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These 9 tips can help curb your morning sickness

If you’re in your first trimester of pregnancy, it’s likely that you’re experiencing queasiness, nausea and vomiting — this is called morning sickness and, unfortunately, it might be here to stay for a few more weeks.

More than half of pregnant women experience morning sickness which, unlike its name suggests, can strike at any time of the day or night. However, it’s more likely to strike when your stomach is empty after waking up. While morning sickness might make you feel miserable, it’s good to know that it’s not hurting your baby. 

Remedies for morning sickness

If you’re pregnant and experiencing typical nausea and morning sickness, you can try these home remedies to get some relief:

  1. Medications: Following your doctor’s advice, certain antihistamines, such as doxylamine (the active ingredient in Unisom), may help relieve your morning sickness.
  2. Ginger: After taking it for a few days, ginger may relieve your symptoms. It usually comes in the form of a powder in a capsule, but you can also add fresh ginger to hot water for tea.
  3. Vitamin B6 and B12: Again, following the advice of your doctor, these supplements can help reduce your nausea and vomiting.
  4. Acupressure: This helps relieve nausea for some women. You have a pressure point located at the middle of the inner wrist and three finger lengths away from the crease of the wrist, in between the two tendons. If you locate this point and press firmly, one wrist at a time for three minutes, you might start feeling better.
  5. Pay attention to triggers: Avoid any smells and foods that make you feel nauseated. Citrus juice, milk, coffee and caffeinated tea commonly make nausea worse for many pregnant women.
  6. Stick to foods you can stomach: Try picking foods that are high in carbohydrates, low in fat and easy to digest. Foods might include rice, bananas, saltine crackers or toast. Salty foods are sometimes helpful, in addition to foods that contain ginger — such as ginger lollipops. Avoid greasy, spicy and fatty foods.
  7. Eat often: An empty stomach can make your nausea worse. Eat five or six small meals every day instead of three big meals. 
    "If you experience nausea in the morning, eat a small snack like crackers or dry toast before you get out of bed. Allow the snack to digest for a few minutes before slowly getting out of bed," says Heather Mecone, a certified nurse midwife at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center and Geisinger Community Medical Center.
  8. Drink plenty of fluids: Vomiting can dehydrate you, so it’s important to make sure you’re taking in enough fluids, including water, sports drinks, broth or juice.
  9. Get rest: Try your best to get quality sleep – stress and fatigue can make nausea worse.

How long does morning sickness last?

For most women, morning sickness subsides after the first trimester (somewhere between week 12 to week 14). However, some women may experience symptoms into their second and third trimesters. Some women never experience morning sickness at all.

"Most women who suffer from morning sickness won’t need medical intervention to treat it," says Ms. Mecone. "But if you find that you can’t get relief from the nausea and vomiting, you should talk to your doctor."

Can morning sickness be serious? Hyperemesis gravidarum, explained.

While morning sickness tends to be mild and disappears about halfway through pregnancy, some women suffer from severe morning sickness - a rare but serious condition called hyperemesis gravidarum.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, hyperemesis gravidarum is characterized by "severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and electrolyte disturbance" due to an increase in hormones.

"The inability to keep food down and get all the nutrition needed when a woman is pregnant needs to be watched very closely," explains Ms. Mecone. "If you can’t keep any food or fluids down for 24 hours, have lost weight or become dehydrated – call your doctor.”

Mild hyperemesis gravidarum cases are treated by changing the mother’s diet, getting extra rest and taking antacids. More severe cases may require IV fluids to hydrate the mother and restore electrolytes, vitamins and other nutrients. In some cases, the mother may be hospitalized for a few days. 

"The majority of women will not have a condition as rare and severe as hyperemesis gravidarum, though 70 to 80 percent of women will experience the effects of morning sickness, particularly during their first trimester," says Ms. Mecone.

Next steps:

Learn more about pregnancy care at Geisinger
Make a prenatal appointment
Request an appointment with Heather Mecone, CNM