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    Nausea & Vomiting

    Nausea & Vomiting during pregnancy: Causes, prevention, treatment, and red flags

    Written on 14 March 2022

    Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy

    Morning sickness in pregnancy is an extremely common condition experienced by about 70 percent of pregnant women. Pregnancy nausea or vomiting in pregnancy develops around when the woman is about 6 weeks pregnant and this lasts for several weeks or months. The symptoms of vomiting during pregnancy usually get better in the second trimester (13 to 27 weeks). However, in some women, nausea during pregnancy continues throughout the pregnancy.

    Despite being named morning sickness, it can happen at any time in the day.

    Morning sickness is a common condition. But some women have no vomiting during the time they are pregnant.

    Is morning sickness severe?

    Severe nausea during pregnancy can happen in some women. Women experience morning sickness for a short period daily and they might even vomit once or twice in the day. In some cases of severe morning sickness, nausea can go on for several hours every day. The bouts of vomiting also happen frequently. The excessive vomiting during pregnancy experienced by women in pregnancy is called hyperemesis gravidarum.

    What leads to the development of morning sickness?

    The cause for the development of nausea in early pregnancy is not known completely. It might happen due to low blood sugar or the rise in the pregnancy hormones like estrogen or human chronic gonadotropin (HCG). This situation is further worsened by being overtired, stressed, consuming certain foods, or having motion sickness.

    Some of the common symptoms experienced by women suffering from severe morning sickness are:

    • Vomiting thrice or more times in a day.

    • Losing more than 5 pounds of weight

    • Becoming dehydrated. Some signs of dehydration are little or no urine production, dizziness when standing, and dark-colored urine.

    Women who develop severe dehydration often are admitted to hospitals for receiving IV fluids. It helps restore hydration levels in the body and with proper medicines, they get relief from nausea.

    What causes nausea at night during pregnancy?

    Pregnancy nausea at night disturbs the sleep of the pregnant woman and even might prevent them from falling asleep again. There are no known reasons for developing evening sickness in pregnancy. However, some factors that might contribute to this situation are:

    • Sensitive gastrointestinal tract

    • Rise in hormone levels during pregnancy

    • Enhanced smell sense and high sensitivity to odors

    How long does nausea at night last in pregnant women?

    Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy at night get relief by 14 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, some women might feel nauseous throughout their pregnancy. Talking with the doctor is the best idea as the physician can prescribe medicines to combat such problems during pregnancy.

    If the woman experiences vomiting in third trimester, consulting with the doctor is important to rule out severe morning sickness that can lead to nutritional deficiencies and dehydration.

    Can nausea happen during the third trimester?

    Nausea third trimester implies that pregnant women are suffering from gastrointestinal issues. Pressure is developing in the GI region and that is slowing down the process of digestion.

    The pregnant woman can experience bloating, gas, indigestion, and heartburn.

    In 3rd trimester Nausea can even lead to continuous vomiting and loss of appetite. If this is the case, then it is likely that the pregnant woman is suffering from severe morning sickness.

    Foods that trigger nausea during pregnancy

    Some foods are linked to triggering nausea during pregnancy in women. They are:

    • Spicy foods

    • Hot foods

    • Very sweet foods

    • Fatty/fried foods

    • Strong smelling foods that might bother the pregnant woman.

    What foods to consume to combat nausea?

    There are several foods that fight nausea during pregnancy. Some of them are as follows:

    • Ginger tea

    • Vegetables with high water content like cucumbers or celery

    • Lemon tea

    • Yogurt

    • Well cooked eggs

    • Properly cooked vegetables

    • Baked fish or meat

    • Vegetable soups

    • Nuts and seeds like cashews, sunflower seeds, lentils, and hazelnuts.

    Home remedies to combat nausea in pregnancy

    Like all other health problems, individuals often look for home remedies for nausea during pregnancy. Some of the home remedies that can relieve nausea in pregnant women are:

    • Using lemon essential oils or smelling lemons. This might settle the stomach.

    • The woman can use a breathable mask when she is in a place where there are strong smells. The masks help in blocking out the strong smell of the foods.

    • Not eating food as you experience pregnancy sickness is not a good idea. Instead, gorging on small meals frequently is good for your health and the health of the kid. To combat morning sickness, consume plain crackers, cereal, or dry bread during the morning.

