Morning Sickness Symptoms and Nausea Remedies

Oh... that queasy feeling! Everything seems to bring on nausea, especially in the morning — smells, the sight of breakfast, and even the thought of food. You may wonder: if this is what pregnancy is going to be like, who needs it? And why does such an exciting life event have to be accompanied by this constant nausea? Is something wrong?

What Is Morning Sickness?

Nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting, is a common symptom of early pregnancy. About 50 to 70 percent of pregnancy women experience it in the first trimester. Not only is nausea normal, but it's usually a sign that your pregnancy is healthy.

The condition is called "morning sickness" because morning is often the time when the symptoms are the worst. However, you can feel queasy and throw up any time of day when you're pregnant.

What Causes Morning Sickness?

It's believed the symptoms are caused by the pregnancy hormone hCG, which is produced by the developing placenta, and which helps to maintain the pregnancy. But other factors such as low blood sugar, increased stomach acid levels, stress, and fatigue can also contribute.

Tell your doctor if your pregnancy nausea or vomiting occurs more than twice a day, if it prevents you from eating or drinking altogether, or if it continues past your first trimester. You might have a more serious problem called hyperemesis gravidarum, which requires treatment with oral or intravenous medication.

Ways to Cope With Morning Sickness Symptoms

Prevention is the best way to deal with morning sickness.

  • Keep some plain crackers, rice cakes, or a piece of chocolate beside your bed, and eat something the moment you wake up to raise your blood sugar levels before starting your day.
  • Eat five to six small meals each day to avoid an empty stomach and to keep your blood sugar stable.
  • Include enough protein (meats, fish, eggs, cheese) and complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, grains) in your diet to meet the requirements of your developing baby.
  • Some nutrition experts recommend taking 50 to 100 milligrams of a vitamin B6 supplement to prevent nausea. Take your regular prenatal vitamin as well.
  • Stay away from spicy or greasy foods, and avoid becoming overheated and sweaty.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Try to relax by breathing slowly or focusing on something pleasant.
  • Avoid the sight, smell, and taste of foods or other substances (such as tobacco smoke) that make you queasy.
  • Suck on some ice or a lemon wedge.
  • If brushing your teeth makes you gag, try mouthwash instead.
  • Drink a glass of milk or take calcium tablets to neutralize the acid in your stomach.
  • Apply a cold cloth or ice pack to your throat.
  • Add ginger to your food — it's a natural remedy for nausea.
  • Drink chamomile or ginger tea.
  • Maintain a healthy fluid intake, even if you don't feel like eating solids. It may help not to mix solids and fluids in the same meal.
  • Apply pressure with your thumbs on the bones at the base of your skull at the back of your neck, or apply ice to these areas.

The good news is that for most women, morning sickness tends to go away in the second trimester when hCG hormone levels decrease. In the meantime, remind yourself that the nausea is normal and will soon pass — and think about the happiness your baby will bring you.

Early pregnancyPregnancy symptoms

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