Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, often known as morning sickness, is very common in early pregnancy.
It can affect you at any time of the day or night or you may feel sick all day long.
Morning sickness is unpleasant, and can significantly affect your day-to-day life. But it usually clears up by weeks 16 to 20 of your pregnancy and does not put your baby at any increased risk.
There is a chance of developing a severe form of pregnancy sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. This can be serious, and there's a chance you may not get enough fluids in your body (dehydration) or not get enough nutrients from your diet (malnourishment). You may need specialist treatment, sometimes in hospital.
Sometimes urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also cause nausea and vomiting. A UTI usually affects the bladder, but can spread to the kidneys.
Non-urgent advice: Call your midwife, GP or 111 if:
you're vomiting and:
have very dark-coloured urine or have not had a pee in more than 8 hours
are unable to keep food or fluids down for 24 hours
feel severely weak, dizzy or faint when standing up
have tummy (abdominal) pain
have a high temperature
have lost weight
Treatments for morning sickness
Unfortunately, there's no hard and fast treatment that will work for everyone’s morning sickness. Every pregnancy will be different.
But there are some changes you can make to your diet and daily life to try to ease the symptoms.
If these do not work for you or you're having more severe symptoms, your doctor or midwife might recommend medicine.
Things you can try yourself
If your morning sickness is not too bad, your GP or midwife will initially recommend you try some lifestyle changes:
get plenty of rest (tiredness can make nausea worse)
avoid foods or smells that make you feel sick
eat something like dry toast or a plain biscuit before you get out of bed
eat small, frequent meals of plain foods that are high in carbohydrate and low in fat (such as bread, rice, crackers and pasta)
eat cold foods rather than hot ones if the smell of hot meals makes you feel sick
drink plenty of fluids, such as water (sipping them little and often may help prevent vomiting)
eat foods or drinks containing ginger – there's some evidence ginger may help reduce nausea and vomiting (check with your pharmacist before taking ginger supplements during pregnancy)
try acupressure – there's some evidence that putting pressure on your wrist, using a special band or bracelet on your forearm, may help relieve the symptoms
Find out more about vitamins and supplements in pregnancy
If your nausea and vomiting is severe and does not improve after trying the above lifestyle changes, your GP may recommend a short-term course of an anti-sickness medicine, called an antiemetic, that's safe to use in pregnancy.
Often this will be a type of antihistamine, which are usually used to treat allergies but also work as medicines to stop sickness (antiemetic).
Antiemetics will usually be given as tablets for you to swallow.
But if you cannot keep these down, your doctor may suggest an injection or a type of medicine that's inserted into your bottom (suppository).
See your GP if you'd like to talk about getting anti-sickness medication.
Risk factors for morning sickness
It's thought hormonal changes in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are probably one of the causes of morning sickness.
But you may be more at risk of it if:
you're having twins or more
you had severe sickness and vomiting in a previous pregnancy
you tend to get motion sickness (for example, car sick)
you have a history of migraine headaches
morning sickness runs in the family
you used to feel sick when taking contraceptives containing oestrogen
it's your first pregnancy
you're obese (your BMI is 30 or more)
you're experiencing stress
Visit the pregnancy sickness support site for tips for you and your partner on dealing with morning sickness.
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Video: how can I cope with morning sickness?
In this video, a midwife gives advice on how to deal with morning sickness during your pregnancy.
Media last reviewed: 27 February 2017 Media review due: 27 March 2020
Community content from HealthUnlocked
Page last reviewed: 13 April 2021 Next review due: 13 April 2024
What To Do About It
Written by Camille Peri
In this Article
What Is Morning Sickness?
Morning Sickness Symptoms
Morning Sickness Causes and Risk Factors
Morning Sickness Diagnosis
Morning Sickness Treatment and Home Remedies
What Is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting that happens during pregnancy. More than half of pregnant women have nausea and vomiting, especially during the first trimester.
Despite its name, you can have morning sickness at any time of day. It doesn't mean your baby is sick, and it doesn't hurt the baby. Pregnancy nausea is probably caused by the sudden increase of hormones in your body. It's usually mild and goes away about midway through your pregnancy. Some women never feel nauseated during their pregnancy.
Some women get a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. This happens when severe nausea and vomiting leads to dehydration or causes the woman to lose more than 5% of her pregnancy body weight. Sometimes, she may not get enough nutrients, leading to malnourishment. The woman may have to stay in the hospital to get fluids, medication, and rarely, a feeding tube.
Morning Sickness Symptoms
General symptoms of morning sickness include:
Nausea with or without vomiting during the first trimester that feels like motion sickness
Nausea that comes on in the morning but can resurface at any time or go on all day
Feeling sick from smelling certain foods and other odors
Nausea after eating, especially spicy foods
Nausea or vomiting brought on by heat and severe salivation
Call your doctor if you:
Have flu-like symptoms, which may be a sign of illness
Feel dizzy or lethargic
Have severe vomiting constantly or several times a day
Can't keep down any fluids or foods and are losing weight
Think your nausea may be caused by iron in your prenatal vitamin
Want to take anti-nausea medication or try a treatment like acupuncture
Morning Sickness Causes and Risk Factors
Experts aren’t sure, but pregnancy hormones may cause nausea. In the case of severe nausea and vomiting, there could be another medical condition that isn’t related to pregnancy.
Things that may make you more likely to have morning sickness include:
Morning sickness during a previous pregnancy
A sensitive stomach before pregnancy. This includes motion sickness, migraines, sensitivity to certain smells or tastes, or taking birth control pills.
You're pregnant with twins or other multiples. You’ll have higher levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG than a woman carrying one baby.
You’re at higher risk of hyperemesis gravidarum if:
You're expecting a girl.
Hyperemesis gravidarum runs in your family.
You had it during a previous pregnancy.
Morning Sickness Diagnosis
Diagnosing morning sickness is based on your signs and symptoms. If your doctor suspects you have hyperemesis gravidarum, they may also order urine or blood tests.
Morning Sickness Treatment and Home Remedies
For moderate to severe morning sickness, your doctor may recommend:
Vitamin B6 supplements (pyridoxine)
Natural remedies like ginger
Over-the-counter drugs like doxylamine (Unisom)
Prescription anti-nausea medications for persistent symptoms
Extra fluids if the symptoms are severe enough to cause dehydration
To treat hyperemesis gravidarum, you may need to stay in the hospital and get:
Fluids through a vein (intravenous, or IV)
Anti-nausea medications (antiemetics)
You can also try some of these home remedies:
Eat five or six small meals instead of three big ones.
Take a multivitamin regularly. Don't take it on an empty stomach.
Avoid smells that upset your stomach.
Eat saltine crackers, dry toast, or dry cereal before you get out of bed to calm your stomach.
Avoid spicy and fatty foods.
When you feel nauseated, eat bland foods that are easy to digest, like rice, bananas, chicken broth, gelatin, or ice pops.
Take in plenty of fluids. Suck on ice or sip water, weak tea, or clear sodas like ginger ale when you feel nauseated. Aim for six to eight cups of non-caffeinated fluids per day.
Get fresh air. Go outdoors and take a walk, or just open a window.
Rinse your mouth after vomiting. This will keep the acid in your stomach from damaging your teeth. You can also add baking soda to a cup of water before rinsing for more protection.
Some women find that acupressure wristbands ease nausea.
Acupuncture, in which hair-thin needles are put into your skin at specific points, might also relieve symptoms.
Herbal ginger supplements can relieve nausea. Most studies show ginger to be safe, but talk to your doctor before taking any supplement.
Some women find relief with essential oils in calming scents like lavender.
Hypnosis might also relieve nausea.
