Morning Sickness

In the first weeks of pregnancy, it can be difficult to cope with morning sickness. You might feel tired, sick, and “turned off” by the smell of foods. The term “morning sickness” is really a myth. It should be called “all-day sickness.” It can come anytime, day or night. Morning sickness starts in early pregnancy and is often gone by the 16th week. Some people just feel a little sick. Others get so sick that they need help from their doctor or midwife.

No one knows the exact cause of morning sickness. It is likely due to hormones. In early pregnancy, your body is busy making many new pregnancy hormones. Morning sickness may be nature’s way to keep you away from spoiled foods that may harm the new baby. If you throw up a few times, it will not hurt you or your baby. If you lose more than 5 pounds or can’t keep anything down for over 24 hours, call your doctor or midwife right away.

Here are some things that might help:

  • Eat more food with protein. Milk, mild cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, beans and nuts are all rich in protein. This will help prevent low blood sugar.
  • Limit sweets, or eat sweets with protein rich foods.
  • Always keep a little food in your stomach. Eat a little bit at least every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Avoid fried, spicy, or rich food.
  • Don’t eat meats that are hard to digest such as beef and pork.
  • Stay away from strong food smells. If the sight and smell of making meals makes you sick, ask others to help with this until you feel better.
  • Don’t throw up just to “feel better”. If you throw up too much, it can make you feel even worse.
  • Only if your doctor or midwife approves, stop your prenatal vitamins and iron pills until you feel better.
  • Only if your doctor or midwife approves, take 10-25 mg of vitamin B6 3 – 4 times a day; don’t exceed 100 mg daily. You can take this with 12.5 mg of doxylamine (Unisom) 3 – 4 times a day.
  • Stick with bland foods.
  • Eat what “sounds good.”
  • Eat foods such as whole grain bread, crackers, pasta, rice and potatoes. Eat these with protein rich foods.
  • Keep food such as nuts or cheese and crackers by your bed. Eat them at night or before you get up.
  • Go to bed early so you can take your time waking up.
  • Don’t eat and drink at the same time. Let 30 minutes to 1 hour to pass between eating and drinking.
  • Sip flat cola or ginger ale.
  • Take some food in liquid form such as soup, pudding, custard, ice cream or yogurt.
  • If prenatal vitamins make you sick, take them at bedtime with protein (but not with milk or dairy).
  • Soak a piece of fresh, peeled ginger (about the size of a grape) in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes to make ginger tea. Add sugar or honey to taste and sip slowly. Also, check with your doctor or midwife about taking 250mg of ginger capsules up to 4 times a day. Do not exceed 1000mg daily.
  • Wear motion sickness bands (for sale at boat or travel stores) on a special point on the wrist.
  • Rest as much as you can. If you are over-tired, it may make you feel even worse.

Remember: If you cannot keep anything down for over 24 hours, call your doctor or midwife right away.