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Morning sickness

What is it?

Morning sickness is the nausea (upset stomach) and vomiting (throwing up) that may happen during pregnancy. It is most common during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy. Most pregnant women have at least mild morning sickness. Although morning sickness is unpleasant, it is harmless unless severe vomiting occurs. The nausea and vomiting is usually gone in the second half of pregnancy.

Causes:

It is not known why pregnant women have morning sickness. Changes in your hormones and blood sugar may cause the nausea and vomiting. Stress and nerves may make morning sickness worse.

Signs and Symptoms:

Nausea and vomiting usually happens in the morning, often when you first wake up. But morning sickness may happen at any time. Dehydration (d-hi-dra-shun) may happen if you are vomiting too much. This is when you lose too many body fluids. Dizziness, urinating less, dry mouth, and cracked lips may be other signs of dehydration.

Medical Care:

  • Do not take medicine or try home remedies without asking your caregiver.
  • You may need to go into the hospital for intravenous (IV) fluids if you have severe vomiting.

Dietary Measures:

  • Eat small amounts of food high in protein, such as cheese or peanut butter. Stay away from greasy, fried, or spicy foods. Do not drink alcohol or caffeine drinks. Try to eat every 2 to 3 hours even if you are not hungry.
  • While still in bed after waking up, you may want to eat dry toast, Melba toast, or crackers. Eat these at other times when you have nausea.

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.

Herbs:

    Supplements:

      Complementary Therapies:

      Acupressure and acupuncture can help morning sickness.

      Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

      Talk to your caregiver if:

      • You would like medicine to treat morning sickness.
      • Your symptoms have not gone away or improved by these self-help measures.
      • You are throwing up more than 3 or 4 times a day.
      • You are losing weight.
      • You are throwing up blood or liquid that looks like coffee grounds.
      • You have questions about what you have read in this document.

      Do's and Don'ts:

      The following may help your nausea and vomiting:

      • Keep soda crackers by your bed. Eat a few of them or a slice of bread before getting out of bed.
      • Sit straight up after eating. This will keep food from backing up and causing nausea or vomiting.
      • Have a snack, such as yogurt, milk, bread, dry cereal, or a small sandwich before going to bed. You may need to eat during the night. This may keep you from being nauseated in the morning.
      • The smell of some foods may make you feel nauseated. Stay away from these foods.
      • Get out of bed slowly. Sudden movements could cause you to get dizzy and nauseated.
      • Drink 8 to 10 glasses (soda-pop can size) of liquids each day. Clear broth, fruit juices, clear sodas such as ginger ale, and water are good liquids. You may enjoy herbal teas such as spearmint, peppermint, or chamomile. Drink them slowly and between meals. This will keep you from eating large amounts during meals that can cause nausea and vomiting.
      • Do not brush your teeth right after eating as this can cause nausea.
      • Keep your feet up and your head slightly raised on a pillow when resting.
      • Getting fresh air may help you feel better. Take a short walk or try to sleep with the window open. When you are cooking, open windows to get rid of smells.
      • Do not smoke cigarettes. Ask other people not to smoke around you.

      SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

      • You have pain in the abdomen (belly).
      • You have a fever.
      • You have a bad headache.
      • You have changes in your vision.

      Care Agreement:

      You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

      References:

      1. Aikins Murphy P: Alternative therapies for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol 1998; 91(1):149-155.

      2. Belluomini J, Litt RC, Lee KA et al: Acupressure for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a randomized, blinded study Obstet Gynecol 1994; 84(2):245-248.

      3. Vutyavanich T, Kraisarin T & Ruangsri R: Ginger for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol 2001; 97(4):577-582.

      4. Vutyavanich T, Wongtrangan S & Ruangsri R: Pyridoxine for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1995; 173(3 pt 1):881-884.


      Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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