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  • Michael Frey, MD

Morning Sickness


Morning sickness usually begins during the first month of pregnancy and continues until the 14th to 16th week.


Some women can have nausea and vomiting throughout their entire pregnancy.


Morning sickness is very common and does not hurt the baby in any way. The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown. However, it may be caused by either hormonal changes or lower blood sugar during early pregnancy. Emotional stress, traveling, or some foods can aggravate the problem.

Causes

The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown. It may be caused by hormone changes or lower blood sugar during early pregnancy. Emotional stress, fatigue, traveling, or some foods can make the problem worse. Nausea in pregnancy is more common and can be worse with twins or triplets.


Home Care

Try to keep a positive attitude. Remember that in most cases morning sickness stops after the first 3 or 4 months of pregnancy. To reduce nausea, try:

  • Separate food and drink by at least one hour.

  • Do not eat 1 hour before bedtime.

  • sleep on at least 2 pillows to keep your head elevated.

  • A few soda crackers or dry toast when you first wake up, even before you get out of bed in the morning.

  • A small snack at bedtime and when getting up to go to the bathroom at night.

  • Avoid large meals; instead, snack as often as every 1 to 2 hours during the day and drink plenty of fluids.

  • Eat foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates, such as peanut butter on apple slices or celery; nuts; cheese; crackers; milk; cottage cheese; and yogurt; avoid foods high in fat and salt, but low in nutrition.

  • Ginger products such as ginger tea, ginger candy, and ginger soda help prevent morning sickness. Try Sparkling Mamma's Fizzelixir or Preggie Pops.



  • Peppermint products work well too.


  • Acupressure wrist bands or acupuncture may help. You can find these bands in drug, health food, and travel and boating stores. If you are thinking about trying acupuncture, talk to your doctor and look for an acupuncturist who is trained to work with pregnant women.

  • Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.

  • When you feel nauseated, bland foods like gelatin, broth, ginger ale, and saltine crackers can soothe your stomach.

  • Take your prenatal vitamins at night.

  • Increase vitamin B6 in your diet by eating whole grains, nuts, seeds, peas, and beans (legumes). Talk to your doctor about possibly taking vitamin B6 supplements.

  • Doxylamine is another medicine that is known to be safe.

  • DO NOT let yourself get too hungry or too full.

  • Drink plenty of liquids.

  • Seltzer, ginger ale or other sparkling waters may help control symptoms.

  • To get some extra calories try drinking Boost or Ensure.


What Else Can I Try?

Try changing how you take your prenatal vitamins.

  • Take them at night, since the iron they contain may irritate your stomach. At night, you might be able to sleep through this. Also take them with a little food, not on an empty stomach.

  • You may have to try several different brands of prenatal vitamins before finding one you can tolerate.

  • You can also try cutting your prenatal vitamins in half. Take half in the morning and the other half at night.​

Some other tips are:

  • Keep your morning activities slow and calm.

  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces that trap food odors or other smells.

  • DO NOT smoke cigarettes or be in areas where people are smoking.

  • Get extra sleep and try to lessen stress as much as possible.

Are There Any Drugs To Treat Morning Sickness?

Vitamin B6 (100 mg or less daily) has been shown to ease symptoms of morning sickness. Many providers recommend trying it first before trying other medicines.

Diclegis, a combination of doxylamine succinate and pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating morning sickness.

In severe cases, you may be admitted to the hospital, where you will receive fluids through an IV (into your vein).

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