Morning sickness is a pregnancy symptom that affects about 70 percent of women, with about 50 percent also experiencing vomiting. Symptoms can start as early as six weeks and peak around eight to nine weeks. For most women, morning sickness symptoms lessen or go away completely around 12 to 14 weeks. (2)
Morning sickness is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms, and one of those that women have the most difficulty managing. The main cause of morning sickness is rising estrogen and progesterone levels particularly in the early part of the pregnancy.
Coping with Morning Sickness: Time, Tummy, and Ginger
1) Take time off work
Plan to take some time off around the seventh or eighth week when morning sickness symptoms usually start to appear.
2) Keep your tummy full
Eat small meals several times throughout the day to keep your tummy full. An empty stomach makes nausea worse. If you can’t handle straight fluids, try melting ice chips in your mouth to keep hydrated. “[T]he more dehydrated you become, the more nauseated you’ll become.” (2)
Ginger is a natural nausea remedy. It is available in capsules or lozenges, candied pieces, as well as the obvious ginger ale (which should be flat if trying to alleviate nausea) and tea.
Coping with Morning Sickness: Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, and Sleep
4) Acupuncture or acupressure wrist bands
While there’s no clinical evidence that these work — it may just be the placebo effect — some mothers swear by them. The wrist bands alleviate nausea by putting pressure on a spot “located inside the wrist believed to be related to nausea and vomiting.” (2)
Carry a bottle of extract of a scent that you love (lemon, lavender, cinnamon or rosemary) to catch a sniff when more unpleasant smells turn your stomach.
Doctors and many mothers swear that lying down on your left side with eyes closed and getting some rest is another way to avoid nausea with the added advantage that your body needs it anyway.
Coping with Morning Sickness: Computer, Preparedness, and Prescriptions
7) Consider your computer
Many office moms may be surprised to learn that their computer screen and its undetectable strobe effect (which you see on TV when computer screens are filmed) can make them more nauseated. To avoid this, increase the font size and make it bolder if possible. As well, change the background to a soft pink or tan. (2)
Get away from your desk at regular intervals. If you can’t do this, then at least close your eyes for a few minutes to give them a break.
8) Be prepared
There may be times when there’s just no stopping it. So be prepared with a clean top, toothbrush and toothpaste or mouthwash, breath mints (mint is also a tummy soother), and a plastic (barf) bag. Starchy snacks are also good to have on hand such as crackers or pretzels.
9) Prescription medication
Speak to your doctor about what medications are available and safe.
Dr. Anna Neumann, MD, family doctor in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and member of the medical faculty at Dalhousie University said that as long as you stay hydrated and get the nutrients you need, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy doesn’t affect the baby. (1)
1. How to Cope with Morning Sickness. Augustine Brown, Lola. Canadian Family. Web. June 12, 2013.
2. 15 Tips for Dealing with Morning Sickness. Eng, Heather. Parents. Web. June 12, 2013.
3. 15 Signs You’re Pregnant. Today’s Parent. Web. June 12, 2013.
4. Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens right away. MayoClinic. Web. June 12, 2013.
Reviewed June 12, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith