Hero Image
profile picture of Ashley S. Roman, MD, and Amy Stanford
Ashley S. Roman, MD, and Amy Stanford

Morning Sickness

Feel like you're gonna puke? Here's how to feel better.

What is morning sickness?

Before your pregnancy, you probably imagined that when you woke up in the morning, you’d be nauseous, throw up and then go on with your day. Well…not so much. Whoever decided to call it “morning sickness” was probably sleeping through the day, because this nausea doesn’t discriminate between the morning, afternoon or evening.

What are the signs of morning sickness?

Nausea and vomiting — of course — early in pregnancy.

Are there any tests for morning sickness?

If you’re losing significant weight or can’t keep anything down, those may be signs of a more serious problem, so talk to your doctor.

How common is morning sickness?

Common! Experts think anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women get morning sickness.

How did I get morning sickness?

There’s no clear answer as to why nausea occurs during pregnancy, although it’s believed that it’s due to hormonal changes (that seems to be the answer to everything these days). Generally, the nausea isn’t too overwhelming, and by midpregnancy, you should be mostly relieved of it. But if your nausea and vomiting are excessive, talk to your doctor, because it may be hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare severe form of morning sickness that results in a poor intake of fluids and food (and a hungry baby).

How will my morning sickness affect baby?

Morning sickness can be dangerous for both you and baby if you’re losing more than 10 percent of your baseline weight or if you’re unable to keep down even sips of water.

What’s the best way to treat morning sickness?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill for curing that horrible, about-to-barf-any-second sensation. But there are some things you can do to try to minimize it:

Try to eat frequent, small meals throughout the day, focusing on stomach-friendly foods like starchy carbs and yogurt, and avoiding greasy and spicy foods. An empty stomach only increases nausea. Keep saltine crackers by your bed so that you can snack on a couple before getting up in the morning.

Prevent dehydration (another nausea trigger) by sipping small amounts of water throughout the day and eating hydrating foods like popsicles.

You can also try Sea-Bands or Psi Bands, which are oh-so-stylish stretchy wristbands that can reduce nausea by stimulating acupressure points. (They’re available at most drugstores).

Vitamin B6 has been shown in scientific studies to reduce early pregnancy nausea. Taking a 10 milligram or 25 milligram tablet up to four times a day can help soothe your tummy. A 250 milligram ginger capsule taken up to four times daily has also been shown in scientific studies to reduce nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy.
Finally, if you’re spending a good part of the day over the toilet or simply can’t stomach the thought of waiting until your second trimester to feel better, ask your doctor about over-the-counter or prescription medications that might help.

What can I do to prevent morning sickness?

Although you can’t really prevent morning sickness, studies show that women who take multivitamins before conception are less likely to get nauseous — so if you’re TTC, start sucking those vitamins down now.

What do other pregnant moms do when they have morning sickness?
“I asked a nurse, and she said to drink flat Coke, but only in little sips, all day long. It totally helped!”

“Saltines, Life Savers and sparkling water are my miracle drugs at the moment. For my other pregnancies, I used those Sea-Bands, and they always seemed to help.”

“Last night, I ate a small something every time I got up to go to the bathroom, and drank two big glasses of water throughout the night. This morning, I slept later than I have in quite a while and feel pretty good. Yay!”

Are there any other resources for morning sickness?

Plus, more from The Bump: