What is morning sickness?

Foods that are good for morning sickness include foods high in folic acid, ginger, crackers or toast by your bed, eggs, and frequent small meals.
Foods that are good for morning sickness include foods high in folic acid, ginger, crackers or toast by your bed, eggs, and frequent small meals.

Morning sickness typically begins around the sixth week of pregnancy. It can happen at just about any time of the day, not just in the mornings. It often lasts through the 12th week of pregnancy.

The condition is neither harmful nor dangerous, but it certainly is uncomfortable and annoying. That’s more than enough reason to do something about it.

Causes of morning sickness

Morning sickness is the nausea and vomiting caused by your pregnancy. The exact cause of morning sickness is something of a mystery.

It may be caused in part by a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Morning sickness is worse in women who are having twins or triplets. Growing more babies means that you will have an increase in your hCG levels.

Many doctors actually consider morning sickness to be a good sign. It shows that the placenta is developing well. It may also be nature’s way of encouraging you to slow down and take it easy during the first trimester of your pregnancy.

Preventing morning sickness

Lifestyle changes in addition to diet are a good way of alleviating morning sickness. If you are pregnant, you should:

With these lifestyle choices in mind, it’s worth thinking about how altering your diet can help relieve the symptoms of your morning sickness.

Foods as remedies for morning sickness

Regular morning sickness can be effectively managed with a few dietary changes. This means changing the times you eat in addition to what you eat.

Here are some foods known to reduce nausea during pregnancy:

Foods high in folic acid

Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is the most important nutrient to eat during your first trimester.

Doctors usually recommend that B9 is taken as a prenatal vitamin. Folic acid can also be included in your diet through food. You can find high levels of folic acid in dark, leafy vegetables like spinach, or in beans, eggs, and liver.

Ginger

Ginger naturally reduces nausea symptoms and should be a mainstay as long as you experience morning sickness. It’s perhaps best consumed in the form of tea, brewed in boiling hot water with a little honey.

Bedside crackers and toast

There is actually some truth to the morning in morning sickness. Nausea is much more likely when you wake up with an empty stomach. Rather than jump straight out of bed, keep some crackers or bread nearby and eat a little when you first wake up. This will help prevent your nausea before it starts.

Eggs

Eggs are important sources of protein, which you’ll need a lot of to aid your baby’s development. Eggs also contain choline, which is thought to help babies develop their brains.

Frequent small meals

Avoiding an empty stomach should be your goal. Early in your pregnancy, the hormone progesterone slows down your digestion significantly. This means that you’ll often feel either full or very hungry and not much in between. Eating five to six mini-sized meals over the course of your day is a good way to prevent pregnancy-related nausea.

There are also many other foods that are great for morning sickness, such as:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Raspberries
  • Radishes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Mango

SLIDESHOW

13 Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy See Slideshow

When to see a doctor for morning sickness

Morning sickness is totally normal, but if you have the following symptoms you should see your doctor as soon as possible:

These could be symptoms of a more serious kind of morning sickness.

Severe morning sickness hyperemesis gravidarum

There is a condition related to morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. Its outward symptoms are similar to morning sickness, but it involves vomiting multiple times per day and a resulting weight loss.

Hyperemesis gravidarum usually begins during the fourth or fifth week of your pregnancy. It is a rare condition that can last well beyond the 12th week. It mostly affects women who are carrying more than one baby or have a history of motion sickness and migraines.

Check with your healthcare provider if any of these apply to you.

Prognosis and outlook for morning sickness

Your morning sickness should have stopped by the 12th or 13th week of your pregnancy. Keep in mind that all women are different. Your normal experience of nausea during pregnancy may be very different from those of other pregnant women.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/12/2021
References
American College of Healthcare Sciences: "Top 12 Foods to Beat Morning Sickness (Part 2)."

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy."

American Pregnancy Association: "Morning Sickness Remedies."

Familydoctor.org: "Morning Sickness."

Harvard School of Public Health: "Folate (Folic Acid) - Vitamin B9."

KidsHealth from Nemours: "Severe Morning Sickness (Hyperemesis Gravidarum)."

Mayo Clinic: "Morning sickness."

Quarterly Review of Biology: "Morning sickness: a mechanism for protecting mother and embryo."

Stanford Children's Health: "Morning Sickness."

Wexner Medical Center: "The nutrition cheat sheet for morning sickness."