Your pregnant body
Causes of nausea during pregnancy
More than half of all pregnant women have some nausea during the first trimester. For most women this nausea usually goes away by the second trimester. For some women, nausea and vomiting may continue even past the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Experts are unclear as to why some women develop nausea while others do not. But nausea may be related to the increased levels of hormones released during pregnancy. It may continue until the body has adjusted itself to the new level of hormones in the body during pregnancy.
What you can do
To help relieve nausea, try following these helpful tips:
Get up slowly in the morning.
- Sit on the side of the bed for a few minutes before standing up.
- Movement often makes nausea worse.
- Eat a few crackers or another light snack before you get out of bed.
Eat smaller meals.
- Eat five or six small meals each day instead of three larger meals.
- Eat the foods that smell and taste good to you.
- Avoid fatty foods or foods that are hard to digest.
- Try not to let your stomach get completely empty. Eat snacks that are high in protein (such as lean meat or cheese) before going to bed. Protein takes longer to digest, so your stomach won’t feel as empty in the morning.
Drink fluids often during the day.
- It's important to stay hydrated.
- Drink plenty of water, clear fruit juices (such as apple or white grape juice), or ginger ale.
Check with your health provider.
- Some medicines can harm you and your baby during pregnancy.
- Always check with your health care provider before taking any medicine to relieve nausea. This includes any herbal or food remedies (such as ginger supplements).
When to talk to your health care provider
Mild nausea and occasional vomiting aren't a threat to your baby's health as long as you're able to keep some food down and drink plenty of fluids.
Call your health care provider if:
- Your nausea and vomiting become severe.
- You haven't been able to keep anything (including fluids) down for 24 hours.
- You almost always vomit shortly after eating or drinking anything.
- You begin to lose weight.
- Your heart races or pounds.
- Your urine looks concentrated and dark-colored.
- You don't urinate every 4-6 hours.
- You vomit blood.
Severe nausea and vomiting can be a symptom of a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (excessive vomiting in pregnancy). If your vomiting is severe, your health care provider will do lab tests on your blood and urine to check for medical conditions. Moderate or severe morning sickness may require:
- Medication to reduce nausea and vomiting
- Intravenous fluid treatment
- Fasting, then slowly start eating foods again.