Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting, also know as “morning sickness,” is common in early pregnancy. Though common, it is not experienced by everyone. While the cause of morning sickness remains unknown, it is believed that the sudden increase in hormones during pregnancy plays a key role in creating these symptoms. Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy can range from mild to severe. Nausea usually subsides by the third month (end of the first trimester). In some cases, nausea and vomiting can still occur periodically throughout the pregnancy.

Severe Symptoms:

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (excessive vomiting in pregnancy):
This occurs in 0.5% to 2% of pregnancies. Excessive vomiting is one of the most common indications for hospitalization during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Risk Factors For Hyperemesis:

  • Multiple fetuses
  • Previous history of hyperemesis
  • Carrying a female fetus
  • Daughter and/or sister of women with the condition
  • History of motion sickness
  • History of migraine headaches

Treatment Options:

  • Increase fluid intake
  • Starting a multivitamin before or at the time of conception (may decrease severity of symptoms)
  • Take vitamins with food instead of on an empty stomach
  • Request a chewable vitamin to decrease nausea
  • Vitamin B6 alone or Vitamin B6 with Doxylamine 12.5 milligrams (antihistamine) 25 milligrams 3 times per day or 50 milligrams 2 times per day
  • Antihistamine – Benadryl or Dramamine (as directed)
  • Prescription medications

Alternative Therapy Options:

  • Ginger 250 milligrams, 3 times per day; powdered ginger is also available
  • Fresh ginger root (located in the Produce Department): grate 1 teaspoon into a cup of boiling water and let steep 5 minutes – sip slowly
  • Raspberry Leaf Tea (or ice cubes made from this; you can suck on the ice cubes)
  • Peppermint Tea
  • Dried Organic Orange Peels: Place peels in hot water (tea) and steep for 20 minutes
  • Cinnamon Stick: 1 stick steeped in water for 6 to 10 minutes
  • Fresh Lemon Oil: sniff 1 to 2 drops diffused
  • Acupressure Bands (Sea Band)
  • Hypnosis

At Home Treatment Options:

  • Avoid smells that bother you
  • Eat about 5 to 6 small meals each day
  • Eat low-fat protein foods (lean meat, broiled fish, poultry (without skin), eggs, boiled beans)
  • Eat more carbohydrates (plain baked potato, white rice, pasta, cereal, dry toast, pretzels, fruit, fruit juices). Please Note: A carbohydrate, mixed with a serving of protein right before bed, has shown to minimize nausea
  • Avoid spicy and fatty foods
  • Eat cracker or dry toast before getting up (you can have them ready at your bedside)
  • Gelatin desserts (Jell-O); frozen Popsicles
  • Drink broth, apple juice, regular ginger ale or 7-Up, sugared, decaffeinated or herbal teas

Call Your Physician If:

  • Urine is dark in color
  • No liquids can be held down
  • Feeling dizzy or faint like when standing up
  • Heart is pounding very hard or racing rapidly
  • Begin vomiting blood