partners tired and restless. Doulas offer extra support, so your birthing partner can rest, eat, and recharge. 
  • Food: Eating is often forgotten about by both the birthing person and the partner in labor. Doulas can help sustain the energy of you and your partner by providing food and drinks. 


  • Training: Most doulas spend days and sometimes even weeks or months becoming better trained and prepared to support birthing couples. In fact, doulas lower the chances of Cesarean Section by up to 39%.
  • Pre birth support: Doulas will typically spend time with you in the prenatal stage, educating you on birthing comfort measures, fetal positioning and how it can affect your labor journey, stages of labor, and what to expect. Doulas can help you create a birthing plan or preference sheet if desired, and may even provide you with questions for your birthing provider. 
  • Support before they arrive: In my personal opinion, one of the best things about having a doula is that it’s like having a “lifeline.” You can reach out to your doula to ask questions, get resources, and sometimes just to have an extra ear to listen is a big benefit.  

Those are just a few of the ways that I benefited during pregnancy and labor, by working with a doula. Check out our guide, What is a Doula, for a more detailed look at everything doulas do and their role in childbirth.

It is not very often that a birthing parent hires a doula and doesn’t like their experience. Doulas can impact your journey even before the birth takes place. 

Emily in our VBAC Link Facebook Community explains how her doula has helped her so much already during the prenatal experience.

 Birthing with a doula any day now. Having her support prenatally has been amazing, and I feel so empowered and knowledgeable already. I’m not scared like I was for my first birth. I feel prepared, and knowing she will be with me is giving me the confidence to let my body do its thing. Maybe because it’s my second, maybe because I have an amazing doula, but I’m not stressing over every little thing and texting my sister/mom asking “what is …” I know my doula is available any time via text/call if I have questions!

I’m a nurse and my partner is a paramedic, so I thought we would be fine for our first birth… boy was I wrong! I love my husband, but he had no idea what to do to support me during labor. Could he catch the baby if we were in the car or stranded somewhere? Sure. But helping me with contractions was so far out of his wheelhouse. I know having my doula there is as much mental as it is physical for me, because I have trouble taking off my nurse hat and connecting with my body.

I was scared during my first labor, and I feel like that greatly contributed to my c-section. Knowing I have a whole birth team this time makes me almost excited to see how this birth goes! VBAC or not, I know I have done everything I can to have the birth experience I want.

Emily, a member of The VBAC Link Facebook Community

How do Doulas impact your birth? Here’s what the research says

Doulas can impact your birth in a powerful way. Being able to walk away from your birthing experience, no matter how it turned out, feeling loved, supported, involved, and heard is how it should always be. Doulas help make that happen. 

The benefits are not only reported by birthing families, but backed by research. Evidence Based Birth® shares these proven benefits of working with a doula that we just love seeing: 

  • 39% decrease in Cesarean births
  • 15% increase in spontaneous (non induced) vaginal birth
  • 10% decrease in the use of narcotic pain relief
  • Average length of labor decreased by 41 minutes
  • 38% decrease in the risk for a baby having a low 5 minute Apgar score
  • 31% decrease in the risk of the birthing person being dissatisfied with the overall birth experience

Doulas lower the chances of interventions, help decrease pain, speed up labors, and decrease the chances of having a Cesarean Section. 

In addition to supporting birthing parents, doulas can leave an improved outcome for babies as well. By not having as many interventions and shorter labors, babies can benefit from better fetal heart tracings, avoiding an operative delivery, such as forceps or vacuum, and having a higher APGAR score. 

As I was preparing for my VBA2C, I often found myself having questions on what my doula had seen before. At the time, I was a new doula, and hadn’t seen as much as they had. I loved that I could send a text message and ask their opinion on things like, where to find a chiropractor in the area that is Webster trained, or where to get a prenatal massage. 

When it came down to choosing between a home birth VBAC or a birth center, they were able to put me in touch with trusted midwives in the area they had personally worked with.

There’s a lot of misinformation about doulas, like they take over the birthing partner’s role, they are expensive, or you don’t need one if you have a midwife. Now that you know the benefits of doulas, you don’t have to let doula myths stop you from being fully supported during your pregnancy and birth. Most people who hire a doula will be completely satisfied with their experiences. 

Does a doula provide different benefits than a birthing partner or spouse? 

benefits of a doula vs spouse or partner

When someone asks me if a doula provides anything different than a spouse, I reply with no hesitation. Yes! 

However, this in no way means a doula replaces the birth partner. 

When I asked my husband if we could hire a doula, he was initially upset with my question. He thought I wanted to hire a doula to replace him, and that I thought he lacked the ability to help me the way I would need to be helped. 

Let me tell you that he was wrong in every way. 

Doulas are able to provide different benefits than a birthing partner or spouse because they are trained and skilled in supporting birthing people.

Yes! My doulas were confident in birth and what birth looks like. They were calm, and they supported my partner as well! My husband really struggled with our first (46-hour labor), and he needed help too. My doulas also helped me process my first labor and delivery experience in a way my husband couldn’t. They also helped him process. They had a ton of “tricks” up their sleeves as far as positioning goes and helped me understand some of the procedures in the hospital.

I knew I had a consistent, calm presence of someone who truly understood me and what I envisioned for my birth. I birthed at a hospital, where I didn’t know any of the providers, so consistency was very important. Our doulas also did a lot of background “prep” and work like candles and music. I really feel like they enabled my husband and I to have the experience we wanted. They also took pictures, which was something my husband forgot to do with my C-section, and that was so important to me.”

Erin, a member of The VBAC Link Facebook Community

In addition to birth support, doulas also provide care and education prenatally. This is a great way for you and your birth partner or spouse to begin preparing for the day your little one joins your family. 

In my doula practice, I typically provide two prenatal visits with my clients. During the first visit, I ask them questions about their previous birth, if there was one, what desires they have for this birth, how they personally learn, and how they cope during hard times or sudden changes. This visit enables me to become better aware of who they are, what they want for their birth, and how I can help both of them.

In the second visit, I teach the birthing partner or spouse along with the birthing parent more about childbirth, what it looks like, sounds like, and how to cope. Birthing parents usually comment on how much better prepared they feel after these visits.

Are you ready to set up your free consultation to see how a labor doula can best help you and your family?

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