Ways to manage morning sickness.

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy can happen for many reasons. About 65 per cent of women have nausea and vomiting while pregnant. It often starts at about 4 to 8 weeks of pregnancy and continues to 12 to 16 weeks or more for some women.

Although it’s often called “morning sickness”, nausea and vomiting can happen any time of the day or night.

Tips to manage nausea and vomiting

  • Get as much rest as you can; being tired can make nausea worse.
  • Rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash can help control unpleasant mouth taste that can make nausea worse.
  • Ice chips and popsicles can help reduce the metallic taste in your mouth.
  • Grated fresh ginger, ginger syrup or crystallized ginger added into hot water may help reduce your nausea.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking just folic acid instead of your prenatal vitamin while you are feeling nauseated. Once you are feeling better, you can go back to taking your prenatal multivitamin.

Foods that may make your nausea worse

  • Very sweet foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Fatty or fried foods
  • Hot foods

Avoid strong smelling foods that bother you

  • Try eating outside in the fresh air if possible.
  • Ask someone else to cook, especially “trigger” foods, hot foods and high smell foods.
  • If you have to prepare meals for yourself or others – make food you are able to eat and try to make cold foods that are easy to make.
  • A breathable mask can be helpful when you have to be in a place where smells are too strong for you. These masks help to block some of the food smell.
  • Smelling lemons or lemon essential oils might help settle the stomach.

Meals and snacks

  • Try not to drink fluids with your food. The fluid plus foods adds too much to your stomach and can cause you to vomit.
  • Eat when you feel hungry and eat foods that are appealing to you.
  • Eat every 2-3 hours (small meal or snack) to keep food in your stomach. An empty stomach can make your nausea worse.
  • Eat slowly. Eating too quickly can cause you to eat more than your stomach can handle, which can cause you to vomit.
  • After eating, avoid lying down. Keep your body at least semi-upright (greater than 45 degrees) for at least 30 minutes after a meal. This helps the food stay down.

Keep hydrated

Try to get about 8 cups or 2 litres of fluid per day. Sip small amounts of fluid throughout the day. If plain water does not sit well in your stomach try some of these other suggestions:

  • Water (add sugar and salt)
  • Diluted juice
  • Gelatin (Jell-OTM)
  • Clear soda (no fizz)
  • Popsicles
  • Weak tea
  • Oral rehydration solutions
  • Ice chips
  • Broth

Signs you may not be drinking enough fluid

  • More thirsty than usual
  • Darker urine than usual
  • Passing little or no urine in 8 hours
  • Dizziness when standing or sitting
  • Dry eyes and dry mouth

Foods to eat

Once you have stopped vomiting, eat small amounts of plain, cold or room temperature foods with very little smell, for example:

  • Toasted white bread
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Crackers
  • Fruit
  • Graham crackers
  • White rice
  • Plain hot cereal
  • Plain white pasta
  • Pretzels

Speak to your health care provider

  • If you experience vomiting 2-3 times per day.
  • If you are vomiting and have a fever.
  • If you have pain, bloating or a swollen stomach, and don’t feel better after vomiting.
  • If these tips do not relieve any symptoms.
  • If you are considering medications to manage your nausea and vomiting.

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy clinics

We offer clinics that provide care, counselling and education for those experiencing severe nausea and vomiting during their pregnancy.

Speak to your doctor or call the clinic directly to see if these services may be appropriate for you.