More Than Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

By Pregnancy & Parenting Team Oct 21, 2015

Nausea and vomiting can be one of the first signs you are pregnant. Between 50 and 90 percent of women have some degree of nausea, with or without vomiting and with varying degrees of severity.

Even though we call it morning sickness, it can occur any time during the day or night. There are theories about why nausea occurs involving hormonal changes, abnormal gastric motility as well as psychological factors, but the cause is not completely known. The nausea and vomiting should usually improve around 12 to 14 weeks into pregnancy, so if your symptoms are persisting or worsening, you should tell your provider so they can determine if further evaluation is necessary.

What can I do?

While mild nausea and vomiting is not dangerous to baby, it can be incredibly uncomfortable and inconvenient. There are several treatment options that might quell your symptoms. These might not completely eliminate it, so you may need to try several types of treatments over a period of weeks before finding what works best for you.

  1. Eat small frequent meals to avoid feeling hungry.
  2. Avoid lying down after eating.
  3. Eat crackers when you wake up first thing in the morning and then rest for 15 minutes before getting up.
  4. Avoid foods or smells that trigger your nausea.
  5. Eat bland foods that are high in protein or carbohydrates and low in fat.
  6. Sip on fluids throughout the day but drink between meals and not during.
  7. Try not to swallow excessive saliva.
  8. Go for a walk and get some fresh air.
  9. Rest.
  10. Reduce stress.
  11. Incorporate real ginger into your diet. (ginger ale, grate ginger into hot water, crystalized ginger)
  12. Drink peppermint tea or eat candies.
  13. Hypnosis.
  14. Counseling. Some researchers think the condition can be a psychological reaction against the pregnancy and might arise from conflict within the family and her home environment. In these cases, counseling is recommended.
  15. Aromatherapy – scents such as lemon, mint, or orange may be useful.

Food ideas to help relieve nausea

  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Pickles
  • Lemonade
  • Brown rice
  • Mushroom soup
  • Peanut butter
  • Celery sticks
  • Apple slices
  • Nuts
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Gelatin
  • Broth
  • Bread
  • Noodles
  • Watermelon
  • Fruity popsicles
  • Crackers

If changing your diet and trying these tips doesn’t improve your condition, there are medications you can take to try and relieve your symptoms.

  • Vitamin B6 (25-50mg every eight hours) and doxylamine (eg. Unisom) 25mg taken at night
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) – 25 to 50mg every 4-8 hours -may cause drowsiness
  • Meclizine (Antivert) – 25mg every 4-6 hours -may cause drowsiness
  • Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) – 50 to 100mg every 4-6 hours

Your health care provider can also prescribe medication to help reduce your nausea and vomiting.

Seek help if you have one or more of the following:

  • Signs of dehydration, including infrequent urination, dark-colored urine or dizziness with standing.
  • Vomiting repeatedly throughout the day, especially if you see blood in the vomit.
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain or cramping.
  • If you are unable to keep down any food or drinks for more than 12 hours.
  • You lose more than 5 pounds.

And while it won’t help you now, if you plan to get pregnant again, make sure to be taking a multivitamin at the time of conception and in early pregnancy. It may help prevent severe morning sickness, though no one knows why.

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