By Lindsey Latteman, MD, OB/GYN at Stellis Health
One of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy is the dreaded morning sickness – sudden bouts of nausea and even vomiting that can happen all hours of the day and be provoked by the smallest things.
Many women have trouble with these feelings of nausea, but there are plenty of remedies that are safe in pregnancy and proven to work.
First, try eating smaller, more frequent meals and snacks. When your stomach is empty, the queasy feelings from morning sickness can be worse. Eating smaller amounts but more frequently keeps your stomach from getting too empty and making nausea worse.
Second, try having a protein-based snack, since this keeps you feeling full for longer. I often recommend that my patients keep a small jar of almonds or other nuts by their bed, to have a small snack when they first wake up or if they wake up in the middle of the night. Other protein-rich snacks include cheese or yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, or a snack like hummus or peanut butter. Traditional remedies for nausea like crackers or toast can actually make morning sickness worse, as your body processes these foods quickly and can leave your stomach feeling empty sooner.
Third, try eating more cold foods than hot ones. Hot foods have increased aromas, and often strong odors are a trigger for nausea in pregnancy. Eating more salads or foods that do not need to be heated can help keep nausea at bay.
Next, you can try home remedies like ginger tea. You can buy fresh ginger root at the grocery store. Make a tea or infusion by finely chopping a few teaspoons of fresh ginger root and adding boiling water. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes and strain out the ginger. You can add a little sugar, honey, or other sweeteners if you like. Ginger is a traditional remedy but has been backed by science as a treatment for nausea of all kinds.
Finally, if your nausea and vomiting does not get better with any of these tips, talk to your prenatal care provider. There are medications that can be helpful in reducing your nausea and can make you feel better. Some of these medicines are available over the counter, such as Vitamin B6 and doxylamine (also known as Unisom, an anti-histamine medication similar to Benadryl). Other medications require a prescription from your doctor.
The good news: most nausea and vomiting of pregnancy gets better with time, often by the early part of the second trimester (after about 14 weeks gestational age). Remember to try and stay hydrated, even if you have trouble eating, and talk to your doctor if you feel severely ill or cannot keep even water down.