Morning sickness is common and is the feeling of nausea that pregnant women experience during their first trimester of pregnancy. Most of the time it will begin in the morning, but wear off throughout the day as you become more active. Most of the medications normally used for controlling nausea aren’t safe for pregnant women to take, at least during their first 12 weeks. Because of this, you should never self-medicate and instead talk to your doctor if your morning sickness has gotten bad enough where you think you need medications for morning sickness.
Medications for Morning Sickness
When looking for medication for morning sickness, your first choice should be a nondrug remedy as it is best to minimize your baby’s exposure to drugs. If, however, those methods don’t provide relief, you can talk to your doctor about trying one of the following medications. Keep in mind that although these medications are considered safe during pregnancy, they will not work equally for everyone.
One over the counter option is Emetrol which is safe during pregnancy, but hasn’t been officially approved to be used for morning sickness. In some cases reflux medications (like Pepcid and Zantac) can help pregnant women in cases where their vomiting and nausea are brought on by gastrointestinal distress. Vitamin B6 can also sometimes help expectant mothers who are experience moderate to mild nausea.
Antihistamines are another common option for vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. Some doctors will recommend taking doxylamine which you can find in the form of a sleeping pill—Unisom Nighttime Sleep-Aid. Never drive when taking this medication, however, as it can make you sleep.
In some cases morning sickness can be treated by combining doxylamine with vitamin B6. There is even an FDA approved medication for vomiting and nausea while pregnant named Diclegis. Some doctors will recommend the over-the-counter combination while others will choose to write a prescription.
Additional prescription options your doctor may recommend include Phenergan (an antihistamine), Tigan, Compazine, Maxalon, and Zofran. Your doctor will never have you take Phenergan and Compazine together as they interact poorly.
When Do You Need to Be Hospitalized?
Some women will suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum which involves the inability to keep anything down due to vomiting and nausea. In this case, you may be hospitalized and given fluids and medications via an IV. Some possible IV drugs in this case include glucocorticoids, chlorpromazine, serotonin antagonists, dopamine antagonists, and antihistamines.
Home Remedies for Morning Sickness
Apart from the medications for morning sickness, there are some home remedies to choose from. Although not all of the remedies for morning sickness work for everyone, the ones mentioned here have helped multiple women overcome their nausea and have a normal day.
1. In the Morning. When you wake up, give yourself enough time to get out of your bed slowly. Try to set your alarm for about an hour earlier and keep dry cereal or crackers near your bed. This will allow you to eat something right away. Be sure to use this extra time in the morning to get ready slowly, including the process of physically getting up.
2. Try Ginger or Lemon. Ginger has been a successful morning sickness remedy for years. Its root contains shogaols and gingerols, chemicals which relax your intestinal tract and thereby reduce vomiting and nausea. You can either have real ginger ale (without caffeine), ginger tea, or ginger candy but try not to do so more than three different times a day.
For many women, eating lemon candy, having lemon tea or lemonade, sucking a lemon, or using a lemon-scented candle can help reduce morning sickness.
3. Eat Small, Frequent Meals. To reduce morning sickness, try eating five or six times each day instead of three larger meals. This can help prevent nausea as some hunger pains are due to stomach acids not having anything to digest if there is no food present.
Suggested Meals For Morning Sickness Relief:
- Plain fruits or vegetables
- Bland foods (like a plain baked potato, broth, or chicken soup)
- Cold foods (like properly prepared salad, raw vegetables, or sandwiches)
4. Try a Liquid Diet. In some cases it helps women with morning sickness to have a liquid diet. When the nausea is worst, try to consume more liquids instead of solids as they are easier on the stomach. Be sure to focus on nutrient rich liquids such as juices and bouillon and always ask your doctor before trying this method.
5. Brush your Teeth. If you do vomit, be sure to brush your teeth right afterwards. If you can’t brush right away, rinse and brush as soon as possible. This will take care of your teeth and prevent destruction of tooth enamel due to the constant contact with hash acids in vomit.
6. Snack Frequently. Before you get out of bed, take the time to have some dry toast or some soda crackers. Keep nibbling on snacks during the day as an empty stomach can worsen your nausea. Some good snacks include:
- Flavored popsicles
- Peppermint tea
- Ginger (in ginger snaps, ginger jam, ginger tea, ginger ale, etc.)
- Lemon (eating them, sucking on them, or even sniffing them)
And be careful when taking your prenatal vitamins. If you feel nauseous after taking them, try taking them with a snack or at night instead. It sometimes helps to suck on candy or chew gum right after taking them. If those options don’t reduce the nausea, ask your doctor for other methods of getting vitamins and iron during pregnancy.