Morning sickness refers to the nausea and vomiting that many women get during the beginning of their pregnancies. If you’ve ever had morning sickness, you know that the name is a misnomer—morning sickness can last all day. In most cases, morning sickness resolves by 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy.
While many women worry about their health during this time, you can do a few things to minimize morning sickness and ensure that you maintain good nutrition. Even if your nutrition is less then perfect during this time, it probably won’t negatively affect your baby. However, you should keep in touch with your doctor and perhaps a nutritionist to make sure you are eating appropriately during your pregnancy.
Check out the following tips that many women (and their doctors) have found to be effective:
- Eat small, frequent meals. Eating large meals can easily aggravate a sensitive stomach and worsen nausea. Try to avoid feeling hungry by keeping healthy snacks with you at all times—a handful of mixed nuts, an all-natural granola bar, or dry cereal and crackers.
- Keep crackers by your bed and eat a few 10 to 15 minutes before you get out of bed in the morning. This way you don’t get up with an empty stomach. You can also try eating a high protein snack right before you go to bed, because protein helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
- Try salty snacks like baked chips or pretzels. Sometimes salt can ease nausea enough that you can keep a small meal down.
- Limit fluids. Sip small amounts of water frequently and try to avoid drinking with your meals.
- Rest! Especially if you are feeling tired or run-down.
- Try lemon or ginger flavored candies. Watermelon can also be effective in relieving nausea in early pregnancy.
- Take your prenatal vitamin—it can fill in the nutritional gap when you aren’t feeling well.
- Talk to your doctor about taking vitamin B-6 or doxylamine (the active ingredient in Unisom); they are often used to help with nausea before something stronger is prescribed.
A condition called hyperemesis gravidarum can result, where the nausea and vomiting are severe to the point where the woman is not able to keep anything down, and weakness, weight loss and electrolyte disturbances. This is a serious condition that requires prompt medical treatment, so if you are unable to keep food or water down, call your doctor immediately. In addition to prescription anti-nausea medications, sometimes hospitalization to receive intravenous fluids or nutrition is required.