Early Morning Sickness

Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy is common, and can affect up to 90% of all pregnancies. The severity is variable, and some can be mild, whilst others are so severe that it requires admission to hospital. These women can become so unwell that they become severely dehydrated.

Pregnancy induced vomitingHyperemesis usually occurs between 5 to 18 weeks of pregnancy. The peak of symptoms is usually at around 9 to 12 weeks, when the pregnancy hormone level (hCG) is at its peak. Symptoms typically improve by 16-18 weeks gestation. In 15% of women, symptoms may continue into the third trimester.

Nausea (with or without vomiting) can often start in the morning, but you may feel sick at any time of the day or night. Around 80% of women feel sick throughout the day. Whilst these symptoms are very unpleasant, as a constellation, it is good to know that statistically, women with mild nausea and vomiting during pregnancy have fewer miscarriages and stillbirths than women without these symptoms.

How to relieve nausea and vomiting in pregnancy?”

The most important thing to do is to maintain adequate hydration. You should drink additional fluids in order to replenish the fluid loss through vomiting.

There are several different remedies that may help with morning sickness, and can be make you feel a lot better, even if it does not eliminate the symptoms altogether. You may need to try different types of remedies, and as everyone is different, a remedy that works for your friend (or even your sister) may not work for you. A combination of therapies is often useful.

Symptoms of pregnancyUseful things to try include:

Dietary changes

Try eating as soon as you feel hungry, in order to avoid an empty stomach, which can sometimes make nausea worse.  Have small meals that are high in protein/carbohydrate, and low in fat.

Vomiting during pregnancyAvoid triggers

If you have identified particular odours, tastes, foods or activities that triggers your nausea, you should try to avoid these.  Triggers may include:

  • Spicy foods
  • Perfumes
  • Heat and humidity
  • Noise
  • Visual or physical motion (e.g. flickering lights, driving)
  • Tiredness
  • Stuffy rooms

Avoid lying down immediately after eating, and try not to change positions really quickly.

Simple Remedies

  • Ginger
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Prescription Medications

  • Metoclopramide (Maxolon)
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Promethazine (Phenergan)
  • Ondansetron (Zofran)

Some women may also experience symptoms of reflux (heartburn) associated with nausea and vomiting.  Try to have smaller meals and avoid late meals, and anti-reflux medications may be useful.  Treatment of the reflux may in turn help to relieve the nausea and vomiting.

Reflux is common during pregnancy

Greenslopes Obstetrics and Gynaecology