Expert advice to help manage morning sickness
Morning sickness is common and affects more than half of pregnant women, according to the American Pregnancy Association. “Nausea and vomiting are the most common symptoms, but women can also experience headaches and dizziness,” explains Andraya Huldeen, MD, Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics. “Specific foods, odors or having an empty stomach can trigger an episode, but most often there is no explanation at all.”
Tips for preventing morning sickness
There are a few common misconceptions about morning sickness—one is that it only happens in the morning. Some women are sick throughout the entire day and others only at random times. “Often morning sickness is more prevalent on an empty stomach,” Dr. Huldeen explains. “The most effective ways to prevent morning sickness seem to be related to when and what to eat.” Here are five tips to manage your symptoms:
- Keep crackers at your bedside. Some women find that eating a couple of plain crackers 10 to 15 minutes before getting out of bed in the morning will prevent nausea and vomiting.
- Avoid having an empty stomach. Eat smaller meals often or eat healthy snacks in between meals. Avoid skipping meals and eat a snack before bed. Stick to eating bland foods if you are feeling nauseous. Cold foods are often easier to tolerate, likely because they don’t smell as much.
- Schedule your prenatal vitamins. Don’t take your prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach, instead, take them at mealtime or before bed. Be consistent when you take them so that it becomes a part of your routine and you don’t forget. Dr. Huldeen shares that, “Recent research suggests that women who took a prenatal or multivitamin regularly before even becoming pregnant may have less nausea and vomiting.”
- Eat protein-rich foods and complex carbs. Eating protein-rich foods – like nuts, peanut butter and cheese and complex carbohydrates, such as beans and whole grains – will help you to stay fuller longer.
- Avoid certain foods. Fatty, spicy or sugary foods can cause morning sickness or worsening symptoms. Pregnant women will often acquire an aversion to certain foods, even foods they previously enjoyed. In some circumstances, that aversion never goes away, even after pregnancy.
Other remedies and when it’s more serious
According to Dr. Huldeen, “Some women find that natural remedies can help. This includes anti-nausea wristbands and consuming ginger—either candy or soda/tea. Also, mints, gum, or any hard candy flavor that sits well with you may help curb symptoms. If you are experiencing morning sickness that does not subside over time, talk to your provider about other options such as B6 supplements and, in more serious cases, over-the-counter or prescription medications.”
Sometimes morning sickness requires even stronger intervention. Hyperemesis gravidarum is severe, persistent nausea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration and weight loss. It is important to talk to your provider if you have severe symptoms that don’t improve.
If you are pregnant or looking for a women's health provider, schedule a free Meet & Greet with a provider at Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics.
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