Health & Pregnancy Guide
Labor and Delivery
All Guide Topics
Why nausea in the morning on an empty stomach - causes and how to treat at home
Most often, pregnant women face nausea in the morning on an empty stomach, due to intoxication, but it is not uncommon for this problem to occur in males or even children
Do not worry too much if you have encountered such a problem once, it is likely that this is a banal poisoning. But, if nausea in the morning on an empty stomach does not go away, you should immediately consult a doctor. Some people are used to dealing with this problem with folk remedies and medicines and they really get better, but it is worth considering that most likely the disease or pathology itself continues to develop. And as a result, it will turn into a more serious form. That is why it is so important to consult a doctor who will find out the cause of morning sickness and prescribe the most effective treatment.
Most often, morning sickness on an empty stomach may indicate the presence of the following diseases: unpleasant symptoms. This is due to inflammatory processes in the duodenum 12. The patient can also be tormented by: burning, bloating during and after eating, heartburn.
Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) - also characterized by nausea in the morning, as well as after eating fatty or fried foods. This disease is easily confused with gastritis due to the similarity of symptoms, but with pancreatitis, the patient begins to have problems with stools and an unpleasant, bitter taste in the mouth.
Appendicitis - nausea is likely to fade into the background, after unbearable pain in the right side begins to appear.
Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) - this disease can also be accompanied by morning nausea. Accompanying symptoms are pain in the right hypochondrium and excessive gas formation.
Other causes of nausea in the morning
After excluding the above diseases from the list of causes, the following causes can be considered:
Pregnancy. Intoxication and nausea in the morning is often found in pregnant women, especially in the early stages. This is a normal reaction of the body to significant changes and hormonal changes. It is very important to completely exclude drugs for the treatment of the digestive tract during pregnancy. These funds can have an extremely negative impact on the health of the patient, the unborn child and the course of pregnancy. Therefore, you will have to endure this ailment and get by with folk remedies, but be sure to consult your doctor.
Migraine. Morning sickness on an empty stomach may precede a severe headache. You will most likely still feel a lot of noise and increased sensitivity to smells.
High blood pressure (hypertension). The problem of morning sickness can be accompanied by headache and dizziness. If you do not pay attention to these symptoms in a timely manner, you risk starting this disease, which in turn can lead to a stroke.
Cardiovascular disease - rarely, nausea on an empty stomach occurs with heart failure or developing myocardial infarction. If nausea is accompanied by pain, a feeling of heaviness and tightness behind the sternum, numbness or tingling in one half of the body, it is necessary to seek medical help as soon as possible, as this may be an incipient myocardial infarction.
Increased intracranial pressure - Nausea and regurgitation in infants can occur when pressure increases inside the ventricles of the brain.
What to do if you feel sick in the morning
It is important to understand that regular morning sickness is a signal of the presence of a pathology or disease and it is highly undesirable to self-medicate. Be sure to consult a doctor for an examination, but if you don’t have such an opportunity at the moment, there are several effective ways that will help reduce or temporarily get rid of this problem:
Medicines. You need to be very careful and you must be sure that morning sickness is not the cause of pregnancy or an intestinal disease.
Ginger root, mint and lemon drinks. You can make infusions of these products for maximum effect, simply by adding them to a glass and boiling water, after 15 minutes you will have a very effective and safe (in the absence of allergies) remedy for morning sickness. YOU can also just add them to hot tea.
Medicinal collection - if nausea relentlessly torments you in the morning, you can try a collection of mint, oak bark and celandine. To prepare the drink, take 1 tsp of mint leaves, dried oak bark and chopped celandine, pour 0.5 l of boiling water and boil in a water bath for 10 minutes. After the broth is cooled and filtered, take 1 tablespoon 3-5 times a day before meals.
During pregnancy. There are some little tricks you can use. For example, do not get out of bed quickly, drink plenty of fluids. Eliminate fatty and heavy foods from your diet. Eat small meals several times a day.
