Ginger has many benefits for pregnant women. Researching what you can and cannot do in early pregnancy can be overwhelming, so we asked Dr. Michelle Frank to break down some of the extensive clinical research around the benefits of ginger in pregnancy.
From nausea to acidity, your first trimester is probably riddled with some new not-so-easy-to-handle discomfort. For most of your pregnancy, medications will always be off-limits. So it can get relatively difficult to find ways to manage these early pregnancy discomforts.
Which makes pregnancy a great time to explore natural options towards tackling early pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness.
While the list of all the natural goodness available to us is endless, we will discuss one enviable contender, ginger.
Can Ginger Help with Morning Sickness?
Yes! Ginger is a culinary favorite, often added to our most sought-after dishes. The compounds in ginger that give it a unique flavor also give ginger it's medicinal benefits.
Ginger has multiple benefits during both pregnancy and the postpartum phase. Ginger has been studied for its positive effects in reducing both nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Moms-to-be, like yourself, have very few options among medicines to ease symptoms such as nausea during pregnancy, so ginger is great natural remedy.
Nausea or "Morning Sickness" generally kicks in around week 6 - 8 of pregnancy and will taper down in your second trimester. Pregnancy-related nausea is your body reacting to the sudden surge in hormones. There is also a change in the microbiota within your gut during pregnancy that can aggravate the nausea that you are experiencing. Although it is referred to as morning sickness, it is common for women to experience symptoms at any time of day.
Active compounds, gingerols and shogaols, present within the ginger increase stomach emptying. This innate property reduces the likelihood of developing nausea in relation to any food consumed and helps with bloating and constipation. The spice ginger is additionally a great solution for first-trimester nausea, due to its effects on the serotonin receptors in your digestive tract - the primary receptors associated with nausea and vomiting.
Is Ginger Safe During Pregnancy?
For the most part, ginger has minimal side effects. Any side effect noted is when ginger is consumed in excess. Generally, 1 - 2 g of ginger, spread out in two to three helpings throughout the day should has been used in many clinical studies and causes no harm when used for pregnancy-related nausea.
Studies have also been conducted to this light. These have proven that other than a mild tummy upset from excess ginger, there are no harmful effects to the pregnancy.
This also means that you can continue drinking recoup close to your due date as ginger has been proven to be a great ally throughout pregnancy for nausea and vomiting. The only possible scenario where you might want to ease up on the ginger are the weeks leading up to your delivery. Because ginger can help thin the blood, there have been some indication it can be associated with increased bleeding. However, the best person to guide you through this would be your healthcare professional.
Ginger Beyond Pregnancy
While ginger can work wonders for first-trimester nausea, it has multiple benefits for use in postpartum healing and recovery.
A notable mention is its ability to increase milk production postpartum, as soon as 24 hours following delivery. The use of ginger to manage postpartum pain also has some promising research. Ginger is also a known anti-inflammatory agent, a crucial aspect to be considered during the healing phase following delivery.
Ginger drinks in your postpartum phase can also help with the pesky bloating that will linger during your fourth trimester. It is good to note at this point that while small amounts of ginger, especially those found with ginger drinks, assist with bloating, excessive ginger could potentially worsen the bloat.
Once your periods start once again, ginger has been linked to effectively assisting with menstrual cramps. Ginger works by lowering both the pain and duration of menstrual pain. It is most effective if you start taking your ginger drink a few days leading up to your period and on throughout your menstruation. For some menstruators, the effect of ginger on their menstrual cramps was equal to taking their usual painkiller.
A final mention is an immune boost that ginger provides. It is known to have both antiviral and antibacterial properties. Since both pregnancy and the postpartum phases are linked with lowered immune states, consider adding that dash of ginger to your daily meals.
Now browsing through the long list of benefits ginger has, it can be tedious to consider the different ways to incorporate the most natural form of the spice. Often grating a little ginger while your tea is brewing or to your favorite beverage is sufficient. Recoup works wonderfully to incorporate two teaspoons of cold-pressed organic ginger, an amount ideal for tackling morning sickness.
Avoid cooking ginger excessively, as it can eliminate the natural benefits that the spice has to offer. Often a dash of ginger to most of your favorite meals can also help to add both flavor and tackle your nausea.
When in doubt about the amount of ginger to consume, never hesitate to consult with your healthcare provider. This is especially true when you start new supplements or medications during your pregnancy.