Tips to Help Relieve and Prevent Morning Sickness
Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience when you're fully in tune with your body and have that patented "glow." Or, it can be downright awful. Many soon-to-be mothers may experience morning sickness. In fact, studies have shown that approximately 70% of pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness.1 It seems almost inevitable! But don't worry, most cases are mild, and when it's not, we have some possible solutions.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is the colloquial term for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It's caused by the hormone changes your body is going through and is thought to be a symptom of placenta growth. It generally occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy, between 6 and 14 weeks. Some women can experience it up to and beyond 22 weeks of pregnancy.1
Despite its name, morning sickness is not limited to the morning. It can hit any time of the day. In fact, it's been found that less than 2% of pregnant people's nausea and vomiting is limited to the morning.1 While unpleasant and uncomfortable, morning sickness is extremely common and there are many methods to help prevent or soothe your symptoms.
Should I Worry If I Have Morning Sickness?
The short answer is, no. Morning sickness is incredibly common. Some medical studies believe that it's actually a positive sign of the placenta growing at a healthy rate and is associated with a decreased risk of certain birth issues like premature birth and low birth weight.2
However, if morning sickness is persistent and severe, you could be at risk of dehydration. A small number of pregnant people (about .3 to 3%) experience severe nausea and vomiting and are diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum.3 HG can be potentially dangerous, causing dehydration and weight loss. While the cause is still unknown, the treatment is similar to standard morning sickness treatments but requires extra medical evaluation and monitoring.
Ways to Help Prevent Morning Sickness
Avoid an Empty Stomach
Eating small meals and snacks throughout the day can help prevent nausea and stomach pain. It's a good idea to have bland, gentle foods like bread, crackers, bananas, and yogurt available to help settle your stomach. Having portable snack bags and cups with you can be a lifesaver when nausea hits while you're out and about.
Identify Food and Odor Triggers
Many people experience a heightened sense of smell when they're pregnant. You may start to find certain smells or tastes trigger your nausea. Foods with strong smells like fish, eggs, and fermented things can be especially provoking. Having a mental catalog of these pungent triggers will help you avoid them, and you can stop your partner from cooking fish in the house long before they begin!
Avoid Spicy Foods
Heartburn and reflux are common during pregnancy, and spicy foods can exacerbate this. Stick to more bland foods to avoid upsetting your stomach.
We know that hydration is incredibly important, even more so while you're pregnant. Lack of hydration can cause nausea4, and severe morning sickness can lead to dehydration. It's a good idea to preemptively make sure to stay hydrated in case sickness does hit so you can avoid becoming dehydrated even more quickly.
Stay Out of the Heat
Excessive heat can make you feel sick. Stick to cool spaces with good airflow or air conditioning. If you're stuck in outdoor heat or a stuffy room, make sure to take as many breaks as you can and have water with you to help cool off and stay hydrated.
Get Plenty of Rest
Lack of sleep opens you up to a whole slew of problems. Sleep allows our body to recover and perform vital functions, so sleep deprivation can worsen many medical issues.5 One study measured that morning sickness is more severe in pregnant women with poor sleep quality.6 Pregnant women are already prone to poor sleep quality, so it's a good idea to take measures to improve your sleep in order to help avoid nausea, vomiting, and all the other issues it brings.
Ways to Relieve Morning Sickness
Eat Ginger and Lemon
Ginger and lemon have been used to ease nausea and upset stomach for centuries. There have been many studies on the effectiveness of ginger and lemon against nausea and vomiting, and the results have clinically proven they are indeed quite effective and a recommended option for pregnant women to treat morning sickness.7, 8 Studies have also shown that the smell of lemons can be extremely effective in relieving morning sickness.9 Water with lemon and ginger tea are popular methods to naturally ease nausea.
