Morning sickness is a feeling of nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting, that many women have during pregnancy – usually in the first trimester.
The condition is common and, unless very severe, does not pose a threat to your baby. Up to 80 percent of pregnant women have at least some nausea, and 50 percent have both nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Morning sickness usually starts around the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy and tends to get worse during the next month or so. It goes away for most women by around 14 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Of course, some lucky moms-to-be never experience nausea or vomiting at all.
“Morning sickness” is a misleading term. For some pregnant women, nausea is worse in the morning and eases up during the course of the day. But the condition can happen anytime and, for many women, lasts all day. Some women also experience morning sickness at night.
Help Relieve Morning Sickness
- Choose foods carefully. Select foods that are high in protein, low in fat and easy to digest, and avoid greasy, spicy, and fatty foods. Bland foods, such as bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast may be easy to digest. Salty foods are sometimes helpful, as are foods that contain ginger — such as ginger lollipops.
- Snack often. Before getting out of bed in the morning, eat a few soda crackers or a piece of dry toast. Nibble throughout the day, rather than eating three larger meals so that your stomach doesn’t get too full. Plus, an empty stomach may make nausea worse.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Sip water or ginger ale. Aim for six to eight cups of noncaffeinated fluids daily.
- Pay attention to nausea triggers. Avoid foods or smells that seem to make your nausea worse.
- Breathe fresh air. Weather permitting, open the windows in your home or workplace. Take a daily walk outdoors.
- Take care with prenatal vitamins. If you feel queasy after taking prenatal vitamins, take the vitamins with a snack or just before bed. If these steps don’t help, ask your health care provider about other ways you can get the iron and vitamins you need during pregnancy.
- Rinse your mouth after vomiting. The acid from your stomach can damage the enamel on your teeth. If you can, rinse your mouth with a cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda. This will help neutralize the acid and protect your teeth.
Preparing for Your Appointment
You can usually wait until a routine prenatal appointment to talk to your doctor about morning sickness.
- Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing. Include all of your symptoms, even if you don’t think they’re related.
- Make a list of any medications, vitamins and other supplements you take. Write down doses and how often you take them.
- Have a family member or close friend accompany you, if possible. You may be given a lot of information at your visit, and it can be difficult to remember everything.
- Take a notebook or notepad with you. Use it to write down important information during your visit.
- Think about what questions you’ll ask. Write them down, listing the most important questions first.