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Doing Battle With Morning Sickness

Doing Battle with Morning Sickness

Quelling the Queasies

One principle that might help keep morning sickness at bay is that nausea is often worse on an empty stomach. So eat small, frequent meals throughout the day rather than the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner. Keep some crackers on your nightstand to munch on before you get out of bed in the morning. If taking a prenatal vitamin in the morning on an empty stomach exacerbates your nausea, try taking it at night instead.

Bland starches, such as breads, rice or pasta, which are metabolized quickly, are often the best choices for morning sickness, says Anne Dubner, a registered dietician and nutrition consultant in Houston. So are high-protein snacks, which take longer to digest and therefore stay in your body longer. A combination of the two -- crackers with peanut butter or cheese, for instance, might be particularly helpful. Also, avoid highly spiced or greasy foods and gas-producing vegetables like cabbage.

"Whatever works, that's the rule in morning sickness, and what makes you feel good at 9 a.m. may not make you feel good at 4 p.m.," says Elizabeth Ward, a registered dietician in Boston and author of "Pregnancy Nutrition: Good Health for You and Your Baby." Don't worry about not getting enough nutrition during the first trimester if you don't have much of an appetite, either, because the nutritional needs of the fetus are still minimal.

Drinking enough fluids, especially if you're queasy, is particularly important since dehydration is one of the most serious consequences of morning sickness. Pregnant women should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid daily. Many women find that water doesn't sit well with nausea. If carbonated drinks such as ginger ale work best, Erick recommends those with the most bite, such as Schweppes or Jamaican ginger beer. Herbal teas such as red raspberry, lemon, spearmint, peach or chamomile may work. Erick says watermelon is a great "solid liquid" that may help.

Ginger traditionally has helped many women quell morning sickness and nausea. One study showed that ginger capsules with 250 milligrams of ginger four times per day were effective, but a quarter-teaspoon of grated ginger root steeped in 1 cup of boiling water may be just as helpful, says Amanda McQuade Crawford, an herbalist and author of "Herbal Remedies for Women."

Vitamin B-6 is another common and safe tummy soother. A study conducted by Dr. Niebyl, and duplicated by another researcher, showed that taking 25 milligrams of B-6 three times a day helped a majority of women with moderate-to-severe morning sickness. Dr. Niebyl says the standard B-6 vitamin is 50 milligrams, so you can break it in half. With any over-the-counter supplement, including herbs, it's always a good idea to check with your physician or midwife first, particularly to make sure the symptoms aren't related to a more serious condition that needs different treatment.

By her third pregnancy, Deborah Wood swore by acupressure wristbands, which are commonly used to prevent seasickness. The bands theoretically relieve nausea by applying pressure to a point located on the forearm about 2 inches above the wrist, although studies are inconclusive that they're effective. "I never took them off," say Wood, 46. "I'll never know if they really worked, or if it was psychological, or if I wouldn't have been sick anyway; but this was the only pregnancy I used them with, and it was the only time I didn't get sick."

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