Morning sickness and Pregnancy

Nausea & Vomiting

Most pregnant women have some degree of nausea and vomiting between 5 and 18 weeks of pregnancy. This is often worst around 9 weeks. Symptoms can occur until delivery in a small number of women. Interestingly, women with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy experience fewer miscarriages and stillbirths than women without these symptoms. Although the cause of nausea is not clear, hormone levels (BHCG) and slowed emptying of the stomach can contribute. Although we often refer to it as ‘Morning sickness’, nausea can occur at any time of the day.

The following tips may help reduce symptoms and reduce dehydration:

  • Avoid an empty stomach have a packet of dry biscuits by the bed to eat before you get up.
  • Eat small snacks frequently and have small meals that are high in protein or carbohydrates and low in fat.
  • Avoid large meals.
  • Sip cold, clear fluids such as water, mineral water, lemonade or ginger ale
  • Carbonated beverages appear to assist with the nausea as they are lighter on the stomach
  • Avoid triggers such as greasy, spicy or fatty foods, dairy, stuffy rooms or odours (perfume, chemicals, coffee, food, smoke), noise and visual or physical motion (flickering lights, driving).
  • Get plenty of rest
  • If pregnancy multivitamins or iron make symptoms worse, try taking them at night or whenever the nausea is the least troublesome or stop taking them temporarily
  • Drink ginger ale or sliced ginger in warm water, or try ginger capsules.
  • Peppermint tea may be helpful, or lemon slices in hot or cold water.
  • Vitamin B6 supplements (pyridoxine) are proven to be helpful for nausea. We recommend taking 25mg three times a day. Green leafy vegetables, bananas, tuna and chicken are natural food sources of Vitamin B6.

If these options do not provide relief there are a range of medications that are safe to use in pregnancy and have been shown to be useful in treating persistent nausea and vomiting of pregnancy such as Metoclopramide, Ondansetron or antihistamines such as Restavit or Phenergan.

Please contact us if you are unable to keep down any food or fluids. Occasionally pregnant women have to be admitted to hospital for rehydration with intravenous fluids.