Struggling with morning sickness? Learn what morning sickness is, what causes it, and what you can do to effectively relieve your morning sickness today.
Are you expecting a baby and experiencing pregnancy nausea or morning sickness? Trust me, you're not alone. Pregnancy nausea is a very common symptom that affects many women during the first trimester. In fact, according to the American Pregnancy Association, up to 70-80% of pregnant women experience morning sickness1 . If you're struggling with morning sickness, don't worry – we have some evidence-based tips you can implement today that can help give you some relief. In this article, we'll discuss what morning sickness is, what causes it, and how some simple lifestyle changes can help you effectively reduce your symptoms of morning sickness.
What is morning sickness?
Morning sickness is a term that is commonly used to describe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Despite its name, morning sickness can strike at any time of the day or night. Some women may even experience pregnancy nausea all day, while others may only feel it in the morning2 . Typically, morning sickness begins around the sixth week of pregnancy, is worst around week 9 and usually resolves towards the end of the first trimester. Unfortunately, some women may experience morning sickness throughout their entire pregnancy which can be quite debilitating.
What causes morning sickness?
We are still learning about the exact cause of morning sickness, but it's thought to be related to the hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy. Specifically, the increase in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and oestrogen which can impact the digestive system, resulting in nausea and vomiting. Women who have had multiple pregnancies tend to be at higher risk of morning sickness compared to those with single pregnancies. Research also suggests that people who get motion sickness, suffer with migraines, and have a history of nausea when taking the oral contraceptive pill are also more likely to have morning sickness during pregnancy6 .
How to relieve symptoms of morning sickness
If you're experiencing pregnancy nausea and wondering what helps morning sickness, here are some tips that may give you some relief:
- Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Protein dominant meals have been associated with decreased symptoms 5 .
- Avoid spicy and greasy foods, these can make nausea worse 6 .
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and fluids 6 .
- Ginger tea, lozenges or supplements can help support digestion and reduce nausea 7 .
- Avoid strong smells including fragrances and cleaning products.
- Try acupressure or acupuncture 6 .
- Seek emotional and psychological support via a qualified medical professional 6 .
- Get plenty of rest and take naps when you need to.
Prenatal vitamins & morning sickness
If you’re thinking about vitamins for morning sickness, consider taking a prenatal supplement. Prenatal vitamins are an essential part of a healthy pregnancy. They provide your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals that your baby needs to develop properly and bridge any nutritional gaps in your diet. In addition to promoting healthy foetal development, prenatal vitamins can also help alleviate morning sickness symptoms 3 .
Vitamin B6 for morning sickness
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a vitamin that has been shown to help relieve nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It has been recommended as a first-line treatment to relieve morning sickness for over 40 years. Some studies have shown that women who experience severe morning sickness tend to have lower levels of vitamin B6 in their blood. One randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial found that taking 30mg of vitamin B6 experienced a significant reduction in nausea compared to placebo 4 . Vitamin B6 is considered safe to take throughout pregnancy, however, before taking any supplements please talk to your doctor for advice that is tailored to your specific health needs.
4. T. Vutyavanich, S. Wongtra-Ngan, R.-A. Ruangsri, and C. Mai, “Pyridoxine for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 173, no. 3, pp. 881–884, 1995.
5. Jednak MA, Shadigian Em, Kim MS, et al. Protein meals reduced nausea and gastric slow waves dysrhythmic activity in first trimester pregnancy. Am J Physiol. 1999; 277:855–861.
7. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2004). ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) Practice Bulletin: nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Obstetrics and gynecology, 103(4), 803–814.