Is Diclectin Effective? Survival Tips For Nausea & Vomiting During Pregnancy
A couple of weeks ago, I heard and read a report by the CBC on Dr. Nevindra Persaud, an Ontario physician, and his review of an unpublished clinical trial on Diclectin, a medication that is commonly prescribed to treat nausea during pregnancy.
Although he is able to clarify that there is no big safety concern with the drug, he says that no medication is one hundred percent safe and that there is some evidence that there is a minor increase in certain risks with the medication. However, he is mainly concerned with evidence that Diclectin is no more effective than a placebo sugar pill. Although he was forced to sign a confidentiality pact which prevents him from sharing details about the study, he states that based on his review of the study, he would no longer prescribe Diclectin to his patients.
Diclectin is very commonly used and many of our pregnant patients take it. Some don’t find it very helpful at all, while others find it takes the ‘edge’ off. Often it will prevent actual vomiting, which can help women cope better with the actual nausea. Sometimes, albeit rarely, have I seen it take the nausea completely away. Most of the time, women report feeling drowsy or ‘foggy-headed’ when they take it.
For the most part, regardless of whether or not they have tried Diclectin, patients find that acupuncture and some of these other tips are helpful:
We generally recommend once per week through the first trimester, but the frequency and timing of treatments also depends on the severity and response of each patient.
Read one pregnant woman’s story about how acupuncture was the only thing that helped relieve her nausea.
Click here to read about a randomized controlled trial conducted at a teaching hospital in Adelaide, Australia that concludes acupuncture is an effective treatment for pregnant women suffering from nausea and dry retching in early pregnancy.
Acupressure: You can purchase ‘Seabands’ at most pharmacies or health stores. They come with instructions for applying pressure on special pressure points known to reduce nausea.
Stay hydrated: Even slight dehydration can exacerbate the nausea. Throughout pregnancy, your body’s water content increases by 6-8L during pregnancy. The extra water is needed to support increase in plasma volume, as well as production and maintenance of amniotic fluid and the placenta- all critical to the growth and development of your baby.
If you find it difficult to drink water or keep it down, try taking small sips of water at a time. You can also try soups, teas, carbonated drinks, or ice water. Some women find sucking on ice cubes helpful too.
Also try to drink fluids ½ hour before or after meals rather than during meals.
Some fluids that women have tried and found helpful:
· 1 Tbs Apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of boiling water with honey to taste
· peppermint tea
· fresh ginger in hot water and/or fresh lemon or orange in hot water
· gingerale or carbonated water with lemon
· miso soup
· potato soup
Stabilize your blood sugar levels: Your body’s metabolic rate increases during pregnancy, this in addition to other big physiological changes taking place makes you more susceptible to low blood sugar.
Eating small frequent meals helps to stabilize your blood sugar. Try to have a snack that includes protein every 1½ to 2 hours. Sugary foods cause your blood sugar to quickly spike, whereas protein or other low glycemic index foods will help to stabilize it. You may be experiencing food aversions, so do your best.
Examples of foods that some women have found helpful:
· almonds, cashews, walnuts, or other nuts
· crackers with nut butters or cheese
· white bread with protein filling (cheese, cream cheese, humous, or nut butter)
· baked potato with sour cream
· minced quality meat in mashed potato with or without gravy
· mac n cheese
· toasted chickpeas
· protein smoothies
Get plenty of rest: Your body is working hard to grow a placenta and a human, make sure to support its efforts by getting lots of rest. Fatigue will make the nausea worse, don’t hesitate to sleep when your body wants to.
If you are having issues with sleep, try making some sleep hygiene changes, have a snack by your bedside to eat if the nausea is keeping you up, or some women find sleeping with a pillow held against their torso helps with the nausea. If you are experiencing some acid reflux, try sleeping propped up. Consult with your health care provider for support if you are facing other challenges with sleep.
Dodge strong smells: Increased hormone levels and vascularization in your nose during pregnancy increases your sense of smell to bionic proportions. And unfortunately, you’ve probably noticed that these smells can trigger the nausea.
Some tips you might find helpful:
· place peppermint oil drops in an essential oil diffusor
· place slices of lemon, orange and/or ginger in a simmering pot of hot water
· place a drop of eucalyptus oil on a tissue and tuck it into your bra
· keep fresh orange peels on hand, inhaling the scent that escapes as you fold and break the peel can pleasantly overpower any triggering smells
There you have it. Hang in there! Most of the time the nausea peaks around 9-10 weeks and dissipates by 12-14 weeks. Your appetite will eventually normalize and your energy will likely return too. The second trimester is usually much more smooth sailing – no more sea-sickness!
Dr. Alda Ngo