Nausea In Pregnancy
Nausea, with or without vomiting, is known as morning sickness, but frequently occurs at other times of the day or evening. Since it is more apt to occur when the stomach is empty, nausea is usually worse in the morning. The cause of nausea in pregnancy is not known, although the rapidly rising hormone levels in early pregnancy are believed to be a factor. Fortunately, it usually only occurs during the first three months of pregnancy. There are numerous techniques to reduce nausea, which are listed below. Not all of them work for all women. Try any one, or all, or any combination until you find what works best for you.
- Do not let your stomach get completely empty. This is a vicious cycle. You are not hungry because you are nauseated, but if you go too long without eating, the nausea can get worse. Also, small meals are tolerated better than large ones. Plan out what you need to eat for the day to meet your minimum nutrition requirements. Then eat a few bites every hour or two, spacing the total amount of food out over the day. If you get up at night to go to the bathroom, eat a little then.
- Keep some crackers, dry toast, popcorn or other dry carbohydrate foods at your bedside and eat a little of it before you get out of bed in the morning.
- Low fat foods are easier to digest (low fat milk, yogurt, lean meat, broiled or canned fish, poultry without skin, apple sauce).
- Eat carbohydrates that are easy to digest (rice, pasta, potatoes, cereals, crackers and ginger snaps).
- Avoid highly seasoned food and fats in your diet. These can be especially nauseating.
- Avoid foods that give you gas (cabbage, broccoli, onions, buttermilk, pinto or pork beans).
- Eat or drink something sweet (like fruit or fruit juice) before going to bed at night and before getting up in the morning. Sometimes nectars are better tolerated.
- Avoid spicy foods and foods with strong or offensive odors.
- Peppermint tea settles the stomach and can relieve nausea. Do not drink liquids at the same sitting with solid foods. Space out small meals so that you wait 30-60 minutes after a solid meal before drinking anything. This prevents the stomach from getting over full.
- Most women discover a certain food that just does not agree with them during pregnancy, even though they had no problem with it before pregnancy. If you get extremely nauseated after eating a particular food two or three times in a row, you may have to give it up for the duration of the pregnancy or suffer the consequences.
- Suck on lemon drops, mint candy or lifesavers throughout the day.
- The stomach secretes less acid during pregnancy. Sometimes drinking half a glass of grapefruit juice with a meal will increase the acid and allow you to digest the food more easily.
- Guard against dehydration.
- Get plenty of fresh air.
- Remove strong odors from your surroundings.
- Rise slowly from bed; give yourself a few minutes to adjust.
- Wear non-restrictive clothing
- Use a heating pad or hot water bottle to sooth sore abdominal muscles from vomiting.
DO NOT take any anti-nausea medicines without consulting your healthcare provider. You may want to avoid taking your prenatal vitamin for a couple of days. Some women are very sensitive to the iron and the concentrated vitamins. You may also take ½ of your prenatal tablet at bedtime and the other ½ at lunchtime. Other helpful over the counter supplements include:
- Vitamin B6 – 50-100 mg twice daily
- TUMS – Chew 1-2 tablets every hour. Maximum of 16 tablets in 24 hours.
- Unisom 25 mg – use 1/2 tablet up to 4 times daily
- Ginger Capsules – As recommended by manufacturer
If, despite the above suggestions, you are still unable to tolerate food or liquids, please call the office to speak with our nurse or to make an appointment to see your provider.