Nausea & Vomiting - "Morning Sickness"

Almost half of all pregnant women experience nausea during pregnancy and about a third will have instances of vomiting. The severity of nausea or vomiting varies tremendously. Some women suffer only mild nausea while others develop severe nausea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting generally peak between the sixth and twelfth weeks of pregnancy.

What causes nausea?

In general, it is believed that nausea and vomiting are caused by the increased level of hormones in the bloodstream during pregnancy. Although nausea and vomiting are most common in the morning (“morning sickness”), they may occur anytime throughout the day or night. They may be triggered by fatigue, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and certain odors. They may also be associated with certain spicy, fried, or fatty foods. You may be able to relieve nausea and vomiting by modifying your meal plan or daily eating pattern.

These tips may help alleviate your nausea:

  • Nibble on a few soda crackers, a handful of dry cereal, or a piece of dry toast. Place these within reach of your bed the night before and eat them 15 to 30 minutes before rising. Get up slowly in the morning and move slowly when dressing. Try to avoid sudden movements

  • Eat small snacks throughout the day instead of big meals. Never go for long periods of time without food.

  • Drink fluids between meals instead of with meals.

  • Sip on room-temperature ginger ale, or clear soda

  • Avoid greasy and/or fried foods such as margarine, mayonnaise, bacon, gravy, fried meats, and French fries.

  • Avoid spicy foods and excessive use of black pepper, red pepper, chili, and garlic.

  • If luncheon type foods are more appealing than breakfast type foods then eat lunch in the morning.

  • When you cook, open windows or use an exhaust fan to eliminate food odors.

  • Avoid strong odors

  • Avoid cigarette smoke.

  • Substitute bread or crackers for fruit or vegetable choices in your meal plan. Ask a nutritionist for some specific suggestions.

  • Ask yourself these questions:
    • - Are there any foods which seem to help the nausea and vomiting? OR
    • - Are there any foods which seem to make the nausea or vomiting worse?

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and cola. Also, avoid carbonated beverages.

  • Take nutrient supplements such as prenatal vitamins and/or pills after meals to avoid an upset stomach.

  • Sea Bands are sometimes helpful. These are elastic wrist bands worn continuously on your wrists and are available at local pharmacies for about ten dollars.

  • Some women get relief from taking ginger capsules. These are available at the Natural Pantry or can be made from gelatin capsules and powdered ginger.

  • Vitamin B6 may help and can be taken up to 200 mg per day.

  • Follow the BRAT diet:  bland foods such as bananas, rice/rice cakes, applesauce, toast, tea, etc.

  • To drink, you may want to try flat ginger ale, water, or mint tea.