Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
Updated: Nov 1
Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It’s a common condition affecting up to 70% of pregnant people in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Despite its name, “morning” sickness can happen at any time of the day. Many people have morning sickness, especially during the first three months of pregnancy. Some people have morning sickness all throughout their pregnancy. Symptoms tend to improve by the second trimester for most.
Why do we experience nausea during pregnancy?
We still aren’t totally sure of the exact cause of morning sickness. It is thought to be the influx of hormones given off by the placenta such as human chorionic gonadotropin aka hCG. For example, women who are carrying twins have more hCG and therefore are more likely to have nausea. Nausea can continue until the body adjusts to these new hormones and generally occurs from 6 weeks to 16 weeks of pregnancy. A small percentage of women also suffer more severe symptoms that can result in the inability to keep any food or water down. This condition is called hyperemesis gravidarum. It is important to talk to your OB if you are struggling to keep food and water down for extended periods of time as this can lead to dehydration and malnourishment.
So, what's the deal with morning sickness?
So many women experience nausea or vomiting during their first trimester of pregnancy due to an influx of hormones. However, this term is a bit inaccurate due to the fact that it can occur any time throughout the day. It is often called “NVP," for "nausea and vomiting during pregnancy."Most women experience a decrease in symptoms after the first trimester but it can still occur throughout the entire 9 months of pregnancy.
What causes morning sickness?
The cause of morning sickness is not known. Hormone changes might play a role. Rarely, a medical condition not related to pregnancy, such as thyroid or gallbladder disease, can cause serious nausea or vomiting.
Morning sickness can affect anyone who's pregnant, but it might be more likely for those who:
Had nausea or vomiting from other causes before becoming pregnant such as motion sickness or migraines
Had morning sickness during a prior pregnancy
Are pregnant with twins or other multiples
Hyperemesis gravidarum might be more likely for those who:
Are pregnant with a girl
Have a family history of hyperemesis gravidarum
Have had hyperemesis gravidarum during an earlier pregnancy
What are the symptoms of morning sickness?
Common signs and symptoms of morning sickness include an upset stomach (nausea), loss of appetite and vomiting.
Some people describe morning sickness as feeling like:
Heartburn or reflux.
Seasickness or motion sickness.
Something is stuck in their throat.
What are some holistic forms of relief?
Ginger: One of our number one recommendations is ginger. Ginger contains a natural component called “gingerol” which helps to increase the rate at which the stomach empties. There have actually been studies comparing ginger to Vitamin B6 that have shown ginger to be comparable! This has soothing qualities and can be incredibly helpful in reducing nausea symptoms. Ginger can be made into juice, tea and candies.
B6: Vitamin B6 supplementation has been shown to be incredibly beneficial in reducing nausea symptoms. It is recommended to take 10-25 mg every 8 hours to help decrease symptoms. Most prenatals do contain B vitamins but if additional supplementation is warranted it is important to find a high quality one without additives. Vitamin B6 can be found naturally in sunflower seeds, pistachios, tuna, salmon, turkey, chicken, dried fruits such as raisins and prunes, bananas, avocado and spinach.
Nausea Relief Bands: Nausea relief bands put pressure on an acupressure point known as P6 or Nei-Kuan. This placement between the two tendons has been shown decrease nausea symptoms.
Peppermint Oil: Peppermint essential oil has been shown to help relieve nausea symptoms as well. Patients can inhale the smell to help decrease the symptoms. It can also be applied to the P6 acupressure point, temples, behind the ear as well as on a damp cloth applied across the forehead. Peppermint oil has been shown to be incredibly effective in relieving headaches in patients as well.
Preggie Drops: These are doctor developed lozenges in a variety of flavors that can help relieve dry mouth and nausea symptoms. They have options that also contain a 10mg supplement of B6 within the drop.
Acupuncture: Seeing an acupuncturist who specializes in pregnancy can be incredibly beneficial in reducing nausea symptoms. They have vast knowledge about Chinese medicine and can provide a wealth of knowledge. If you have any questions regarding acupuncture feel free to reach out and we can give you some of our recommendations for local providers!
Dietary Changes: Eating 5-6 smaller meals per day can be helpful in reducing symptoms. Also being conscious of quick movements by allowing yourself to move slower and more intentional to prevent waves of nausea throughout the day. Staying hydrated with increased water take is very helpful during pregnancy.
