Morning Sickness

What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness is nausea with or without vomiting that happens during pregnancy. It can happen any time of day. Morning sickness is most common during the first 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. Morning sickness usually gets better after the early part of your pregnancy and does not harm your baby.

What causes morning sickness?

The cause of morning sickness is not known. Pregnancy causes changes in your hormones that may lead to morning sickness. Morning sickness may be more likely to happen when your stomach is empty. Stress and anxiety may make morning sickness worse. Strong odors may cause your morning sickness to start, or make it worse.

How is morning sickness diagnosed?

Your caregiver will examine you and check your weight. He will ask you questions about your symptoms and the medicines that you take.

How can I manage my morning sickness?

There is no treatment for morning sickness, but there are things you can do to manage symptoms. You may need to try several things to learn what works for you. The following are safe ways for you to manage your morning sickness at home:

  • Activities:

    • Learn what triggers your symptoms or makes them worse.

    • Take a short walk, turn on a fan, or try to sleep with the window open to get fresh air. When you are cooking, open windows to get rid of smells that may cause nausea.

    • Do not smoke cigarettes. Ask other people not to smoke around you.

    • Do not brush your teeth right after you eat if it makes you nauseated.

    • Do not try to manage your morning sickness using any medicines, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements without talking to your caregiver first. Many medicines can harm an unborn baby.

  • Nutrition:

    • Avoid foods that make you feel nauseated.

    • Eat small meals often throughout the day. Eat a small snack, such as crackers, dry cereal, or a small sandwich before you go to bed.

    • Eat foods that are low in fat and high in protein. Examples are lean meat, beans, turkey, and chicken without the skin.

    • Eat bland foods such as dry toast, dry cereal, plain pasta, white rice, and bread. Other bland foods are bananas, apples, rice, and popcorn without butter. Avoid spicy, greasy, and fried foods.

    • Keep crackers or dry toast at your bedside. Before you get out of bed in the morning, eat some crackers or dry toast. Get out of bed slowly, because sudden movements could cause you to get dizzy and nauseated.

    • Drink liquids between meals instead of with meals. Wait at least 30 minutes after you eat to drink liquids. Drink small amounts of liquids often throughout the day. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day.

    • Eat foods that contain ginger, or drink ginger ale. Ginger may help to decrease nausea and vomiting.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • You vomit more than 3 times every day.

  • You cannot keep any food or liquid down.

  • You begin to lose weight.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have signs of dehydration. Examples are dark yellow urine, dry mouth and lips, dry skin, and urinating less than usual.

  • You have severe stomach pain.

  • You feel too weak or dizzy to stand up.

  • You see blood in your vomit or bowel movements.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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