morning; sickness; nausea; nauseated; vomit; vomiting; feeling; sick; ginger; acupressure; hyperemesis; gravida; gravidum;
Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) is a common problem, especially during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
- Up to 80% of pregnant women have some symptoms.
- Some may feel sick without vomiting.
- Even though it is called morning sickness, you may feel sick and vomit at any time of the day or night.
- How severe the morning sickness is, and how long into the pregnancy it lasts, varies a great deal from one woman to another. It also can vary from one pregnancy to the next – you could have one pregnancy affected by morning sickness but little nausea the next time.
- It usually improves greatly by the end of the first three months, if not sooner, but for some women it lasts longer – sometimes until their baby is born.
- For some women it can be severe – causing them to lose weight and become dehydrated.
The cause is not fully known but it may be related to pregnancy hormones.
Morning sickness is normal, and there is no risk to a baby unless it is very severe.
It is important that both you and your partner understand that during pregnancy you may not enjoy stimuli (visual, taste, smell, touch and sexual experiences) that you used to. These changes may place a strain on your relationship.
Managing morning sickness
In most cases no medical treatment is needed, but there are some things you could try that may make a difference.
- Try eating some cracker biscuits and sipping a cup of weak tea or a glass of water before you get out of bed in the morning. Many women find that it helps to keep a supply of cracker biscuits and a glass of water by their bed.
- To help relieve the sick feelings during the day, try eating smaller meals more often (rather than 3 large meals a day) and avoid fatty foods and coffee.
- Eat when you feel like eating rather than waiting for meal times.
- Try not to skip meals or go for long periods of time without eating.
- If possible, ask someone else to prepare meals.
- Have a range of foods on hand (eg salty, sweet, crunchy) as your taste may change during the day.
- Remember to drink plenty of water - 6 to 8 glasses a day is ideal. Sucking crushed ice may also be helpful. Small drinks often may be better than large drinks.
- If some of the time you cannot manage to drink water you may find dry ginger ale or flat lemonade better. Ginger tea may also be helpful.
- If you are vomiting a lot, you will need to take extra care to make sure you are drinking enough water.
- You may like to talk with your pharmacist about drinking an oral rehydration solution. These solutions replace the important electrolytes, as well as fluid, that your body loses when you are vomiting a lot.
- Some women find that the acupressure wristbands worn to prevent travel sickness (available from pharmacies) help to ease their nausea.
- Some women find chewing ginger pieces or mints helpful.
- You could also try ginger tablets or vitamin B6. Talk to a pharmacist about how much to take.
If your morning sickness is worrying you, talk to your doctor or midwife.
- There are prescription medicines that can be used to control severe morning sickness. These drugs have not been known to cause birth defects or have other harmful effects for unborn babies.
You could talk with your local pharmacist.
Or in South Australia you can contact the Medicines and Drug Information Centre of the Pharmacy Department at the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide.
- A pharmacist can advise you if a particular medicine is safe while you are pregnant.
- You can contact the service Monday to Friday during normal business hours on 08 8161 7222.
In Australia you could ring the National Medicines Line 1300 633 424 (1300 MEDICINE) 9am - 5 pm Monday to Friday (Eastern Standard Time). For more information visit www.nps.org.au
nausea and vomiting
Less than 1% of pregnant women can become very ill, lose weight and become dehydrated. This is called Hyperemesis gravidarum. They may need hospital admission, fluid via a drip (intravenous fluid) and medication.
For more information about management of severe vomiting in pregnancy, have a look at the Perinatal Practice Guideline 'Hyperemesis in pregnancy' http://www.health.sa.gov.au/ppg/Default.aspx?PageContentMode=1&tabid=102
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see your doctor or midwife.