Pregnancy Nausea is not just Morning Sickness!
Updated: Aug 23
Pregnancy nausea often described as morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, or again...pregnancy nausea… NONE of these are FUN!
Did you know that between 70-80% of women experience some type of morning sickness or excessive nausea/vomiting during pregnancy?
Yes, you heard that right! Most women experience some type of nausea during the day, although it is frequently in the morning, it is not exclusively so. This is why we refer to it as pregnancy sickness! Some women even have severe nausea and vomiting called hyperemesis gravidarum (essentially excessive vomiting) throughout the day. It is characterized by intense levels of nausea and vomiting, significant weight loss, and electrolyte disturbances. Unfortunately, the cause of nausea during pregnancy is still unknown due to possible multiple causes.
One line of thought is that the rise in hormones that occurs during pregnancy causes nausea and vomiting. If a woman experiences morning sickness, it begins around the first 4-6 weeks of pregnancy and subsides between the 14th and 20th week--all depending on the individual. In this case, it is actually a sign of a healthy pregnancy that a woman experiences some nausea, even though it’s no fun!
Unfortunately, however, some women struggle with aversions and nausea throughout their whole pregnancy...
In the most severe cases, excessive vomiting can require hospitalization. However, in more mild cases, treatments through nutrition and diet adjustments can help ease symptoms.
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So how can you modify your diet to lessen nausea?
You want to look at the amounts and sizes of meals consumed as well as its contents. Many women find relief in consuming 5-6 small meals throughout the day-- (otherwise known as grazing to meet their nutrient needs). Women also often graze when it comes to their daily fluids (no chugging as it were) to avoid the possible negative reaction that is nausea and vomiting.
One of the most important things is finding your triggers! These can be tastes, textures, and even smells… track your nausea during the day to narrow down any potential culprits!
What should you be eating with these kinds of constant symptoms?
Meals should be higher in protein and carbohydrates (lower in fats and acids-- because this usually causes increased stomach upset).
Remember to replenish ELECTROLYTES! Very important while experiencing multiple vomiting episodes. You can accomplish this through foods, fruits/veggies in water (like those infusing water bottles), sports beverages, etc.
Ginger supplements have also been seen to decrease nausea by increasing gastric motility and decreasing nausea receptors in the brain (if you don't feel smarter reading that sentence you must be a genius). If there are any foods or cooking methods that you KNOW to lead to feelings of nausea-- try to avoid them the best you can! Trust your gut.
Outside of electrolytes-- it has also been found that THIAMIN and vitamin B6 supplementation is helpful while experiencing excessive vomiting. Pregnant women need 1.5mg PER DAY of thiamin and 1.6mg of B6 a day. You can find this in your prenatal vitamin, your diet, or through additional specific supplementation.
Other foods that some women find helpful to reduce nausea are lemon, dill, ice chips, etc. Every woman will react differently to foods and must find what works best for her.
An RD specializing in Maternal Health -
Can help you navigate through your nutritional needs during these bouts of nausea. Here at Mamas Maternal Health, your Nutritional needs during pregnancy are our PRIORITY. We do what we do --- so that YOU are ready to take on your new role as Mama with a healthy, nutritionally balanced foundation.
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