Pregnancy related nausea and vomiting can be anything from bearable to terrible. Each pregnancy is different and “morning sickness” is unpredictable from one pregnancy to the next. As I sit here today, amidst the throes of nausea myself, I’d like to offer a few tips on surviving this common first trimester pregnancy complaint.
- Eat what sounds good- Every day is different and it makes meal planning a challenge, but I try to eat what I can. Some days healthy eating is easy and some days all you want are mashed potatoes. When your appetite is poor and it feels like you’ll never eat again, enjoy your carbs (or whatever sounds good at the time).
- Staying hydrated is most important- Even if you’re having trouble eating, make sure you’re drinking. Water with or without flavoring and electrolyte drinks like Gatorade or Powerade can help you to stay hydrated. Try to avoid sodas high in sugar, but many people find that an occasional ginger ale can help to settle their stomach
- SNACKS- “Eat like a 2 year old!” as my colleague Barb Crone would say. Keep small snacks and finger foods close by at all times, including your bedside table. If your nausea is worse in the morning and when your stomach is empty, having a small snack immediately upon waking may help. I also find that plating smaller portions helps me to avoid feeling overwhelmed by food and I can feel less guilty about abandoning a meal. Other people find that chewing gum or sucking on mint or sour candies can decrease nausea.
- Sometimes medication is necessary- There are many OTC and prescribed medications that can be helpful in managing nausea and vomiting, and some are made particularly for morning sickness. Most of the time we recommend starting with Vitamin B6 and doxylamine (the active ingredient in Unisom sleep aid). If this isn’t effective, there are other medications that can be prescribed depending on the severity of your symptoms and it’s worth discussing this with your provider.
Sometimes nausea and vomiting can be so severe that you need IV fluids or more. You should speak with your provider about warning signs and when your symptoms may require medical attention.