For many women, the toughest part of
early pregnancy is morning sickness. If you are suffering from nausea,
vomiting, or both, you need safe measures that will bring you some relief. Your
best course of action for managing morning sickness is home treatment. By
following a few proven guidelines, you are likely to gain significant relief
from nausea and vomiting. Home treatment measures for morning sickness
If you have severe, persistent nausea and vomiting, see
your doctor or nurse-midwife immediately. This uncommon complication of
pregnancy can lead to dehydration and malnutrition, sometimes requiring
prescribed medicine or hospitalization.
Morning sickness can range
from mild, occasional nausea to severe, continuous, disabling nausea with bouts
of vomiting. Symptoms may be worse in the morning, though they can strike at
any time of the day or night.
Although its cause is poorly
understood, morning sickness has been linked to increasing
estrogen levels, along with other hormone changes
during early pregnancy.1
There is no way of predicting how long your morning
sickness will last, even if you have suffered through it before. Nausea and
vomiting usually go away by 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. But in some cases,
morning sickness can last well into a pregnancy.
If your mother had morning sickness for half of her
pregnancy, you probably will, too.
You can't predict whether and how long you will
have morning sickness based on your own or your mother's past
Continue to Why?
Morning sickness begins during the first trimester, when the
developing baby (fetus) is vulnerable to birth defects. So
during the first
trimester, use home treatment to treat nausea and
vomiting unless your doctor recommends medicine to treat your symptoms.
If you have severe, persistent nausea and vomiting that is causing
dehydration or weight loss, your doctor can prescribe a medicine for you that
is not known to cause fetal problems.
No matter how bad it gets, prescription medicine is
not advised for treating nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
If dehydration and malnutrition become a
concern during pregnancy, prescription antinausea medicine is
If dehydration and malnutrition become a
concern during pregnancy, prescription antinausea medicine is appropriate.
Continue to How?
following are safe, proved treatments for morning sickness. Still, few women
gain complete relief from morning sickness treatment.
Follow these guidelines for minimizing nausea and vomiting
Contact your doctor immediately if you vomit more than 3
times a day or are unable to take fluids, especially if you also have pain,
fever, or both.
Ginger will immediately relieve nausea and vomiting.
You only need to take it when you're feeling sick.
Although ginger ale or ginger tea may ease mild
nausea, your best bet for treating morning sickness with ginger is with regular
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information about morning sickness, you can take action toward curbing your
symptoms. If you have any questions about home treatment or are considering
using doxylamine, talk to your doctor or nurse-midwife.
Return to topic:
Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Prenatal care. In
Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 189–214. New York:
Festin M (2009). Nausea and vomiting in
early pregnancy, search date May 2008. BMJ Clinical Evidence. Available online: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
Kelly TF, Savides TJ. (2009). Gastrointestinal disease in pregnancy. In RK Creasy et al., eds., Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice, 6th ed., pp. 1041–1057. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
August 15, 2013
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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