Morning Sickness: Tips to Help Relieve Morning Sickness

My wife is pregnant with our first child. Last night she was up for well over an hour vomiting and feeling just awful. What she can do to alleviate her morning sickness?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Fortunately, nausea of pregnancy is self-limiting, usually a problem only during the first trimester -- until the time of the fourth missed period. If it extends well into the second trimester, if she is unable to hold food down at all or if she is losing weight, she should be evaluated. There are some rare complications of pregnancy which may cause severe nausea and vomiting.

Despite the fact that intermittent vomiting is a problem for the mother, most babies do well if she can hold down fluids and easily digestible foods. During her prenatal visit, she should be checked for ketones in the urine. Ketones are fat-metabolism byproducts, which can be toxic to developing babies. Some women must be hospitalized for a few days for IV fluid administration to get their electrolytes back to normal.

Folate deficiency has been implicated in extreme nausea. Be sure she is getting one milligram of folic acid per day. If she is taking a prenatal vitamin supplement, it has folic acid in it but could also be contributing to the nausea. Also, the iron in vitamin supplements could be a problem. It is better to take the folic acid separately until the nausea subsides.

If we know that this is the normal nausea of pregnancy, here are some tips:

    • Small, frequent meals, every two hours (even through the night, if you can do that)
    • Dry crackers before arising; graham crackers are nice
    • Eat a high-carbohydrate diet: dry toast, honey, banana, baked potato, muesli and other whole-grain breakfast cereals, steamed rice, tofu
    • Sweet juices or flat soda in the morning
    • Avoid strong smells, fatty foods and spicy foods; some women cannot tolerate milk, eggs or meat
    • There is anecdotal evidence of acupressure to the wrists helping nausea
    • Vitamin B6, 50 milligrams by mouth twice a day
    • Do not use alcohol or tobacco, and limit coffee during the first trimester
    • Peppermint tea
    • Ginger tea; boil ginger root in water and strain, serve with honey
    • Candied ginger may also help
    • Lots of love and support and less stress!

 

Hope this helps. Have her see a dietician if you are very concerned. They are great resources for how to get the most from a little food.

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