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Nausea - what can I do about it?

Nausea or vomiting affects almost everyone who is expecting a child. As many as 80% of pregnant women state that they have felt bad or vomited at some point during their pregnancy. In most cases, it is due to hormone increases and fluctuations, but nausea can also be triggered by other symptoms. For example, if you sleep poorly or do not get enough fluids, it can get worse.

Morning sickness is unpleasant, and can significantly affect your day-to-day life. But it usually clears up by weeks 16 to 20 of your pregnancy and does not put your baby at any increased risk. Unfortunately, there is no cure for nausea that guarantees that you will get rid of it. But there are things that might help.

The common recommendations for treating nausea are:

  • Eat less, but more often
  • Be sure to get enough fluids as dehydration can aggravate the nausea
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Cold or boiled food may be better than fried
  • Fresh air
  • Resting

Vitamin b6 can help

Sometimes, however, none of the recommendations above are helping, and then everything might feel hopeless. On such occasions, there is other advice to take, but as with much else, there is no guarantee that it will work. Both ginger and vitamin b6 have been shown in studies to have some effect against nausea and some even get rid of nausea completely. However, ginger intake is something that is discussed during pregnancy, as high doses of ginger are believed to cause miscarriage. Therefore, many countries have recommended limiting their intake of ginger during pregnancy.

However, a regular intake of vitamin b6 has shown some effect against nausea, it is recommended to take 100mg twice a day. At the pharmacy, vitamin b6 is available without a prescription and it is completely safe to try. If nothing helps, you can either turn to other forms of medication or take a sick leave, but then you need to contact your midwife or doctor at your clinic.

Risk factors for morning sickness:

  • you're having twins or more
  • you had severe sickness and vomiting in a previous pregnancy
  • you tend to get motion sickness (for example, car sick)
  • you have a history of migraine headaches
  • morning sickness runs in the family
  • you used to feel sick when taking contraceptives containing estrogen
  • it's your first pregnancy
  • You have a raised BMI (30 or more)
  • you're experiencing stress

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a condition at the extreme end of pregnancy sickness. It affects 1% of women with pregnancy sickness and is very difficult for sufferers. It is important that you seek medical advice if you are unable to keep any food or fluids down as you can become dehydrated very quickly when suffering with HG.

You may need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. Support and advice can be sought by accessing pregnancy sickness support website and by speaking to your midwife or obstetrician.

Sources: - Jewell D, Young G. Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD000145. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000145. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(4):CD000145. PMID: 11869567. - Lutterodt MC, Kähler P, Kragstrup J, Nicolaisdottir DR, Siersma V, Ertmann RK. Examining to what extent pregnancy-related physical symptoms worry women in the first trimester of pregnancy: a cross-sectional study in general practice. BJGP Open. 2019 Nov 12;3(4):bjgpopen19X101674. doi: 10.3399/bjgpopen19X101674. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 31719117; PMCID: PMC6995862.