The term "morning sickness" is used to describe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Some women also have the symptoms of dizziness and headaches.
Morning sickness often begins 4 - 6 weeks after conception and may continue until the fourth month of pregnancy. Some women have morning sickness during their entire pregnancy. This happens most often for women who are carrying more than 1 baby.
It is called morning sickness because the symptoms are more likely to occur early in the day, but they can occur at any time. For some women, morning sickness lasts all day.
The exact cause of morning sickness is not known.
Morning sickness that is not severe does not hurt your baby in any way.
If you’ve had bad morning sickness before, make sure to take prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant again. This seems to reduce the risk of severe nausea and vomiting.
When nausea and vomiting are severe, a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum may be diagnosed.
Changing what you eat may help.
Avoid eating foods that are high in fat and salt.
Try to eat before you get hungry and before nausea occurs.
Drink plenty of liquids.
Foods that contain ginger may also help. Some of these are ginger tea and ginger candy, along with ginger ale. Check to see that they have ginger in them rather than just ginger flavoring.
Try changing how you take your prenatal vitamins.
Some other tips are:
Try acupressure wristbands that apply pressure to specific points on your wrist. Often these are used to ease motion sickness. You can find them at drug stores, health-food stores, travel stores, and online.
Try acupuncture. Some acupuncturists are trained to work with pregnant women. Talk to your health care provider beforehand.
Vitamin B6 (100 mg or less daily) has been shown to ease symptoms of morning sickness. Many doctors and midwives recommend trying it first before trying other medicine.
There are no drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat morning sickness. Your health care provider may not advise medicines to prevent nausea unless your vomiting is severe and will not stop.
Hark L, Catalano PM. Nutritional management during pregnancy. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 7.
Matthews A, Dowswell T, Haas DM, Doyle M, O'Mathúna DP. Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;9:CD007575.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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