We fight against toxicosis - articles from the specialists of the clinic "Mother and Child"
Alexandrova Anna Evgenievna
Clinic "Mother and Child" South-West
Very often in the first trimester, the expectant mother feels weak, drowsy, she wants to lie down to rest, and sometimes she simply does not even have the strength to move. This, of course, is not toxicosis, but if such sensations arise, then they must be indulged so as not to inadvertently provoke another attack of nausea. Get plenty of rest and do not make any sudden movements, because even if you just fail to get up from a chair, you can provoke an attack of nausea.
Sleep with the windows open: the air in the bedroom should be fresh and cool. Go to bed on time, do not sit at midnight in front of the TV or at the computer, eliminate all irritating factors: an uncomfortable mattress, blanket, pillow, hard bedding - lack of sleep can respond with morning sickness.
Eat small meals, 5-6 times a day, or even more often. When you wake up, don't get out of bed right away. One of the most effective methods against toxicosis is breakfast in bed. In the evening, put crackers, yogurt, or any product that you can tolerate well next to your bed. Eat it before you get up, and then lie down for a while. Most likely, morning sickness will either not appear at all, or will be very weak.
Usually, in case of toxicosis, it is not recommended to eat fatty, smoked, salty, pickled, drink soda (the usual set of food hazards). But it is likely that some not very healthy product will now be well tolerated, and something from healthy food, on the contrary, will cause nausea. "Pregnant whims" - a cake with herring or pineapples at night - these are the requests of the body that it needs one or another component in food. For example, the desire to chew chalk is a sign of calcium deficiency. So eat what you like and what you want, within reason, of course. And if you don’t feel like something, even if this product is extremely useful and necessary, don’t eat it. If you feel sick from some dish, it means that the body signals you: I don’t need this now!
drink more often
Toxicosis may not be limited to nausea, some may also vomit. This means fluid is lost. Therefore, between meals, drink more often: a sip or two of mineral water or tea with lemon will help to cope with nausea and replenish lost fluids. But drink in small sips. Also, you should not drink food and you should give up soups for a while - a large amount of food drunk and eaten, on the contrary, only provokes nausea and vomiting.
breathe fresh air
Outdoor walks are good for everyone, but especially for toxicosis. Firstly, when walking, the blood of the expectant mother and baby is saturated with oxygen, which is very important for health, and secondly, walking calms the nervous system. Together, this helps to reduce the unpleasant symptoms of toxicosis. You need to walk at least two hours a day - but not just along the street, but in the place where the air is really fresh: in the forest, park, square, and best of all outside the city. Before you go out, think over the route: go away from gas-polluted highways, street cafes, food stalls and other "fragrant" places.
Taste and smell preferences change during the first trimester. Now even your favorite perfumes can cause nausea, headaches and allergic reactions. Therefore, put away all fragrant cosmetics that irritate you: perfumes, deodorants, creams, and so on. You will have to stop using your favorite perfume for both your husband and loved ones. Explain to others that this is not a whim, but a temporary measure, very soon everything will return to normal.
And do not worry that now you will be left without your usual beauty products. Both the cosmetic store and the pharmacy are full of different creams, tonics, shampoos without fragrance or with a minimal smell.
work with yourself
Psychologists believe that the cause of toxicosis is not only in hormonal changes, but also in the psychological state of a woman. The more a woman experiences, the more anxieties and fears she has, the more pronounced toxicosis can be. Ideally, it is better to limit yourself during pregnancy from any stress. Of course, it’s not always possible to eliminate nervous work or crowding in public transport, but watch less TV, don’t read negative news and various pregnant “horror stories” on the Internet, and don’t react to minor or even major everyday troubles everyone can do. Therefore, if you are worried about toxicosis, create your own comfortable world during pregnancy. If you can’t cope on your own, contact a specialist (psychologist). Toxicosis is really well treated with psychotherapy. The main thing is that the expectant mother should want to get rid of her own anxiety.
No matter how unpleasant toxicosis is, it does not last forever. It is necessary to suffer until the beginning or (less often) the middle of the II trimester. And very soon all the unpleasant symptoms of toxicosis will remain in the past!
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