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Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What do I need to know about nausea and vomiting in pregnancy?
Nausea and vomiting can happen any time of day. These symptoms usually start before the 9th week of pregnancy, and end by the 14th week (second trimester). Some women can have nausea and vomiting for a longer time. These symptoms can affect some women throughout the entire pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting do not harm your baby. These symptoms can make it hard for you to do your daily activities.
What causes or increases my risk for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy?
The cause of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is not known. Pregnancy causes changes in your hormones that may lead to nausea and vomiting. The following may increase your risk of nausea and vomiting:
- Being pregnant with more than one baby
- Nausea and vomiting in a past pregnancy
- Having a sister or mother who had nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
- History of migraine headaches or motion sickness
- Being pregnant with a female baby
How is nausea and vomiting in pregnancy treated?
Treatment for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is usually not needed. You can make changes in the foods you eat and in your activities to help manage your symptoms. You may need to try several things to learn what works for you. Talk to your healthcare provider if your symptoms do not decrease with the changes suggested below. You may need vitamin B6 and medicine if these changes do not help, or your symptoms become severe.
What nutrition changes can I make to manage nausea and vomiting?
- Eat small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals. You may be more likely to have nausea and vomiting when your stomach is empty. Eat foods that are low in fat and high in protein. Examples are lean meat, beans, turkey, and chicken without the skin. Eat a small snack, such as crackers, dry cereal, or a small sandwich before you go to bed.
- Eat some crackers or dry toast before you get out of bed in the morning. Get out of bed slowly. Sudden movements could cause you to get dizzy and nauseated.
- Eat bland foods when you feel nauseated. Examples of bland foods include dry toast, dry cereal, plain pasta, white rice, and bread. Other bland foods include saltine crackers, bananas, gelatin, and pretzels. Avoid spicy, greasy, and fried foods. Avoid any other foods that make you feel nauseated.
- Drink liquids that contain ginger. Drink ginger ale made with real ginger or ginger tea made with fresh grated ginger. Ginger capsules or ginger candies may also help to decrease nausea and vomiting.
- 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 to prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day.
What other changes can I make to manage nausea and vomiting?
- Avoid smells that bother you. Strong odors may cause nausea and vomiting to start, or make it 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 brush your teeth right after you eat if it makes you nauseated.
- Rest when you need to. Start activity slowly and work up to your usual routine as you start to feel better.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about your prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins can cause nausea for some women. Try taking your prenatal vitamin at night or with a snack. If this change does not help, your healthcare provider may recommend a different type of vitamin.
- Do not use any medicines, vitamins, or supplements to manage your symptoms without asking your healthcare provider. Many medicines can harm an unborn baby.
- Light to moderate exercise may help to decrease your symptoms. It may also help you to sleep better at night. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
When should I seek immediate care?
- You have signs of dehydration. Examples are dark yellow urine, dry mouth and lips, dry skin, fast heartbeat, and urinating less than usual.
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- You feel too weak or dizzy to stand up.
- You see blood in your vomit or bowel movements.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You vomit more than 4 times in 1 day.
- You have not been able to keep liquids down for more than 1 day.
- You lose more than 2 pounds.
- You have a fever.
- Your nausea and vomiting continue longer than 14 weeks.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers 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.
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Learn more about Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy
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