Nausea & Vomiting
during Pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is a very common condition. Although nausea and vomiting of pregnancy often is called “morning sickness,” it can occur at any time of the day. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is usually not harmful to the fetus, but it can have a serious effect on your life, including your ability to work or do your normal daily activities. 

Nausea & Vomiting
during Pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is a very common condition. Although nausea and vomiting of pregnancy often is called “morning sickness,” it can occur at any time of the day. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is usually not harmful to the fetus, but it can have a serious effect on your life, including your ability to work or do your normal daily activities. 

Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy usually starts before 9 weeks of pregnancy. For most women, it goes away by the second trimester (14 weeks of pregnancy). For some women, it lasts for several weeks or months. For a few women, it lasts throughout the entire pregnancy.

Diet and lifestyle changes may help you feel better. You may need to try more than one of these suggestions: 

  • Try eating dry toast or crackers in the morning before you get out of bed to avoid moving around on an empty stomach.
  • Drink fluids often.
  • Avoid smells that bother you. 

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  • Eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals.
  • Try bland foods. For example, the “BRATT” diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea) is low in fat and easy to digest.
  • Try ginger ale made with real ginger, ginger tea made from fresh grated ginger, ginger capsules, and ginger candies. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Having nausea and vomiting of pregnancy usually does not harm your health or your fetus’s health. It can become more of a problem if you cannot keep down any food or fluids and begin to lose weight. When this happens, it sometimes can affect the fetus’s weight at birth. You also can develop problems with your thyroid, liver, and fluid balance.

If diet and lifestyle changes do not help your symptoms, or if you have severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, medical treatment may be needed. If other medical conditions are ruled out, certain medications can be given to treat nausea and vomiting of pregnancy:

  • Vitamin B6and doxylamine—Vitamin B6 is a safe, over-the-counter treatment that may be tried first. Doxylamine, a medication found in over-the-counter sleep aids, may be added if vitamin B6 alone does not relieve symptoms. A prescription drug that combines vitamin B6 and doxylamine is available. Both drugs—taken alone or together—have been found to be safe to take during pregnancy and have no harmful effects on the fetus. 
  • “Antiemetic” drugs—If vitamin B6and doxylamine do not work, “antiemetic” drugs may be prescribed. These drugs prevent vomiting. Many antiemetic drugs have been shown to be safe to use during pregnancy. Others have conflicting or limited safety information. Rarely you need to be hospitalized for stabilization of your electrolytes and intravenous fluids given.

Hyperemesis gravidarumis the most severe form of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. It occurs in up to 3% of pregnancies. This condition may be diagnosed when a woman has lost 5% of her pre-pregnancy weight and has other problems related to dehydration (loss of body fluids). Women with hyperemesis gravidarum need treatment to stop their vomiting and restore body fluids. Sometimes treatment in a hospital is needed.

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