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Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Morning Sickness

Treating Nausea and Vomiting or Morning Sickness During Pregnancy.

Nausea and vomiting while unpleasant are a relatively common side effect of early pregnancy. Roughly 75% of pregnant women will experience some form of vomiting or nausea in their first trimester.

Nausea and vomiting that occurs in early pregnancy is often referred to as morning sickness. Many women experience this discomfort throughout the day, rather than in the morning however.

Usually nausea and vomiting are not related to serious complications for the mother or baby, though in rare circumstances prolonged vomiting can result in complications and may require further examination and treatment.

Causes of Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

Scientists aren't exactly sure why nausea and vomiting occur in some women and not others. Many have linked nausea and vomiting with rising levels of pregnancy hormones particularly HCG during the first trimester.Some patients are more likely to experience severe nausea and vomiting, a condition referred to as hyperemesis gravidarum if they have thyroid problems that complicate their pregnancy. Other mothers including moms carrying multiples may experience more severe nausea or vomiting during pregnancy.

Multiple alternative therapies including use of vitamin B6 may help with nausea. Other examples of natural therapies useful for reducing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy include consuming small quantities of ginger and enjoying some acupressure. A chiropractor or massage therapist can often manipulate acupressure points in the body to help relieve nausea and vomiting. Alternately many patients purchase a product called 'sea bands' sold over the counter that helps stimulate acupressure points to relieve nausea and vomiting.

If nausea and vomiting become severe some women may need to be admitted to the hospital to receive intravenous therapy or IV medications. This can help prevent dehydration and ensure the mother receives adequate nutrition during vomiting spells. Fortunately most women will not have to go to such great lengths to resolve the nausea and vomiting typically associated with pregnancy.

Treating Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

Vomiting and nausea severe or otherwise can certainly result in excessive fatigues and emotional concerns in pregnant women. Fortunately there are many simple treatment strategies you can adopt to effectively relieve much of the ordinary vomiting and nausea associated with pregnancy.

To treat mild nausea and vomiting most women realize significant improvement simply by eating smaller meals throughout the day and keeping something in their stomach. You may find that having a small snack of crackers and water prior to rising out of the bed in the morning eliminates all but the most severe nausea or morning sickness. Other parents find that roughly 50mg of Vitamin B6 can help alleviate mild to moderate morning sickness.

Spicy and overly fatty foods can certainly contribute to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. The healthier you eat the less likely you are to feel nauseous. Likewise large and overly heavy meals can sit uncomfortably in the stomach during pregnancy. Pregnancy tends to slow a woman's digestion, hence it makes sense to eat more frequent and smaller meals during the day.

Some women find that certain foods trigger vomiting or nausea spells during pregnancy. For some women the smell of seafood may send them running to the bathroom, for others garlic, eggs or coffee act as common culprits. The good news is once you identify your triggers it's easy to remove them from your diet or avoid them as much as possible until your nausea and vomiting subsides.

Coping Tips for Morning Sickness

If you have morning sickness, fortunately there are many things you can do to cope. Here are some time tested remedies that help relieve some of the symptoms of morning sickness:

  • Eat several small meals per day instead of three large ones.

  • Have some crackers and soda or water by the bed and try eating a few before you rise in the morning. An empty stomach often results in more nausea.

  • Drink lots of fluids. Some women find carbonated water flavored with lemon to be quite soothing.

  • Try some ginger or ginger ale, which is well known for alleviating nausea.

  • Eat foods that are high in protein and carbohydrates.

  • Avoid fatty or spicy foods, which are more likely to cause nausea.

  • Get plenty of rest and take prenatal vitamins. If your vitamins make you nauseous, try taking them with meals.

  • Avoid strong odors or smells that can induce nausea.

  • Avoid lying down immediately after eating.

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