Nausea is probably the most well known symptom of pregnancy. It’s also arguably the worst symptom you’ll have to deal with once you get pregnant (at least it was for me!).
For some women, nausea in pregnancy can be crippling, while others get lucky and don’t experience it at all. But pregnancy nausea, or morning sickness, is a lot more than just throwing up in the morning.
While that’s what it’s built up to be in the movies, many women are caught off guard by the reality of their morning sickness.
Thankfully, there’s actually a lot you can do to both prevent and naturally treat nausea during your pregnancy.
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Everything you need to know about morning sickness
I had nausea, or morning sickness, shortly after becoming pregnant with my son, and it sucked. Granted, it could have been worse, but it also could have been better.
But now that my son is almost three years old, I’m really kicking myself for not realizing or finding out that there are so many ways that you can ease pregnancy nausea!
For all my pregnancy research, I really dropped the ball on that one. It wasn’t until after I gave birth that I found about so much about morning sickness, the causes, and what you can do about it.
Don’t be like me. As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, start looking into it and learn as much as you can. Start proactively preventing it, and use natural remedies if it does start showing up.
What is pregnancy nausea called?
Nausea during pregnancy is commonly known as morning sickness. This is because pregnant women are more prone to feeling nauseous first thing in the morning.
However, morning sickness can actually come at any time of the day. It’s just more common early in the day.
For some pregnant women, the nausea and throwing up gets so bad that they are unable to keep any food or liquid down. When it gets this bad, it’s called hyperemesis gravidarum.
Now, this isn’t just an odd day of severe nausea. Hyperemesis gravidarum is consistent, and very severe. It can easily lead to dehydration and malnutrition, which can be dangerous for both mom and baby.
If you suspect you have this condition, be sure to contact your provider immediately. If you are diagnosed with it, you’ll likely receive a prescription medication to help ease it.
How bad is pregnancy nausea?
The amount of nausea you feel during pregnancy varies greatly from person to person. Some women don’t experience any nausea at all, while others have morning sickness every day their entire pregnancy.
For some, the nauseous feeling subsides after a few hours, while others experience it for long periods of time. For some it can even last the entire day.
The degree of nausea can vary, too. You may or may not actually throw up, depending on how sick you feel. Personally, my sensitive gag reflex was a much greater problem than the actual nausea feeling.
When does nausea start during pregnancy?
Morning sickness can begin as early as four weeks after conception. However, you may not begin to feel it until later on, or not at all.
The first trimester is the most common time to experience nausea. It’s actually one of the first signs that you might be pregnant.
While it is not true for everyone, most pregnant women begin to feel relief from it once they reach their second trimester.
Can you have morning sickness at night?
Yes! Despite it’s name, you can have morning sickness or nausea at any point during the day. It’s just more common first thing in the morning, when your stomach is empty.
I found this out the hard way. When I was pregnant with Elijah, I had morning sickness first thing in the morning, then again in the evenings. It pretty much sucked.
How long does morning sickness last?
Morning sickness usually begins in the first trimester and gets better in the second trimester. However, some may continue to feel nauseous into the second and even third trimesters.
On a day to day basis, your nausea may last a few hours to the entire day (hopefully not!).
If you have no break from it and morning sickness remedies don’t help, you should bring it up with your doctor. You may need medication to help ease it and ensure you are able to eat and drink sufficiently.
What causes morning sickness?
Like most pregnancy symptoms, nausea during pregnancy is caused by hormones. Rising hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, and hCG can contribute to your morning sickness.
Your body will need time to adjust to the high levels of these hormones, and the rate that they increase can lead to morning sickness.
Unfortunately, there’s no clear understanding for why some women get morning sickness while others don’t. Every one of us is different, and each of our bodies handles pregnancy changes differently.
Morning sickness remedies
This is probably the section that actually brought you here. Because pregnancy nausea sucks, and anything you can do to relieve it is worth a try.
Thankfully, there are actually a lot of remedies and things you can do to ease your morning sickness. And yes, I’m majorly kicking myself for not knowing about them when I was actually pregnant.
Eat a few crackers before getting out of bed
This is one thing I actually did try when I was pregnant, and it helped a bit.
Keep a packet of plain saltine crackers on your nightstand. Before getting up in the morning, eat a few to get something in your stomach and let your body adjust to being awake.
These are also great for if you wake up in the night feeling sick, or for after you take a nap. Basically anytime you feel sick, dry crackers or toast can help ease your stomach.
Avoid an empty stomach—eat smaller, frequent meals and snacks
When your stomach is empty, you will be much more prone to feeling sick. That’s why saltine crackers first thing in the morning can help—it quickly gets some food in you that your stomach can handle.
To help prevent your stomach from getting too empty, try eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of three larger ones. You can also try some light snacking in between meals. Just be sure to keep your snacks healthy to promote good prenatal health.
Eat healthy and well
Your snacks aren’t the only things that should be healthy, though. When you’re pregnant, just about everything you eat also affects your baby.
Pregnancy is an important time to focus on your overall health and well being. And that starts with the foods you eat—and the food you should be avoiding.
But eating well during pregnancy can be difficult, especially with pregnancy nausea getting in the way.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your pregnancy diet, I highly recommend both Mommy Labor Nurse’s Pregnancy Cookbook, which is available through her all access pass (which includes tons of other resources as well!).
Mommy Labor Nurse is a labor and delivery nurse, and is one of my favorite people for birth and new moms resources.
