Most pregnant women will experience “morning sickness” which is the feeling of nausea during pregnancy. About one third of women will also experience vomiting. The term morning sickness can be misleading as most women experience nausea throughout the day and not only in the morning.
Morning sickness is very common and usually occurs in the first trimester (13 weeks) of pregnancy. For most women, it begins during the first month of pregnancy and begins to resolve at the beginning of the second trimester (14-16 weeks). Some women have nausea and vomiting through their entire pregnancy.
While morning sickness is one of the more bothersome pregnancy symptoms for moms, it does not hurt the baby in any way unless it becomes severe. Mild weight loss during the first trimester is expected in women with morning sickness as well as from other dietary changes and possible food aversions.
The experience of morning sickness during one pregnancy does not necessarily predict how you will feel in subsequent pregnancies.
The cause of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is multi-factorial. It can be caused by hormone changes associated with pregnancy and lower blood sugar during early pregnancy. Situational causes also exist such as fatigue, emotional stress, and some foods and lack of food can make the problem worse. Morning sickness is more common and can be worse with multiple pregnancy (twins or triplets).
Over-the-Counter Medications (OTC)
*Always check with your medical provider prior to taking any medications including OTC medication.
- Vitamin B6- 25mg three times per day
- Dramamine- 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours as needed (maximum 8 tablets per day)
- Unisom- 1 tablet at bedtime as needed
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your doctor if:
- Morning sickness does not improve after trying home remedies. There are prescription medications that can help
- You are vomiting more than 3 times per day
- You are unable to keep food and liquids down for more than 24 hours
- You vomit blood or any substance that looks like coffee grounds
What You Can Do
- Try taking your prenatal vitamins at night instead of in the morning.
- Keep food in your stomach! An empty tummy can make nausea worse.
- Instead of large meals, eat snacks every 2 hours throughout the day and get plenty of fluids
- Focus on foods that are high in protein and complex carbs (nuts, low-fat cheese, whole grain crackers or bread, milk, yogurt, peanut butter with fruit or veggie slices)
- Avoid fatty, spicy, or fried foods
- Keep crackers by your bed and have one or two even before you get out of bed in the morning.
- Have a small snack before going to bed at night
- Increase vitamin B6 in your diet by eating bran, garlic, sunflower and sesame seeds, hazel nuts, fish (salmon, tuna, and cod).
- Eat or drink Ginger products: Ginger candy, soda, or tea. Grating fresh ginger root makes for a very effective ginger tea
- Try keeping sour candy in your purse or pockets, for some women sour candy can relieve nausea.
- Acupressure and or acupuncture (Check with your provider before pursuing these techniques)
- Avoid smoking as well as secondhand smoke
- Use a fan to keep air flowing and reduce odors in the house