Pregnancy can bring a lot of joy… and a lot of unpleasant symptoms. One of the most common? Morning sickness. Estimates vary, but anywhere from 50% to 75% of pregnancies produce morning sickness. Considering how widespread this condition is, it pays to know more about it — including how to handle it.
What manages morning sickness?
From at-home remedies to over-the-counter (OTC) treatments to professional medical help, there are plenty of ways to handle morning sickness. These options—which always requires a licensed medical provider’s approval—include the following…
12. Drink Cold Fluids
Lots of things can upset the stomach during pregnancy, including the temperature of what you eat and drink. Research suggests that pregnant people tolerate colder drinks, foods like popsicles, or even ice chips better than they do warmer liquids.
Sometimes, battling morning sickness isn’t even about adjusting food and drink so much as it is taking other actions…
11. Wash the Mouth
Some people experience excessive salivation during pregnancy. In other words, they produce a lot more saliva when they’re expecting. Unfortunately, this saliva build-up can induce queasiness.
Don’t swallow the saliva; simply spit it out. Some people may also benefit from frequent mouth washing or chewing on the following…
10. Grab Some Ginger
Ginger, ginger candy, ginger ale: so long as it contains actual ginger and not ginger flavoring, research indicates that this plant can help combat morning sickness for many people. What’s great about ginger is that it’s widely available, affordable, and tastes great.
Of course, some people find that their morning sickness abates simply by changing their diets…
9. Change Your Diet
Diet can directly affect how severely someone experiences morning sickness.
What are foods to avoid?
Morning sickness can have many food-based triggers. These triggers include those that are:
- High in fat
- High in sugar
- High in salt/sodium
What are better foods for pregnancy?
For those experiencing queasiness, bland foods are best as they are less likely than other foods to trigger morning sickness. Every pregnancy can also benefit from a nutrient-dense diet packed with protein and carbohydrates.
Of course, not just what someone eats, but how much and when they eat, can also affect the severity of morning sickness…
8. Adjust Portions and Meal Timing
Many people find relief by simply altering portion sizes of their meals and changing when and how often they eat. Experts suggest that snacks every 1 to 2 hours are better than 3 big meals for those combating queasiness.
People can also reduce their chances of experiencing morning sickness by following this one simple trick…
7. Don’t Lie Down After Meals
It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s free! One simple way to reduce the odds of post-meal queasiness is to not lie down right after a meal. Instead, standing or taking a short walk can better help post-meal nausea associated with morning sickness.
Another simple trick for combating queasiness includes the following…
6. Take Prenatal Vitamins at Night
Prenatal vitamins can help ensure both the parent and fetus are getting the nutrition they need. Unfortunately, many prenatal vitamins can enhance the severity of morning sickness.
Simply take these vitamins at night. Other supplements to discuss with a medical provider include the following…
5. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is incredibly important; its major function is to help us transform our food into energy. As such, it’s no wonder that many experts link vitamin B6 intake during pregnancy to improved symptoms of morning sickness.
What forms of B6 should people take?
If possible, consuming vitamin B6 through a healthy diet is the best course of action. B6 is found in foods like whole grains and legumes. B6 supplements are also available, although patients must get approval from their medical providers before taking them.
Certain combination drugs that use vitamin B6 and other compounds may also reduce rates of morning sickness when natural remedies alone don’t work…
4. Doxylamine and Pyridoxine
The combination drug Diclectin, also known as Bendectin, is made of doxylamine and pyridoxine. It may help some people manage morning sickness.
How does it work?
Doxylamine is an antihistamine, which means that it blocks the actions of the inflammatory compound histamine. Such actions may also reduce the odds of nausea. Pyridoxine is a form of vitamin B6. Experts suspect that pyridoxine deficiencies during pregnancy can contribute to morning sickness.
The following treatment may be for those looking for alternative management methods…
Acupressure is the practice of applying pressure at certain places to achieve health benefits. Some research indicates that this practice may help reduce the severity of morning sickness, although other research indicates that acupressure does not work for everyone.
In some cases, prescription medication may be necessary…
2. Ondansetron (Zofran)
Ondansetron is an antiemetic, or an anti-nausea medication. Medical providers typically prescribe it for nausea related to cancer treatment or surgery. However, in recent years, many have increasingly prescribed this drug for the off-label use of treating morning sickness.
Is it safe?
Recent research does not support the idea that this medication causes major birth defects.
In severe cases of morning sickness, emergency medical attention is necessary.
Most cases of morning sickness are harmless, although quite annoying. In some cases, though, this condition can become severe, known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). HG can require hospitalization.
When is hospitalization necessary?
Signs of HG that warrant medical attention include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Severe nausea
- Persistent vomiting
- Inability to hold liquids down
- Decreased urine output
- Urine that is dark in color
- Vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Unintended weight loss
- Excess salivation
Anyone who has any concerns about their pregnancy—including morning sickness—should contact their medical provider.