Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy

July 14, 2021

Most pregnant people have nausea (having an upset stomach) during pregnancy. Sometimes the nausea is accompanied by vomiting. Although some people refer to it as morning sickness, it doesn’t always happen in the mornings. It can happen at any time, day or night, can last all day, and can be triggered by certain smells or flavors. Morning sickness generally happens in the first months of pregnancy and then goes away.

What you can do:

• Try to eat five or six small meals a day

• Drink as much water as you can tolerate. Sometimes it’s better to drink water about 30 minutes before or after meals. This helps you avoid feeling like your stomach is too full.

• Eat foods that you can tolerate and are nutritious, like nuts, fruits or crackers. Spicy or fatty foods might upset your stomach.

• If you get hungry, you can eat healthy sandwiches between meals to avoid having a completely empty stomach.

• Eat some crackers before getting up in the morning to settle your stomach. Keep them near the bed.

• Try to avoid smells that upset your stomach.

It’s not safe to use marijuana to treat nausea and vomiting or any other symptom of pregnancy. Before taking over-the-counter drugs or herbal supplements to treat nausea of pregnancy, speak with your health provider.

When you should consult your health provider

• If the suggestions listed above do not give you effective relief from morning sickness

• If you’re losing weight

• If you’re producing very little urine, your urine is dark or it has blood

• If you can’t keep foods or fluids down. Your health provider could prescribe you a medicine that is safe for you and your baby to help you feel better.

What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

When it is slight to moderate, nausea in pregnancy is not harmful for you or your baby. But if the nausea and vomiting gets worse, it can cause serious problems during pregnancy. Excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is called hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum can cause weight loss and dehydration (not having enough water in your body). This disorder can start early in pregnancy and last the entire pregnancy. If you have hyperemesis gravidarum, you need treatment to help keep you and your baby safe.

The signs and symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum include:

  • Vomiting more than 3 to 4 times a day 
  • Vomiting that makes you dizzy or weak
  • Vomiting that makes you dehydrated. The signs and symptoms of dehydration include feeling thirsty, having a dry mouth, a fast heartbeat or making little to no urine. 
  • Losing more than 10 pounds in pregnancy

If you have hyperemesis gravidarum, your health provider can treat you with a medicine to help relieve the nausea and vomiting. It’s possible that you may need treatment in a hospital so you can be given intravenous fluids. Intravenous fluids go through a needle inserted into a vein. They help you stay hydrated and can give you nutrients that you normally get from food.  If you continue to lose weight, you may need a feeding tube to get enough nutrients for you and your baby.

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