How to care for morning sickness
During the first trimester of pregnancy, excessive nausea and vomiting is caused by hormonal changes and by low blood sugar. The following information can help you control nausea and vomiting at home.
- Try to eat six (6) small meals or snacks throughout the day. Smaller meals may be easier to tolerate than larger meals.
- Keep easy-to-digest foods such as crackers and pretzels with you during the day and at your bedside. Try having a little food or juice before getting out of bed in the morning.
- Choose lower-fat foods, which are easier to digest than higher-fat foods. High-fat foods may make nausea worse.
- Try sour-tasting foods like dill pickles or lemon drops, or citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruit and oranges.
- Sit up after eating a meal.
- Avoid being around odors that make you feel nauseated.
- When you can eat without vomiting, begin to increase your food choices.
- Try to drink twelve (12) 8-ounce glasses of fluids each day.
- Drink fluids between meals. Recommended beverages include:
- Non-fat milk (white or chocolate)
- Fruit juice or lemonade
- Caffeine-free soft drinks (7up®, Sierra Mist®, or ginger ale)
- Eat ginger or take ginger tabs, 250 mg, four (4) times per day
- Eat hard candies, especially lemon, mint or orange
To help you avoid thinking about the nausea, try to keep your mind and body active.
When to see a health care provider
If vomiting continues for more than 24 hours without slowing down, if you lose more than 10 pounds, or if you think you are dehydrated, go to the hospital, urgent care or clinic. Intravenous fluids may be necessary to treat dehydration. Signs of dehydration include a flushed face, extreme thirst, small amounts of urine, dark yellow urine, dry mouth, cramping in arms or legs, sunken eyes, dizziness, low blood pressure, fainting or rapid breathing.
Talk with your provider about trying alternative therapies in addition to your regular treatment. Options include acupressure, aroma therapy and homeopathy.
Your provider may prescribe a medication to help control your nausea and vomiting. Before taking any medicine—prescription, over-the-counter, natural or herbal—talk with your provider.
A menu to combat morning sickness
Add more variety when you can eat without vomiting.
- 1 cup cooked oatmeal
- ¼ cup sliced unsalted almonds
- ½ cup sliced strawberries
- 1 teaspoon margarine or butter
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1½ cups seltzer water or ginger tea
- 6 saltine crackers
- 1½ ounces string cheese
Drink 12 ounces of water by mid-morning.
- ¾ cup of low-fat cottage cheese
- 1 cup of cubed cantaloupe
- 6 carrot sticks
- 1½ cups of ginger tea or lemonade
- 1 ounce pretzels
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
Drink another 12 ounces of water by mid-day.
- 3 ounces cooked skinless chicken
- 1 medium baked potato
- ½ cup cooked carrots
- ½ cup chocolate pudding
- ½ cup 100% fruit juice
- 1 slice whole wheat bread
- 2 tablespoon low-fat cream cheese
- ½ cup sliced cucumber
- ½ cup sliced tomatoes
- 1½ cups plain or seltzer water
Drink an additional 24 ounces of water by the end of the day.
Foods to avoid or limit during pregnancy
Some foods are toxic and can cause disease, premature labor, miscarriage and fetal death.
- Alcohol of any kind
* No amount of alcohol is considered safe during pregnancy.
- Excessive caffeine (> 200 mg)
One 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine.
- Some herbal teas (consult with your provider)
- Unpasteurized cider or juice
- Raw sprouts
- Raw or soft cooked eggs
- Raw, unpasteurized milk or cheese
- Soft cheeses including Brie, Gorgonzola and blue cheese
Meat and poultry
- Raw or undercooked meat or poultry
- Uncooked processed meats including deli meats and hot dogs
- Meat spreads and pâté
- Raw or smoked fish or seafood
- Fish with high mercury levels including shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tile fish
You may eat up to 12 ounces of lower mercury fish (shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, catfish) per week or up to 6 ounces of albacore (white) tuna or locally caught fish per week.
Herbs, botanicals and supplements
- Consult with your provider
If you would like to meet with one of our Registered Dietitians, please contact your primary care provider for a referral.