Midwife Matters

Pregnancy preparations, women's health, and care options

Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

on March 1, 2013

Pregnant_purpleYou could hardly wait to become pregnant and now it has finally happened!  As thrilled as you are, you soon realize that morning sickness can be an incredibly uncomfortable problem during pregnancy.  Morning sickness, or nausea in pregnancy can interfere with your daily life.  Each woman and each pregnancy can be different.  That sick feeling usually begins around the 6th week of pregnancy and for many women ends around the 16th week. Fortunately, for a lot of women the vomiting and queasiness go away at some point during the day so they can begin feeling hungry again and keeping some food down.  These kinds of episodes can occur at any time during the day, not just the morning and typically are not harmful to you or your tiny baby.

Nobody knows exactly why so many women get morning sickness during pregnancy.  However, there are helpful tips that you can try to alleviate your chances of nausea, these include:

  •  Eating a few crackers in the morning before you get out of bed.  Set them next to your bed the night before. Lay in bed  for about 15 minutes, relax and let your stomach settle before getting up in the morning.  Always get up slowly.  Try to eat small snacks during the day between meals and don’t let your stomach become empty.  Skipping meals is never a good idea.
  •  Eat what you feel like eating when you feel like eating it.  Everybody has the story of wanting ice cream at midnight. I wanted a McDonald’s hamburger like crazy once and I wouldn’t normally even consider eating such a thing!
  • It is usually best to avoid spicy, fatty or fried foods. Also, try not to lie down right after eating a larger meal.  If smells bother you that can be a part of pregnancy as well.  Try to keep windows open and fresh air flowing.
  • Definitely feel free to ask other people to help you with cooking or walk away from smells that can be irritating.     Sometimes eating cold foods can be easier than hot items since they tend to have less of a smell. In addition they can actually be soothing on an irritated stomach.  I loved chocolate shakes during pregnancy
  • Trying ginger, lemons or peppermint has been found to relieve nausea.  Make sure that you are using real ginger, not artificial. Ginger root tea, ginger gum or snaps and fresh ginger or syrup added to water are all safe. Peppermint oil on a cotton ball, which is safety pinned to your clothing may help control nausea associated with odors. For some women salty chips, crackers, or pickles can settle the stomach enough to eat a larger meal.
  • Staying hydrated is important so continue drinking small amounts of fluids frequently during the day. Although something may have been your favorite drink before pregnancy, you might have to try new things.  I found 7up worked far better for my nausea than Sprite.
  • Always try to get plenty of rest because nausea can worsen when you get tired.  This is a time in your life to nap and pregnant women in their first trimester tend to need more sleep anyway.  You may miss some work or other activities might have to wait, so try to rely more on family and friends until things improve.
  • If you’re able, try taking your prenatal vitamins with food or just before bed.  Also, a vitamin lower in iron may alleviate this side effect. If the multivitamin worsens your nausea, you could consider just taking the folic acid 400 mcg alone on a daily basis until your nausea resolves.
  • For many women acupressure bands, called Seabands, can also provide relief from nausea.  The small plastic button on the bracelet pushes against an acupuncture point.  They are reasonably priced and available over the counter.
  • Doxylamine has been used to reduce vomiting and is found in over-the-counter products such as Unisom.  In addition, Benadryl 25-50mg, before bedtime can help alleviate nausea and promote a good night’s sleep.  These are both considered well-tested and safe medications to take in pregnancy. Finally, Vitamin B6 10-25 milligrams taken 3 times daily has been found to help with nausea, although may be less effective with vomiting.

However, if none of these things seem to be helping then it might be time to visit your Midwife.   There are other prescription medications available which may provide you with some much needed relief.  Additionally, for about 1-2% of the population, pregnancy results in a condition involving excessive vomiting call Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  The condition can be difficult to manage and may require IV fluids and medications.  Maintaining contact with your health care provider allows earlier recognition and treatment, which can be so helpful to both you and your unborn baby.


One response to “Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

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