Though there are some fortunate women who do not experience nausea and vomiting during their pregnancy, about 25% of pregnant women will have some mild nausea, and 30% will have nausea and vomiting severe enough to disrupt their daily life. “Morning sickness” is a common term used to describe these pregnancy symptoms. In most cases, women find it is at its worst when they are about 8-10 weeks along. Most of the time, the symptoms lessen or dissolve completely by 12-16 weeks.
The first step to treating nausea is to make sure you are eating every 2-3 hours. Although it may sound counterproductive—as nausea often results in loss of appetite—dehydration and low blood sugar will often worsen symptoms and even increase nausea.
Here are some tips to help curb morning sickness:
- Eat small meals every 2-3 hours.
- Have a snack before bedtime, one with protein to help keep your blood sugar stable through the night and avoid the early morning blood sugar low.
- Suck on a lemon or lime slice.
- Try drinking carbonated beverages between meals.
- Avoid greasy, fried, spicy, hot, odorous foods.
- Drink or eat real, fresh ginger. Make ginger root tea, add ginger syrup to water, chew ginger gum, or suck on ginger candy. You can even find ginger capsules in a drug store (the dose is 250mg four times a day).
- Acupressure bands work for some women by placing pressure on points inside the wrist.
If you have access to the internet, you can take the PUQE test (pronounced “puke” test) – we doctors have a great sense of humor – by visiting www.sosmorningsickness.com. This site also has extensive information on nausea and vomiting and ways to ease the symptoms associated with morning sickness.
MotherRisk also offers a website and a Help Line to answer your questions on nausea, vomiting, and medications in pregnancy. http://www.motherisk.org/women/morningSickness.jsp or 1-800-436-8477.
-Kirstin Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife