Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea, sometimes accompanied
by vomiting, is an unpleasant side effect of pregnancy. Sixty to eighty
percent of all pregnant Western women experience this nausea, or 'morning
sickness,' with half of these experiencing vomiting as well. Despite its
common name, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day. Nausea
is usually limited to the early weeks of pregnancy, beginning in the first
4 to 16 weeks and disappearing by 14 to 17 weeks after a woman's last
Researchers have developed
theories about why it occurs, but to date no specific cause has been identified.
Some suggested causes include hormonal changes and the stress and anxiety
of becoming pregnant. Despite the discomfort of morning sickness, it is
usually not dangerous to the mother nor fetus. In fact, research shows
that women who experience morning sickness have better outcomes of pregnancy
including decreased incidence of miscarriages.
However, if nausea and
vomiting are persistent, severe, and prolonged, medical treatment may
be necessary. This condition, also known as hyperemesis gravidarum, occurs
in two percent of pregnant women and can result in electrolyte imbalance,
dehydration, and nutrient deficiencies which can affect your pregnancy.
It is important to quickly report severe nausea or vomiting that affects
your ability to eat to your physician.
most cases of morning sickness are easily treated with small dietary
manipulation. There is no universal cure, as the cause is yet unknown
and each women reports different triggers. It may also be helpful to keep
of your symptoms and day to day activities to help pinpoint when your
symptoms are absent or severe. This can help you, and your physician,
understand your triggers and help in developing strategies to minimize
The nausea experienced during pregnancy is one of the few that is relieved
by having food in the stomach. Below are some tips to help you reduce
nausea and vomiting by making changes in your diet.
Coping With Nausea
and drink slowly.
smaller, more frequent meals eating every 2-3 hours.
cool, clear beverages between meals, rather than with meals.
or electrolyte drinks or decaffeinated, carbonated beverages may
can cause nausea and put your pregnancy at risk, it is important
to be sure you are getting adequate
fluids every day.
dry, bland foods.
Some women report having a small amount of crackers or toast before
rising in the morning helps reduce nausea.
can include garlic, onion, acidic fruits and vegetables, and/or
fatty or fried foods.
These are slow to digest and keep food in your stomach longer.
This increases your chances of vomiting.
Eat cold or low odor foods in well-ventilated areas.
food preparation time.
Or have someone else prepare the food.
is never recommended during pregnancy. Alcohol may increase your
chances of vomiting and may contribute to dehydration.
containing foods and beverages can affect the gastrointestinal
tract. This may increase your chances of vomiting, may contribute
to dehydration, and should be avoided.
not lie flat for at least 2 hours after eating.
you need to lie down after eating, lie on your right side as the
stomach empties from left to right.
safe food handling and preparation techniques.
illness can often cause nausea and vomiting, protect
yourself against these diseases.
Aside from your diet, there may be some environmental triggers that can
worsen your morning sickness. Most women report that strong odors, drastic
changes in temperature, and strong emotions contribute to their nausea.
By modifying your environment, you may be able to prevent some morning
your environment has good ventilation.
This is especially important in your bedroom and kitchen where
odors can be strong. Most women with morning sickness report cracking
a window in their bedroom helps decrease morning nausea.
Both for yourself and those around you, practicing good personal
hygiene will help decrease odors that may trigger nausea. Some
women report that good oral hygiene and avoiding perfumed health
care products helped reduce morning sickness.
your environment clean.
Avoid lingering odors, especially in bedding, curtains, the kitchen,
and the bathroom by cleaning frequently.
Get help from family and friends in tasks that produce strong
odors such as cleaning or changing the cat litter.
and second hand smoke may both jeopardize your pregnancy as
well as contribute to nausea.
may help alleviate morning sickness. This may mean practicing meditation
techniques, reducing your workload, or more frequent resting.
your medications with your physician.
and minerals may be contributing to nausea. Prenatal vitamins
prescribed during the second and third trimesters contribute important
vitamins and minerals that you may not be able get in your diet.
Be sure to discuss any intolerance of prenatal vitamins with your
is not recommended during pregnancy and it may also aggravate
loose fitting clothing.
Tight or binding clothing around the abdomen causes increased
pressure on the stomach and may contribute to morning sickness.