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Pregnancy morning sickness

You may feel nauseous at any time of the day, typically in the first trimester, often starting around the 9th week of pregnancy. Morning sickness can occur at any time of day and is also referred to as nausea and vomiting in pregnancy or NVP.

Morning sickness is not harmful to the growing baby and for most women it has usually cleared up by the 12th to 14th weeks of pregnancy.

Some women develop a more extreme form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum or HG. This is a serious medical condition requiring specialist treatment and may require admission to hospital.

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy

An upset stomach is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting affects around half of all pregnant women.

Nausea is a result of hormonal changes and most often occurs early in pregnancy until your body adjusts to the increased production of hormones.

Morning sickness can have a serious effect on daily life and activities. It can sometimes be helped with eating different food and taking more rest.

Tips for managing morning sickness

  • If nausea is a problem in the morning, eat dry foods like cereal, toast or crackers before getting out of bed. Or, try eating a high-protein snack such as lean meat or cheese before going to bed as protein takes longer to digest.
  • Eat small meals or snacks every two to three hours rather than three large meals. Eat slowly and chew your food completely.
  • Sip on fluids throughout the day. Avoid large amounts of fluids at one time. Try cool, clear fruit juices, such as apple or cranberry juice.
  • Avoid spicy, fried, or greasy foods.
  • If you are bothered by strong smells, eat foods cold or at room temperature and avoid odours that bother you.
  • Try to take your mind off the sickness, as focusing on it too much can make it worse.
  • Wear comfortable clothes to avoid the waist feeling tight.
  • There's evidence ginger or acupressure bands may help relieve morning sickness symptoms.
  • Seek medical advice if your vomiting is constant or so severe that you can't keep fluids or foods down. This can cause dehydration and should be treated right away.

Anti-sickness medicine

If other measures haven't worked, and the morning sickness is severe, a GP may recommend anti-sickness medicines called antiemetics that are safe for use during pregnancy.

Some pregnancy-safe antihistamines, better known for treating allergies, may also be recommended by a doctor.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on February 24, 2015

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