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Vitamin B6 for normal nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Introduction

This information is for women who have normal nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. It tells you about vitamin B6, a treatment used to relieve these symptoms. It is based on the best and most up-to-date research.

Does it work?

Probably. If you take vitamin B6 supplements, you are likely to feel less sick. And you may vomit less.

What is it?

As with other vitamins, you need vitamin B6 (also called pyridoxine) for good health. You usually get enough vitamins from the food you eat. Vitamin B6 is found in many foods, including beans, meat, poultry, fish, and some fruits and vegetables.

Your body needs vitamin B6 for many different reasons. It helps make your red blood cells and keeps the level of sugars in your blood normal. Vitamin B6 also helps you fight infections. And it helps your nerve cells communicate with one another.

Vitamin B6 is usually part of the multivitamin supplements that are on sale to pregnant women. There are many different brands of these vitamins, and the amount of B6 in them varies a lot from product to product. However, multivitamins normally contain much less vitamin B6 than the amount used to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Doctors don't really know how much vitamin B6 you need to take to stop feeling queasy. [36] In one study, doctors found that a dose of 10 milligrams (mg for short) taken three times a day can reduce nausea. [36] This dose is about five times higher than the recommended daily dose for pregnant women.

How can it help?

Vitamin B6 may help you feel less nauseous and vomit less. [36] [25] [41]

One study found that vitamin B6 seemed to work just as well as ginger to reduce sickness and vomiting in pregnancy. [41]

  • Women who took either ginger or vitamin B6 said they felt much less sick.

  • Women who took either ginger or vitamin B6 found the number of times they were sick each day went down from about twice a day to about once a day.

However, another study said ginger worked better than vitamin B6. [42]

How does it work?

We don't really know. We need more research before we can say how vitamin B6 works to help with nausea during pregnancy. [43]

Can it be harmful?

There's no evidence that taking vitamin B6 in early pregnancy harms your baby. A study of more than 1,000 pregnant women found that there was no increase in the risk of babies being born with things wrong with them if their mothers took the vitamin. [25]

You should check with your doctor before taking any extra vitamins.

Last Updated: June 20, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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