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Morning Sickness

Pregnancy Dr Minke Burke Director
Morning sickness is common in early pregnancy with more than 50% of women having the misfortune of experiencing it. Only a small percentage of women will suffer severely and exceed the first trimester symptoms of nausea. Most women will try and avoid medications, and can do so by making changes that are simple and effective.

Over 50% of women will experience some form of nausea in the early weeks of their pregnancy.  The majority feel the worst effects between weeks 6 and 14 with a tapering of symptoms thereafter.  Unfortunately “morning sickness” is unlikely to be restricted to the morning alone and intermittent or, in the worse case scenario, persistent symptoms will be experienced throughout the day.  Symptoms vary between women and between pregnancies from mild occasional nausea, aversion to certain foods or smells to severe dry retching or vomiting.  Despite this being a common occurrence in early pregnancy, it is important to ensure other causes of nausea and vomiting be excluded by your doctor.

Simple measures that do not require medications are sometimes sufficient to alleviate your symptoms:

  • Avoid hot foods particularly if smell triggers nausea (as they emit stronger smells than cold foods);
  • Avoid those foods particular to you that may trigger the nausea;
  • Eat regularly as an empty stomach can make nausea worse;
  • Keep crackers on your bedside table and eat one prior to getting out of bed – you have fasted overnight make the nausea worse in the morning;
  • Use mouthwash instead of brushing your teeth if this triggers your symptoms;
  • Consider the use of “seabands” – generally sold for sea sickness – they put pressure on an acupressure point on the wrist which may assist some women;
  • Drinking carbonated water seems to be better tolerated than still water and ensure you are well hydrated;
  • Rest – exhaustion can make your nausea worse;
  • Eat when you feel least sick;
  • Try ginger products as studies suggests this can be helpful.

If your symptoms are severe or not well tolerated there are over the counter preparations that can help and prescription medications that can be given to you by your doctor.