Not only does she have amazing online birth classes, but she collaborated with a chef to create a cookbook filled with recipes catered towards pregnancy. And her pregnancy cookbook includes recipes specific for fighting off nausea!
Another great resource for a healthy pregnancy is the book Eating for Pregnancy. This reference book is written by an OB and prenatal nutrition specialists.
The book is packed with information on prenatal nutrition and health. It also includes recipes catered toward each month of pregnancy, to help you optimize your meals for the best prenatal nutrition. Great for recipes and as a nutritional reference book!
Take your prenatal vitamin in the afternoon
If you’re trying to avoid early morning pregnancy nausea, try taking your prenatal in the afternoon. Just taking your prenatal regularly will help by keeping your body supplied with Vitamin B6.
B vitamins, especially B6, are known to help with morning sickness. Taking your prenatal vitamin in the afternoon or around lunch helps your prenatal to last past the time you usually feel sick. Basically, you don’t want to be “due” for more first thing in the morning.
If you find that your prenatal is triggering your nausea, taking it in the afternoon may help when you are feeling better.
You may also ask your doctor about switching to a different prenatal if it persists. I personally used and loved Vitafusion Prenatal gummies.
Ginger is a spice well known for settling upset stomachs and nausea, and is safe during pregnancy. This is an easy remedy to take advantage of, since you can add it into many meals and snacks.
You can also get plenty of ginger drops, pops, and candies. Including all natural ones!
One of the most well known remedies for pregnancy nausea is Preggie Pops. While I haven’t tried them myself, they are recommended and loved by so many moms.
Preggie Pops come in a lot of different flavors. They also come as drops if you prefer that.
Upspring Stomach Settle Drops
Personally, I’m a huge fan of Upspring Stomach Settle Drops whenever I feel nauseous or have an upset stomach. I actually discovered these at a gas station during a road trip when one of us got car sick. And they are amazing!
Unlike a lot of ginger based nausea drops, Upspring drops actually taste really good. And they work very fast.
The first time I took one I was absolutely amazed when my extreme nausea completely disappeared within just a few short minutes.
Lemon & lemon scents
Lemon is another well known natural remedy for nausea. Suck on a lemon wedge, or put lemon in your water.
Eat foods with Vitamin B6
Like I said earlier in the post, Vitamin B6 is known to help with nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy. So anything you can eat that will give you a boost of it is a good idea.
If you’re not sure what foods to eat to get more Vitamin B6, or any other necessary nutrient, check out the book Eating for Pregnancy. It has a ton of helpful information regarding pregnancy health and nutrition. Including recipes!
*Note: avoid taking a vitamin supplement unless recommended by your doctor.
It’s much harder to overdose on vitamins and minerals by simply eating foods with them, whereas you can easily get too much of a good thing by taking unnecessary supplements.
Whenever possibly, try to eat more healthy foods to get the nutrients you need rather than supplementing (this does not include your prenatal, however, which you absolutely should be taking).
Eat foods with protein
I don’t quite understand the science behind this one, but I know that getting enough protein can help prevent nausea. It’s often recommended that pregnant women try to include a protein source in their meals and snacks.
Not only is it good for you and beneficial for baby, but it will help you feel better too. Next time you grab a snack, try adding a bit of peanut butter to it or eating a hard boiled egg.
Avoid trigger smells and foods
This is probably the most obvious way to avoid nausea during pregnancy. Many pregnant women become much more sensitive to smell, and unfortunately that often leads to nausea.
There’s really no way to avoid this pregnancy symptom, other than to avoid being around any smells or foods that trigger you.
Don’t worry, you may find that this symptom gets better in the second and third trimester. Or, it may not. Either way, it will definitely disappear once you’ve given birth.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing
A less obvious remedy to nausea, try wearing loose, comfortable clothing rather than tighter clothes. Becoming too hot can trigger nausea, so you’re better off wearing clothes that keep you cool and comfy.
For some women, tighter, restricting clothes can trigger their gag reflex and lead to nausea and vomiting.
When I was pregnant with Elijah, my gag reflex and nausea was so sensitive that I couldn’t have anything touching my throat. Even regular T-shirts often bothered me, so I opted for maternity clothes with slightly wider necklines.
Avoid getting overheated
Wearing too tight clothes isn’t the only way you can get overheated. Make sure you aren’t sitting in the sun for too long, and that you’re dressed appropriately for the weather. Keep in mind that you will likely feel warmer than normal.
If you feel yourself getting too hot, don’t be afraid to excuse yourself to cooler room or step outside for a moment. Drinking plenty of water and staying well hydrated will help as well.
While it may sound odd at first, sea bands may be helpful in easing your morning sickness. Sea bands use accupressure to reduce motion sickness, and may help with your morning sickness as well.
Accupressure is a noninvasive, natural way to treat and prevent nausea. It’s worth a shot if you’re struggling to stop your pregnancy nausea!
Ice or popsicles
Speaking of unusual remedies for pregnancy nausea, eating ice or sucking on popsicles has been known to help many women. And it’s a great way to help ensure you stay hydrated.
I often sucked on ice and ate popsicles when I was pregnant with Elijah. I don’t know exactly why it works, but I do know it always seemed to help with my nausea.
Pregnancy nausea sucks, but it doesn’t last forever
There’s no doubt about it, morning sickness just plain sucks. But be encouraged, girl. Even the worst nausea doesn’t last forever. It may not be until you deliver your baby (but probably sooner!), but it will end.
Are you struggling with morning sickness? What remedies seem to work the best for you?