    • Ginger is good for an upset stomach. Ginger tea, ginger preserves, ginger chews are some great options for pregnant women.

    • Exercising often helps many women combat nausea during pregnancy. A pregnant woman can go for a walk during the day, join a prenatal yoga class or go for a swim.

    • Oranges have a good amount of citric acid and it helps reduce nausea when it is inhaled. One can inhale the smell of oranges or drink orange juice to get over the nauseous feeling.

    • Yogurt contains probiotics- good bacteria that aid in digestion. Eating a bowl of yogurt twice daily can help prevent nausea.

    • Consuming cloves is also a great home remedy for combating vomiting during pregnancy 2nd trimester. Chew on a clove bud when you feel nauseous. It can provide relief from indigestion, diarrhoea, and nausea. Add 2 to 3 cloves to boiling water and make clove tea or drink. It will help reduce vomiting tendencies.

    • Aromatherapy is a good way to beat nausea and vomiting. Sprinkle lavender essential oil and peppermint essential oil on a handkerchief. Then inhale the vapors to get a soothing effect.

    How to combat dehydration during pregnancy due to nausea?

    There are many ways to combat dehydration caused by morning sickness due to pregnancy.

    • Consume at least 8 cups of water or 2 liters of fluid daily. Sip on small amounts of fluid in the day.

    • If plain water is not suitable for the stomach of the pregnant woman, they can consume diluted juice, clear soda without fizz, ice chips, broth, weak tea, oral rehydration solutions, and popsicles for combating dehydration.

    Tips on eating food to combat nausea

    • Do not consume fluids with the food you eat. The fluid adds too much pressure to the stomach and that might increase the tendency to vomit.

    • One must eat whenever the pregnant woman is hungry. Pregnant women must eat foods that appeal to them.

    • Consuming small meals every two to three hours will help prevent nausea. An empty stomach can worsen nausea.

    • Eat the food slowly. Eating the food too fast will lead the pregnant woman to eat more than their stomach can handle.

    • After consuming the food, one must avoid lying down. Keeping the body at a semi-upright position for thirty minutes after eating helps food to stay down.

    How to treat nausea during pregnancy?

    Vomiting in pregnancy treatment helps relieve the woman from morning sickness. If the morning sickness goes on for quite some time, the doctor will prescribe vitamin B-6 supplements, ginger for combating nausea during pregnancy. If the symptoms persist, then the physician will prescribe anti-nausea medications.

    Women who experience moderate to severe nausea during the pregnancy may become dehydrated and imbalances of sodium and potassium might happen in their bodies.

    Consuming more fluids and doctor-prescribed medicines will help combat the situation.

    When you visit the doctor for morning sickness, the physician will question the number of times the woman has vomited or whether she can retain the fluids, or what home remedies she has tried. Depending on the severity of the situation, the doctor will recommend a prescription medicine.

    For those individuals who suffer from severe morning sickness, they might need to get treatment with IV fluids and anti-nausea medicines at a hospital.

    Are some women more prone to developing morning sickness?

    Yes, the risk for developing morning sickness is high in some women. It usually happens if:

    • The woman has a history of motion sickness

    • The pregnant woman is expecting more than one baby-twins or triplet.

    • Experiences migraines

    • Overweight

    • Suffers from Trophoblastic disease which causes the development of abnormal cells in the womb.

    • Has a history of morning sickness in her earlier pregnancy.

    Is morning sickness harmful to the child?

    Mild nausea or moderate amount of nausea does not harm the baby or the pregnant mother. But it can be a huge problem if the mother cannot keep the food or liquid down or becomes dehydrated and keeps on losing weight. If the nausea is not prevented and vomiting persists, the pregnant mother will not get the required nutrition and that will have an effect on the child’s weight at birth.

    Final thoughts

    Morning sickness during pregnancy is experienced by a majority of pregnant women. Though named morning sickness, it can happen at any time. By simply monitoring the symptoms of the pregnant woman, preventive steps can be taken to ease her nausea conditions and give her relief during pregnancy. Nausea in pregnancy treatment is available and that helps reduce such problems to a great extent.


    • American Academy of Family Physicians: "Morning Sickness."
    • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Morning Sickness."

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