Morning sickness tip that worked for me this week

I recently wrote about the wonders of acupuncture for preventing morning sickness. Seriously, it’s changed my life and made the first two months of my current pregnancy so comfortable and pleasant. Compared to my last pregnancy and the horrible all-day sickness I had for the first trimester, that’s nothing short of a miracle.

At an appointment with my acupuncturist Hannah earlier this week, I mentioned that I feel fine when I wake up in the mornings, but after I eat, I feel nauseous for 10 to 15 minutes, then it goes away. I’ve been eating either a bagel or toast because I thought bland food would be best on an empty stomach.

Turns out, the choice of food was my problem. Hannah said I should be eating something easier to digest like oatmeal, an omelette or congee, rice porridge. I replaced my bagel with oatmeal for the past three mornings, and that small change completely eliminated my nausea. I was blown away that such a small change could make such a difference!

What about you? Have you found any morning sickness tips worked for you?

P.S. If you’re feeling sick throughout the day or at night, that likely isn’t morning sickness; it’s a sign of depletion. In other words, your body is struggling to supply the nutrients it needs to create a baby. You might want to see an acupuncturist, functional medicine doctor, nutritionist or other specialist to get support. You don’t need to suffer!

Pregnancy timeline for health and wellness

When I was pregnant with our first child, I created a “pregnancy by the month” note in my phone where I kept a running list of classes, books, wellness activities and other milestones so that I could consolidate all of the things I’d read from 100 different sources in one place. Looking back, it was definitely my unique form of nesting, but it was also super helpful.

Below is a less detailed version of my list that I’m hoping will be a helpful starting point for you as well. Note that before 18 weeks, I started doing 30-minute walks and some form of yoga, barre or stretching every day, which I did throughout my pregnancy.

Postpartum on a budget

Postpartum care is so close to my heart. Many cultures – particularly non-Western ones – are steeped in the tradition of offering postpartum care. This support of new mothers focuses first and foremost on healing her. Through emotional, physical and spiritual support, she becomes empowered to step into her new role and offer the best care to her baby.

In contrast, in the U.S., our focus is not on the mother, but the baby, after birth. Friends and family ask how the baby is eating, how the baby is sleeping, if the baby is gaining weight. Meanwhile the mother, in her most raw, vulnerable and exhausted state, is left to fend for herself. Worse, the absence of questions about the mother – how she’s adjusting – reinforces the message that how the mother feels doesn’t matter.

But in reality, a baby cannot thrive unless the mother is thriving. By failing to support a new mother, we jeopardize her health and the health of her family for years to come. (For more on that, check out The Postnatal Depletion Cure by Dr. Oscar Serrallach.)

In a perfect world, we would all have postpartum doulas on hand for the first six weeks to provide meals, childcare, massages, help with cleaning and chores and morale support for mom. Sadly, that’s just not an option financially for mot people. The good news is there are things you can do to set yourself up for success postpartum that don’t cost a thing.

Commit to the 3 rules of postpartum care: Rest, Rehydrate and Roast the mom. Rest is so critical to healing, but so often, women either have to or feel pressured to be up and moving around immediately after childbirth. If you can, stay in bed. Make sure that you hydrate, especially if you’re breastfeeding, and try to stay comfortable and warm. You can find more advice for caregivers and partners on how to support a woman after childbirth here.

Eat real food. Proper nutrition is so important all the time, but particularly postpartum. According to Ritual, the postpartum period is actually even more nutritionally demanding than pregnancy itself. Ideally, new moms would have fresh meals prepared for them three times a day. If you don’t have that luxury, plan ahead. While you’re pregnant, double your recipes and freeze half to set aside for the weeks following childbirth. This option isn’t perfect, but it’s so much better than eating junk food, not eating or spending hours on your feet in the kitchen. Here’s more on foods to eat and foods to avoid postpartum. And don’t forget to take a quality multivitamin or even better, a postnatal multivitamin for at least six months after birth.

Get help from guests. Keeping a household running with a newborn around is tough. My midwife stressed during my pregnancy that the ideal ratio is three adults for every newborn in the weeks immediately after birth. If that amount of help isn’t happening for you (or even if it is), I highly recommend asking for help with chores and/or errands from your friends and family. Keep a running chore list on your refrigerator and don’t be shy about it! Odds are, they’d love a way to show their love and support. If you feel uncomfortable asking, enlist your partner’s help. You also could have a sign-up sheet for chores, errands and/or meals at your baby shower or mother blessing so that expectations are set in advance. You can access an online sign-up sheet template that I created here. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help, and we need to normalize this type of support for parents!