Our favorite Ginger Tea recipe:
Buy raw ginger (organic, if possible) at your local grocery store.
Peel off the skin and cut into thin slices
Add slices to a mug and cover with boiling water
Allow to steep for 10 minutes or longer for optimal taste.
Adding lemon juice can help to cut the stronger ginger taste if needed.
What if holistic treatments don't work for me?
There is hope! If you are still struggling with nausea, it is important to talk to your OB and discuss further options. They can prescribe a variety of medications for nausea that may be helpful in keeping symptoms at bay if natural measures aren’t working.
Commonly prescribed medications include:
It is important to note that with all medications there can be side effects. For example, Zofran can cause constipation which becomes problematic for some patients. Some of these medications listed can have very rare side effects that cause muscle jerking or twisting. Zofran and Compazine should not be taken in individuals who have prolonged QT interval as it can create an abnormal heart rhythm. Your OB should discuss your previous medical history in depth with you prior to suggesting additional medication.
Tips and tricks that helped Dr Hickey throughout pregnancy:
It really does get better and you’ll learn how to manage it more. I was really excited to be able to drink plain water again in the second trimester. Also remember every pregnancy is different. This nausea may not be around for the next one and it’s only temporary. You got this momma!
-Love Dr. Hickey
Epsom salt baths for relaxation
Staying hydrated with vitamin or coconut water
Eating small meals consistently throughout the day
Keeping flavorful candy on hand at all times
Quick and easy access to the bathroom
Driving myself whenever possible
Vomit bags on deck
Flavored toothpaste to avoid triggers
A good mouthwash for any enamel concerns
Additional recommendations can be found in our Amazon Storefront – click here!
Can chiropractic care help alleviate symptoms during pregnancy?
Seeing a Webster certified chiropractor throughout your pregnancy can have incredible benefits on more than just muscle aches and pains. By aligning the bones, ligaments and muscles around the pelvis it can help stimulate the nervous system and allow your body to relax. It also allows the uterus to have an optimal position, this helps the baby move around and can prevent pressure along the stomach and esophagus. A study regarding manual therapy to the cervical and thoracic spine during pregnancy to reduce symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and GERD showed promising results as a safe way to reduce symptoms.
By: Dr. Abby Kellogg
Chiropractor at ANH Wellness
Disclaimer: "The information including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment."
Gin Gins Chewy Ginger Candy: GIN GINS Original Chewy Ginger Candy by The Ginger People - Anti-Nausea and Digestion Aid, Individually Wrapped Healthy Candy - Original Ginger Flavor, Large 1 lb Bag (16 oz)
Birds and Bees Inner Peace Tea: https://www.amazon.com/Birds-Bees-Teas-Lemongrass-Peppermint/dp/B015TQZCVG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1TWVKYYWVFSZO&keywords=birds+and+bees+inner+peace+tea&qid=1683212261&sprefix=birds+and+bees+teas+inner+pea%2Caps%2C99&sr=8-1
Thorne B6 Supplement: https://www.thorne.com/products/dp/pyridoxal-5-phosphate-60-s-1
Nausea Bands on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3AZvVsu
Young Living Peppermint Oil: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ESB2Z4K?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_ud_dp_HNC1C85WWYYNBX126XT9
Preggie Drops: https://amzn.to/44JVJ9J
iSick Disposable Vomit Bags: https://amzn.to/41cjwfc
Colgate Kids Toothpaste: https://amzn.to/3pbcM3Y
Mouth Wash: https://amzn.to/3LVXYPA
Blog Resources: https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=morning-sickness-1-2080 https://www.uptodate.com/contents/nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy-beyond-the-basics https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/ginger-benefits#:~:text=Gingerol%2C%20a%20natural%20component%20of,Nausea%20relief. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2047064/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4649576/ https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/natural-sources-of-vitamin-b-during-pregnancy/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11277163/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32985338/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5911176/ https://www.morningsideacupuncturenyc.com/blog/acupuncture-for-morning-sickness#:~:text=Acupuncture%20can%20help%20reduce%20nausea,responsible%20for%20nausea%20and%20vomiting