Morning Sickness

ExitCare ImageMorning sickness is when you feel sick to your stomach (nauseous) during pregnancy. This nauseous feeling may or may not come with vomiting. It often occurs in the morning but can be a problem any time of day. Morning sickness is most common during the first trimester, but it may continue throughout pregnancy. While morning sickness is unpleasant, it is usually harmless unless you develop severe and continual vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum). This condition requires more intense treatment.

CAUSES

The cause of morning sickness is not completely known but seems to be related to normal hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy.

RISK FACTORS

You are at greater risk if you:

  • Experienced nausea or vomiting before your pregnancy.

  • Had morning sickness during a previous pregnancy.

  • Are pregnant with more than one baby, such as twins.

TREATMENT

Do not use any medicines (prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal) for morning sickness without first talking to your health care provider. Your health care provider may prescribe or recommend:

  • Vitamin B6 supplements.

  • Anti-nausea medicines.

  • The herbal medicine ginger.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines as directed by your health care provider.

  • Taking multivitamins before getting pregnant can prevent or decrease the severity of morning sickness in most women.  

  • Eat a piece of dry toast or unsalted crackers before getting out of bed in the morning.  

  • Eat five or six small meals a day.  

  • Eat dry and bland foods (rice, baked potato ). Foods high in carbohydrates are often helpful. 

  • Do not drink liquids with your meals. Drink liquids between meals.  

  • Avoid greasy, fatty, and spicy foods.  

  • Get someone to cook for you if the smell of any food causes nausea and vomiting.  

  • If you feel nauseous after taking prenatal vitamins, take the vitamins at night or with a snack. 

  • Snack on protein foods (nuts, yogurt, cheese) between meals if you are hungry.  

  • Eat unsweetened gelatins for desserts.  

  • Wearing an acupressure wristband (worn for sea sickness) may be helpful.  

  • Acupuncture may be helpful.  

  • Do not smoke.  

  • Get a humidifier to keep the air in your house free of odors.  

  • Get plenty of fresh air.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your home remedies are not working, and you need medicine.

  • You feel dizzy or lightheaded.

  • You are losing weight.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have persistent and uncontrolled nausea and vomiting.

  • You pass out (faint).