Foods to avoid postpartum

Birth triggers a lot of big changes in the body, including shifts in the digestive system. That’s why cultures around the world, Chinese, Indian and Persian to name a few, have fed traditional foods to women after childbirth for centuries. These foods are easy to digest and nourishing to facilitate healing, comfort and improved breastmilk production. You can read more about foods to favor postpartum here.

According to Ayurveda, the foods to avoid postpartum fall into four categories: dry, rough, cold and stimulating. They should be minimized at least for the first six weeks postpartum because they can aggravate digestion for mothers and breastfeeding babies.

Keep in mind that this list is intended as a guideline. I’m a firm believer in listening to your body and feeding your cravings. For instance, if you’re craving red meat, eat it, but be sure to prepare it so that it’s easy to digest, like a stew or meatloaf. Mental health is also important; if you want chocolate for dessert because you need a treat after a long day, then by all means have it. My second meal after I gave birth was pizza, which includes a ton of ingredients on this list, but it was hearty and comforting and what I knew I needed at that moment.

That’s how I recommend planning your meals postpartum: eat conscientiously but also give yourself flexibility to also have familiar foods that you enjoy. I had some of my favorite recipes set aside for postpartum and simply modified them. (For instance, this beef and butternut stew is very nourishing; I would just leave out the sour cream and possibly the tomato paste if you’re breastfeeding.)

You’ll know what’s right for your body based on how it makes you feel.


  • Coffee
  • Soda
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Raw or undercooked garlic
  • Onion
  • Radish
  • Chilies
  • Cabbage


  • Ice cream
  • Salads
  • Raw foods
  • Generally all chilled foods and drinks


  • Red meat
  • Fermented cheeses
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt
  • Excessive nuts
  • Eggs
  • Fried foods


  • Dried fruits (unless they’ve been cooked over the stove until soft and mushy)
  • Crackers
  • Toast
  • Chips


  • Soy sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Pickles
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Most cheeses
  • Mushrooms
  • Sauerkraut


  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Sprouts
  • Greens (You can make leafy greens easier to digest by cooking them down with oil and seasoning)


Lemon and lime should be avoided the first two weeks postpartum.

Foods to favor postpartum

After the delivery of a baby, a mother’s digestive power is often diminished, and her digestive system is very delicate. Feeding her the best foods prepared in the easiest-to-digest ways will help ensure that she’s able to process the nutrients she needs to heal and produce milk (if she’s breastfeeding).

The following suggestions are time-tested from the ancient system of natural healthcare called Ayurveda.


  • Ricotta cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Other unfermented cheeses
  • Boiled milk
  • Sesame milk
  • Almond milk
  • Bone broth
  • Well-cooked lentils (after 4 weeks)
  • Chicken soup (after 4 weeks)
  • Fish soup (after 4 weeks)


  • Basmati or white rice (cooked with an extra 1/2 to 1 cup water per cup of rice)
  • Yams
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squashes
  • Oats
  • Quinoa


  • Freshly squeezed sweet fruit juices
  • Sweet, dried fruits (like apricots and prunes) cooked over the stove until soft and mushy
  • Avocados

VEGETABLES: (all cooked until soft using plenty of oil)

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Okra
  • Artichokes


  • Ginger
  • Fennel
  • Cinnamon
  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Cumin
  • Basil

P.S. Consider posting a sign-up sheet for meals at your baby shower or mother blessing so that you’re not having to do all the cooking postpartum. You can access an online sign-up sheet template that I created here.

9 healthy habits for pregnancy and childbirth

One of the most important decisions during pregnancy is where you plan to deliver. When I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t give much thought to it. I automatically assumed that I would give birth at the hospital where my OBGYN practiced. During the first couple of weeks of my second trimester, my husband and I made a cross-country move. In the time it took to pack up, move and unpack, I had completely changed my mind. It’s a long story, but suffice to say that I discovered the Free Birth Society podcast, and the birth experiences it shared really resonated with me. It nudged me to stop to consider my personality, my circumstances and what scenario felt most peaceful and supportive to me.  I’ve never loved clinical settings (despite the fact that my mom worked at a hospital for 30 years and my father still does). I’m soft spoken and not great at standing up for myself and was worried that my wishes would go unheard in a busy maternity ward. Plus, COVID-19 was a factor.

Ultimately, my partner and I decided to try for a home birth. I had the luxury of going part time at work for the last part of my pregnancy, so I was able to fully commit to studying and preparing for labor. At the time, I thought it was important to learn as much as possible because of the homebirth and the added responsibility you take on when you choose that path. In hindsight, I think it’s equally important for birthers who choose a hospital birth. It’s essential for your ability to advocate for yourself and for your baby and to make the best decisions for you.

