#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Bitter Kola In Pregnancy


Q: Hey Dr Ketch. I hope this meets you in good spirits. Is it safe to eat bitter kola during your first trimester? Someone told me it can cause a miscarriage. I’m 7 weeks gone by the way and the morning sickness is not kind on me at all. So far bitter kola relieves the nausea. Please enlighten me

A: Thanks for your question and congratulations on your pregnancy

Bitter kola typically contains caffeine and it is generally recommended to avoid caffeine in pregnancy. Although the amount in the serving portion of a piece of bitter kola may not cause a problem, please be sure to fully discuss your diet plan with your doctor.

To deal with the morning sickness of pregnancy, here are some tips:

The standard teaching is to try eating some bland foods like Crackers biscuits or dry toast. That personally didn’t work for me. I preferred tart things…which some may want to avoid. I loved lemons during my pregnancies. They were the one thing guaranteed to ‘wake up’ my mouth and chase nausea far away. I also had a particular brand of very tart bubble gum, I indulged in 😀 These were key for me because, though I didn’t have the real bad case of morning sickness that sent you to the hospital, brushing my teeth in the morning always sent me into a bout of retching/vomiting. So, I always had a ready supply of the gum or lemon/lime to pop into my mouth once I was done brushing/retching! Not a very pleasant memory ;D

So, if lemons work for you to prevent nausea, go for it. Remember that moderation is key. A few drops (one or two) in a glass of water are enough to provide that tart kick that sends nausea far away. There is a catch here though…remember the heart burn associated with pregnancy. The acid content of lemon might make the heart burn and any pre-existing gastro-esophageal (stomach and esophagus/gullet) problems worse. So, this is all the more reason to be very moderate or stop if it exacerbates an already bad case of heart burn. Wherever and whenever in doubt, please be sure to see your doctor.

Other tips:

• Eat little amounts of food frequently as an empty tummy increases the likelihood of throwing up. Remember this is not an excuse to binge and over eat

• Avoid fatty and greasy foods.• Avoid smells that trigger nausea

• Cold foods may be preferable to hot as the former does not give off smells that may cause you to feel queasy.

• Get loads of fresh air and rest

• And drink sufficient fluids daily

More importantly, women going through this need love and support more than ever. If you can’t stand cooking now, because of this, get help etc.

Some nutrition tips for a pregnant woman:

  1. Eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods from different food groups.
  2. Be sure to include a lot of high fibre foods like vegetables, whole grain cereals etc to deal with the constipation associated with pregnancy.
  3. Ensure you take your antenatal medications (prenatal vitamins) in addition to eating well.
  4. Drink at least 4 servings of milk, other dairy products or calcium rich foods. If you don’t eat enough, your baby will start drawing on your own stock from your bones. So, drink up your milk!
  5. Be sure to also take foods rich in iron eg and foods rich in folic acid eg green leafy veggies and beans. World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women receive folic acid and iron tablets daily. Folic acid prevents neural tube defects which may occur during the first 28days of pregnancy. This is usually the period when quite a number of women do not even know they are pregnant. Thus, women who plan on getting pregnant should start on folic acid supplements at least 3 months before their planned date to safeguard against neural tube defects. If you haven’t started this earlier and realize you’re pregnant, start taking them as soon as possible.

Pregnancy provides an opportunity for a mother to adequately prepare her baby for life in 9 months. Make sure that you get all the nutrients that give your child a great health boost.

Have a great evening y’all 😀

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