What to do about morning sickness

Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy is usually called “morning sickness,” even though you may feel sick at any time of the day or night. Most women experience morning sickness during the first three to four months of pregnancy, and most cases are mild — causing no harm.

This results in many women not gaining any weight; some may even lose a little weight during their first trimester. Hormonal changes during pregnancy probably contribute to morning sickness, but the exact cause is unknown. What we do know is that emotional stress, certain smells, and some foods can worsen the nausea associated with morning sickness.

Taking prenatal vitamins at conception and during the beginning of pregnancy may reduce the severity of symptoms. It is also recommended that women experiencing nausea or vomiting eat smaller but more frequent meals comprised of bland foods (such as white rice, applesauce, or toast), and avoid rich, spicy, or fatty foods. Try to eat what you can, even if it doesn’t add up to a well-balanced diet. When you feel better, you can eat healthier. Eating crackers before getting up in the morning or eating a light snack before bedtime may also reduce symptoms.

Drinking more fluids is also helpful. Small sips throughout the day are better than a lot at one time. Supplements that may help include ginger (teas, candy, or soda) and vitamin B6. Extra sleep, acupuncture, and motion sickness wrist bands may also offer some relief. If you are still experiencing symptoms, speak to your doctor about safe and effective medications that may be available to take during pregnancy.

Fortunately, for most women, mild nausea and vomiting goes away after 12 to 16 weeks of pregnancy. Call your provider if you experience nausea, vomiting, the inability to hold anything down, significant weight loss, or vomiting blood. Women with these symptoms are often hospitalized for IV fluids and medications.

For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Akinlaja at UT Erlanger Women’s Health Specialists, call 423-778-2564.