Most cases of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy are mild, not harmful, and end by the 18th week of pregnancy. Rarely will nausea and vomiting continue into the third trimester (beyond 26 weeks). Some cases are more severe and are called hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis may cause you to vomit multiple times throughout the day, lose weight, and may require a visit to the hospital. Call the doctor to report this condition.
The good news is that women with nausea and vomiting experience fewer miscarriages and stillbirths than women without these symptoms.
Who is at risk for nausea during pregnancy?
Women with a history of nausea and vomiting in a previous pregnancy or women having multiple births are at greater risk for nausea and vomiting.
What can I do on my own?
Women who take multivitamins regularly at the time of conception are less likely to have severe cases of nausea and vomiting. It is best to eat frequent small meals instead of three large meals. Avoid spicy or fatty foods and avoid an empty stomach by keeping crackers at your bedside table. (It helps to eat them before you get out of bed in the morning.)
Other helpful hints include:
- wear acupressure wristbands (Sea-Band®) on both wrists
- drink cold carbonated sour beverages
- eat or drink ginger containing foods (examples: ginger, lollipops, ginger ale)
- all oral intake is better tolerated when liquids and solids are separated (for example, eat dry cereal then drink milk or a liquid later)
To further decrease symptoms:
- brush your teeth after eating
- avoid lying flat after eating
- avoid quick changes in position
You may need to stop your vitamins temporarily if they are aggravating your symptoms.
What medications may I take?
Over the counter remedies include:
- Vitamin B6 (10 to 25 mg) three times daily
- Sleep aids like Unisom® ½ tablet 30 minutes before bedtime
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) 25 mg every 6 hours as needed daily
If these remedies are not helping, you may need a prescription medication from your doctor.
When do I call the doctor?
- if you are unable to keep down food or drink for more than 12-24 hours
- if you notice blood in your vomit
- if you lose more than 5 pounds.