Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is when you feel sick to your stomach (nauseous) during pregnancy. This nauseous feeling may or may not come with throwing up (vomiting). It often occurs in the morning, but can be a problem any time of day. 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 a sudden increase of two hormones:

  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

  • Estrogen hormone.

These are elevated in the first part of the pregnancy.

TREATMENT

Do not use any medicines (prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal) for morning sickness without first talking to your caregiver. Some patients are helped by the following:

  • Vitamin B6 (25mg every 8 hours) or vitamin B6 shots.

  • An antihistamine called doxylamine (10mg every 8 hours).

  • The herbal medication ginger.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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 5 or 6 small meals a day.

  • Eat dry and bland foods (rice, baked potato).

  • 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.

  • Avoid vitamin pills with iron because iron can cause nausea.

  • Snack on protein foods between meals if you are hungry.

  • Eat unsweetened gelatins for deserts.

  • Wear 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.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your home remedies are not working and you need medication.

  • You feel dizzy or lightheaded.

  • You are losing weight.

  • You need help with your diet.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have persistent and uncontrolled nausea and vomiting.

  • You pass out (faint).

  • You have a fever.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.