Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is often referred to as “morning sickness,” but it can occur at any time of day. Up to 90 percent of pregnancies are affected to some extent. Most cases are mild and resolve by 18 weeks of gestation.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is the term used to describe severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy which leads to dehydration and weight loss.
The goal of treatment is to allow you to perform your daily activities and feel well enough to eat and drink so as to avoid dehydration and weight loss. Understand that we may not be able to completely to eliminate your symptoms.
1. Avoidance of Triggers – Avoid odors, tastes, and activities that trigger nausea.
2. Dietary Changes
- Keep crackers, melba toast, or dry cereal at your bedside to eat before getting out of bed.
- Eat frequent, small meals or snacks. Eat as soon as you feel to avoid an empty stomach, which can trigger nausea.
- Avoid spicy foods or foods that are high in fat. Instead, eat foods that are high in protein and carbohydrates.3. Complementary Treatments
- Ginger – comes in many different forms, including tablets, tea, and candy. It aids in digestion and has been effective for some women for symptomatic relief. Peppermint is another effective herbal remedy.
- Acupuncture and Accupressure have been shown to help some women. Wristbands marketed for motion sickness (Seabands) have been helpful for some and have no harmful side effects.
- Massage or Hypnosis
- Essential Oils – for nausea, use DigestZen, peppermint, fennel, or ginger essential oils.Apply the oil under your nose or take 1-2 drops under your tongue and chase with water. You can apply the oils undiluted or mix with a carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil).4. Treat Heartburn – sometimes heartburn can exacerbate your symptoms, and treating the heartburn can improve your nausea
- Tums can provide relief of occasional heartburn
- Dissolve 1⁄2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1⁄2 teaspoon of cream of tartar in 4oz of water and drink the solution for symptomatic relief
- Zantac (75-150mg daily) for frequent heartburn5. Medications – some vitamins and over-the-counter medications can help ease nausea. Use a stepwise approach with the following until you find a regimen that works for you:
- Vitamin B6 – 25 mg every 4-6 hours
- Unisom (Doxylamine) – 1/2 tablet every 6 hours. This medication may make you sleepy, so some people find they can only take this medication before bedtime
There are several prescription medications that we can prescribe if the above treatments are ineffectiveWHEN TO SEEK HELPNausea and vomiting can cause you to lose fluids. If fluids are not replaced, this can lead to dehydration. You should call your health care provider if you have the following signs and symptoms of dehydration:
- You have a small amount of urine and it is dark in color.
- You cannot keep down liquids.
- You are dizzy or faint when standing up.
- You have a racing or pounding heart.
- You are vomiting blood.
- You have pain in your upper abdomen or behind your breast bone that does not go away.