The following is a summary of what I learned: ways the experts recommend that you take care of your body during pregnancy and in preparation for labor. This list is a combination of advice from my midwife, advice from the prenatal books I read (listed here) and what worked for me.

  1. Herbal teas. My midwife recommended NORA tea, named for its ingredients: Nettle Leaf, Oatstraw, Raspberry Leaf and Alfalfa Leaf. I purchased the individual herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and brewed a quart every day beginning about halfway through my second trimester, although you can begin anytime after 16 weeks. The  tea can improve the strength of contractions, release of the placenta after birth, lactation and bleeding postpartum. My midwife prefers NORA tea to the more mainstream Red Raspberry Leaf tea, although I used that too in a pinch. NORA tea is a bit of an acquired taste; I added the herb Lemon Balm to add some variety of flavor towards the end of my pregnancy. This article provides an in-depth description of NORA tea’s benefits as well as the recipe I used.  
  2. Dates. A small study published in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology suggests that eating six red dates per day from 36 weeks onward appears to result in shorter, easier labors. Noor dates are preferable; if you use Majool dates instead, then reduce the number to 3 per day.
  3. Squats. According to Ina May Gaskin, the most well-respected midwife of our time, squats are critical to a healthy pregnancy. In Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, she says, “I suggest daily squatting as part of your morning routine. Start with ten on the first day and increase that number as the days pass. Three hundred a day would not be too many. I have noticed that first-time mothers over thirty tend to have shorter labors since I began sharing the virtues of squatting.”
  4. Yoga. Prenatal yoga was so beneficial to me, particularly in alleviating the late-pregnancy aches and pains. Yoga can help with the baby’s position in the womb, which is critical for a healthy delivery. In Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, she says: “Good posture and movement will make it less likely for your baby to settle into a more challenging position in the final weeks of pregnancy.” If you decide to do yoga during pregnancy, it is vital to find an instructor who understands the pregnant body so that he or she can guide you with appropriate modifications and prevent injuries. Regardless of your fitness level, there are certain poses (like twists) that are contraindicated for pregnancy. Your body also produces a hormone called relaxin that loosens your ligaments, giving you a false sense of flexibility, which can lead to strained muscles. Bottom line, find an expert to help you navigate these changes and strengthen your body in preparation for labor. (You might also consider YOGA Birth Method which includes yoga poses appropriate for each trimester and during labor as well as breathwork suggestions for each phase of labor.
  5. Perineal massage. Between 34 and 36 weeks, you can begin a daily massage of the tissues between the openings of the vagina and the anus. Prepping this area for labor can help reduce tearing, reduce the number of stitches and soften existing scar tissue. My physical therapist shared this animated how-to video with me, and I found it really helpful. I used sesame oil mixed with a couple drops of geranium oil.
  6. Walks. Make time for 30-minute walks outside every day. It’s good for the body and the soul.
  7. Nutrition. One of the most important ways to prevent complications and improve your health during pregnancy is to eat a nutritious diet. Drink water, limit preservatives and ensure that you’re eating enough fruits and vegetables, particularly dark, leafy greens and orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes and yams) since they contain important vitamins that you need during pregnancy. You also should aim for 50-75 grams of protein per day. The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth is a great resource for meal planning because it explains what nutrition your baby needs each week based on its development. Ultimately, listen to your body. Your cravings are clues that tell you what your body needs more of.
  8. Stress. Chronic stress impacts every system of the body; a growing fetus is no exception. If you don’t already have a daily practice like yoga, breathwork, meditation, walking in nature, devotional or journaling, I highly recommend starting one now.
  9. Hollywood labor. In Western parts of the world, all we know of labor is what we’ve seen dramatized on tv and in movies; as a result, our associations with birth are fear and pain. Unlike our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who were accustomed to home births, we’ve likely never seen birth up close. In Birthing from Within, Pam England addresses the misconceptions and fear that first-time parents have of labor and childbirth. Midwives, including my own, stress the importance of reframing the pain of labor and instead, focusing on the intensity of the sensations and working with them, not against them, to birth your baby. I highly recommend that you watch videos or read accounts of actual births to reset your expectations. (The Free Birth Society Instagram account and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth are both good resources.)

I cannot stress enough the value I’ve found in the midwifery model of care and how it contributed to my pregnancy, labor and childbirth. The advice is so logical, holistic and accessible, and it spans not just physical health but emotional health as well. If you have the option and the resources, I highly recommend hiring a midwife or doula to support you during your journey. The attentive, supportive care you receive helps you feel healthy, strong, confident, prepared and empowered every step of the way.