Like lemon and ginger, studies have shown that vitamin B6 can effectively ease nausea in pregnant women.10 Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient that supports brain and nervous system development and a healthy immune system, so aside from easing morning sickness, it's good for your little bean's development11. Sweetie Pie Organics™ Morning Sickness Nausea Relief Drops contain vitamin B6 and come in tasty lemon or peach & ginger flavors (and we already know lemon and ginger are also effective ingredients!) for a convenient solution to easing nausea at home or on-the-go.
Acupressure puts gentle pressure on certain points of the body that can help relax muscles and improve blood flow.12 Many people prone to motion sickness find that wearing an acupressure wristband helps ward it off. One study found that these acupressure bands are quite effective in reducing the frequency and severity of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.13
Over the Counter Aids
You should always communicate with your doctor before starting medications and/or supplements while you're pregnant, even if they are over the counter. Your doctor can provide guidance on which over-the-counter medicines and/or supplements are the best option for your symptoms. Some doctors may recommend antacids like Tums or Pepcid, Emetrol, or a combination of Unisom and B6 for your particular needs.14
Most people that are pregnant are rightfully wary of resorting to medications, but in some cases, symptoms are persistent and severe enough that they need extra attention. If all else has failed, your doctor may decide that prescription medication is necessary. Some common prescriptions for severe morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum include Diclegis, Zofran, Phenergan, Compazine, Reglan, and Corticosteroids.14
Morning sickness can be tough, but with the right strategies, you can alleviate your discomfort and help prevent its recurrence. It's essential to listen to your body and seek professional advice if symptoms persist. On the positive side, morning sickness typically improves as pregnancy progresses, and then you can focus on the exciting journey ahead of you.
- Lee, Noel M. Saha, Sumona. Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy. June 2011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676933/ Accessed 14 July 2023.
- Huxley, R R. Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: its role in placental development. May 2000. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10775746/ Accessed 14 July 2023.
- Jennings, Lindsey K. Mahdy, Heba. Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Last update 6 September 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532917/ Accessed 14 July 2023.
- Dehydration. Cleveland Clinic. Last reviewed 5 June 2023. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/9013-dehydration Accessed 14 June 2023.
- Sleep Deprivation. Cleveland Clinic. Last reviewed 11 October 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23970-sleep-deprivation Accessed 14 June 2023.
- Linda Laitinen, Miina Nurmi, Päivi Rautava, Mari Koivisto, Päivi Polo-Kantola. Sleep quality in women with nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a cross-sectional study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 19 February 2021. https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-021-03639-2 Accessed 14 June 2023.
- Lete, Iñaki and Allué, José. The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. 31 March 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818021/ Accessed 14 June 2023.
- Fahimeh Khorasani, Hossein Aryan, Abousaleh Sobhi, Reihaneh Aryan, Arefeh Abavi-Sani, Masumeh Ghazanfarpour. A systematic review of the efficacy of alternative medicine in the treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 19 June 2019. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01443615.2019.1587392 Accessed 14 June 2023.
- Parisa Yavari kia, Farzaneh Safajou, Mahnaz Shahnazi, and Hossein Nazemiyeh. The Effect of Lemon Inhalation Aromatherapy on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial. 5 March 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4005434/ Accessed 18 July 2023.
- V Sahakian, D Rouse, S Sipes, N Rose, J Niebyl. Vitamin B6 is effective therapy for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. July 1991. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2047064/ Accessed 19 July 2023.
- Vitamin B-6. Mayo Clinic. 3 February 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-b6/art-20363468 Accessed July 27 2023.
- Acupressure for Nausea and Vomiting. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Last updated 23 June 2022. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/acupressure-nausea-and-vomiting Accessed 19 July 2023.
- N M Steele, J French, J Gatherer-Boyles, S Newman, S Leclaire. Effect of acupressure by Sea-Bands on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. February 2001. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11277163/ Accessed 14 July 2023.
- Weiss, Robin Elise. Medications to Help Ease Morning Sickness. Verywell Family. Updated 14 June 2021. https://www.verywellfamily.com/can-you-take-medication-for-morning-sickness-2759244 Accessed 19 June 2023.