Ways to Reduce Nausea During Pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting are two of the most frequent pregnancy concerns we hear about during prenatal appointments. 

Nausea in Pregnancy: What to Expect

It’s no fun feeling sick while pregnant, but unfortunately most pregnant women will experience nausea at one point or another. In fact, nausea and vomiting affects nearly 80% of all pregnant women.

In many instances, nausea and vomiting cease to be a problem by the 16th week of pregnancy, when women are entering their fifth month of pregnancy.  However, a smaller percentage of women will continue to experience nausea and vomiting throughout their pregnancy until shortly before or when they give birth.  While this concern is frequently referred to as “morning sickness,” it can occur at any time of the day.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

More severe cases of morning sickness that last for extended periods of time and cause vomiting and weight loss are called Hyperemesis gravidarum.

dutchess kate prince william princess charlotte

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) “can be diagnosed when a woman has lost 5 percent of her prepregnancy weight and has other problems related to dehydration,” according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

You may have heard about Duchess Kate (Kate Middleton) having hyperemesis gravidarum during her two past pregnancies, and currently experiencing HG in her third pregnancy.

Other celebrities who have spoken openly about experiencing HG include Kelly Clarkson, Debra Messing, and Kim Kardashian.

This severe nausea, like Duchess Kate is experiencing, is rare – it only occurs in up to 3% of pregnancies.  

Risk factors for severe morning sickness

Your risk of severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy may be increased if:

  • You’re pregnant with more than one baby (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • You’ve had a past pregnancy with nausea and vomiting (either mild or severe)
  • Your mother or sister had severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy
  • You have a history of motion sickness or migraines
  • You are pregnant with a female fetus

How to Reduce Nausea While Pregnant

No matter how mild or severe, nausea and vomiting can negatively affect the quality of a woman’s life, including her ability to work, socialize, provide assistance to her family and care for herself.  Whenever one of our patients states that she is experiencing nausea, we work together with her to appropriately and effectively come up with a treatment plan.

We have found several methods helpful in alleviating vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. Here are a few recommendations:

1. Pay close attention to how much and what you eat

Combining both food and drink at the same meal can increase nausea and vomiting because the liquid makes the stomach feel fuller and can contribute to bloating and acid reflux. It is better to eat small portions of whatever food can be tolerated every 1 to 2 hours and drink liquid separately.

2. Get enough fluids

While eating and drinking at the same time may cause problems, it’s still important for pregnant women to drink at least eight cups of fluids every day to prevent dehydration. Chilled beverages, ice chips, and popsicles are often easier to tolerate.

3. Speak to your OB-GYN about antacids

Heartburn, gas and bloating are very uncomfortable on their own, and their presence can also worsen nausea. While minor symptoms are frequently treated with calcium carbonate antacids, it’s important to speak with your OB-GYN first to make sure your antacid is safe and approved for pregnancy.

4. “Spit and rinse” can help

When you’re feeling nausea, spitting out the excess saliva in your mouth can help. Frequently rinsing your mouth out with warm water can also be helpful in reducing the metallic taste that often accompanies nausea and vomiting.

5. Try some ginger

Ginger has been used as a remedy for upset stomachs for a long time, and some research has shown that it can reduce stomach queasiness. Adding a thin slice of ginger to hot water or herbal tea, or sip ginger ale that has gone flat (carbonation can worsen an upset stomach).  Many women in our practice find ginger chews to be helpful.

6. Distract your mind

Feeling nauseous isn’t easy to ignore, but try something to take your mind off of it. Watch a funny movie or read a book, do a puzzle, or take a light and easy walk.  Sometimes, the distraction is all you need to find some relief.

7. Acupressure bands may help

Acupressure wristbands reduce motion, sea, or morning sickness in some people by applying light pressure to the inside the wrist. Whether the relief is from the acupressure or a placebo effect, their use may help to distract you from feeling nauseous.

Additional tips for reducing nausea and vomiting include:

  • Eat a few crackers or dry cereal slowly in the morning before getting out of bed.
  • Get up slowly from lying down or sitting. Avoid sudden movements.
  • Reduce the amount of salt and spices you put on your food.
  • Eliminate fried foods and anything that is greasy.
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Ensure the air is fresh in the room when you sleep either with a fan, air conditioner or open window.

Most importantly, don’t ignore your symptoms. Because nausea and vomiting can affect the majority of pregnant women, it should not be ignored, especially since there are safe and effective treatments that your doctor can suggest.  

Always talk to your OB-GYN before taking any over-the-counter medicines.  Having an open and trusted relationship with your doctor is essential for helping you and your baby. “Morning sickness” is a valid medical concern and speaking honestly with your OB-GYN can help you receive the treatment you need to feel your best during your pregnancy.

A Woman’s Healing Center Can Help

Located in Fort Collins, Colo., a Woman’s Healing Center is an OB-GYN and surgical-quality aesthetics practice whose mission is to help women of all lifestyles heal their way to better health and happiness.

We accomplish our mission through deep listening and straight talk. As such we are the only local alternative to corporatized medicine that provides women the specialized knowledge and training of board-certified female-only obstetricians and gynecologists.  As OB-GYN’s, we’re experienced in helping women to have happy and healthy pregnancies, minimizing discomforts as much as possible. 

Christine Skorberg, M.D., and Amy Grove, M.D. are dedicated to helping each patient through her life’s journey—from delivering her babies to navigating the changes in her body and emotions, to offering the latest medical-grade procedures for looking and feeling younger.  If you’re experiencing severe nausea or any other pregnancy discomfort, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (970) 419-1111 to make an appointment.  We’d love to meet you and be your care partner through your pregnancy and beyond.