In Pregnancy

According to the American Pregnancy Association, more than 50% of pregnant women experience morning sickness [1]. Morning sickness refers to the nauseous feeling that women sometimes have during the first or second trimester of pregnancy. This feeling of nausea can be made worse by certain foods or smells, and it can be difficult to eat a full meal.

Morning sickness is not harmful to you or your baby. It is thought to be the result of increased hormones in your body and once the hormones settle down, the morning sickness tends to disappear as well. With that in mind, here are a few tricks to deal with the morning sickness while it’s still there.

1. Tweak Your Eating Habits

Diet plays a huge role in morning sickness. Here are some general tips about meal planning:

Do not try and consume large meals. Instead meals and snacks should be eaten slowly and in smaller amounts (every few hours).
Initially stick to carbohydrates for snacks–i.e. soda crackers and dry toast
Consider snacks or meals that are protein dominant, low fat, bland and/or dry (e.g., nuts, pretzels, crackers, cereal, toast). Avoid spicy and fatty

2. Fluids

Fluids tend to be better tolerated if they are cold, clear and carbonated (e.g., ginger ale, lemonade, popsicles)
Aromatic therapies involving lemon (lemonade), mint tea, or orange have also been described as useful

3. Avoid Your Triggers

It may sound obvious, but this is one of the best ways to ease the symptoms of morning sickness. Interestingly enough, it is not only food that can trigger a bout of nausea and vomiting but things such as odors like perfume, chemicals or smoke [2] may as well. Heat and humidity have also been known to act as triggers [2]

4. Ginger

While there is no scientific data that conclusively shows that ginger helps with morning sickness there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that it helps ease the worst of the nausea and vomiting.

Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a Chinese traditional medicine for its anti-nausea effect. But just as importantly, many clinical studies show that it is safe for pregnancy [3].

5. Vitamin B6

Research shows that taking vitamin B6 for morning sickness greatly improves nausea, though not vomiting, for many pregnant women [4]. Vitamin B6 (100 mg or less daily) has been shown to ease symptoms of morning sickness [5]. However, first check with your doctor before adding more B6 to your diet.

6. Prescription Drugs

As a last resort, if the morning sickness refuses to go away despite your best efforts, it is worth speaking to your doctor to try prescription medications. Prescription drugs are usually avoided in early pregnancy but there are a number of safe medications that can be used to ease the worst of your symptoms.

NOTE: If you experience excessive vomiting and are not able to keep down even a small amount of liquids, you may have a medical condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Speak to your doctor as soon as possible if this applies to you.

 

References

1) American Pregnancy Association. Morning sickness
http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/morning-sickness-during-pregnancy/

2) Up-to-date. Treatment and outcome of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Judith A Smith, PharmD, BCOP, CPHQ, FCCP, FISOPP, Jerrie S Refuerzo, MD, Susan M Ramin, MD. Last updated October 2016.
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-and-outcome-of-nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy?source=search_result&search=morning%20sickness&selectedTitle=1~130

3) Chittumma, P., Kaewkiattikun, K., & Wiriyasiriwach, B. (2007). Comparison of the effectiveness of ginger and vitamin B6 for treatment of nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a randomized double-blind controlled trial. JOURNAL-MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF THAILAND, 90(1), 15.
http://www.imuneksfarma.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/EME-5.pdf

4) WebMD. Vitamin B6 for Morning Sickness – Topic Overview.
http://www.webmd.com/baby/tc/vitamins-b6-and-b12-for-morning-sickness-topic-overview

5) MedlinePlus. Morning Sickness. Review Date 11/19/2014. Updated by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000604.htm

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