Morning sickness refers to nausea that occurs during pregnancy. The name is a misnomer, however, because morning sickness can strike at any time.
Morning sickness, which affects an estimated 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women, is most common during the first trimester. For some women, morning sickness lingers throughout the pregnancy.
The condition is distressful and uncomfortable, but generally harmless. Medical treatment isn't usually necessary, and various home remedies often can help relieve the nausea.
To help relieve morning sickness:
Choose foods carefully. Select foods that are high in carbohydrates or protein, low in fat, and easy to digest. Salty foods are sometimes helpful, as are foods that contain ginger, such as ginger lollipops. Avoid greasy, spicy and fatty foods.
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. An empty stomach may make nausea worse.
Drink plenty of fluids. Sip water or ginger ale. It also may help to suck on hard candy, ice chips or ice pops.
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 at night or with a snack. It may also help to chew gum or suck on hard candy after taking your prenatal vitamin. If these steps don't help, ask your pregnancy care provider about other ways you can get the iron and vitamins you need during pregnancy.
Try ginger. A few studies suggest that ginger may help ease nausea from pregnancy. Ginger supplements generally are considered safe when taken in small amounts for a short time. However, it takes a few day for the ginger to work. Before taking the supplement, it may be best to talk with your doctor.
Contact your doctor if, during periods of morning sickness:
Nausea or vomiting is severe.
You pass only a small amount of urine, or it's dark in color.
The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies provides answers you need to take care of common health problems on your own. This reference covers 120 of today’s common health problems in an easy-to-follow, A-to-Z format. Learn what you can do for yourself and when to seek medical attention.