Pregnancy Care at Northfield's Women's Health Center
70–85% of women experience some nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Symptoms usually peak by 7–12 weeks gestation, and usually subside by the end of the first trimester (12-15 weeks).
Early management of NVP can reduce escalation of symptoms.
NVP can often be managed by lifestyle and dietary alterations:
- Eat frequent small amounts: when your stomach is completely empty, you are more likely to experience nausea. Keep plain saltine crackers at your bedside, and eat a few before you get out of bed. Wait 15 minutes before getting up. Eating a bedtime snack with some protein component (milk, cheese, peanut butter) may lessen early morning nausea as well.
- Focus on carbohydrates and low fat foods. Rich, fatty foods may increase nausea. However, carbs are also digested quickly, so you should try to add small amounts of longer-lasting protein at several small meals throughout the day, especially in the evening.
- Eat whatever sounds good to you and whatever you can tolerate! Don’t worry about missing out on nutrients right now: NVP is self-limited in most cases, and the focus during this time should be on intake more than on what specific things you are eating.
- Throughout the day, sip small amounts of cold, clear or carbonated beverages. Avoid caffeine as this may cause stomach upset.
- Change positions slowly to avoid dizziness and nausea.
- Fresh air as needed may help with symptoms.
- Avoid offensive food and smells: these are often triggers for nausea.
- Sipping ginger ale or ginger tea, or taking ginger supplements may help some women.
- Avoid iron preparations, including prenatal vitamins. Try substituting children’s chewable vitamins, or simply take a few weeks off from prenatal vitamins and take a folic acid supplement instead (at least 400 mcg per day, unless otherwise recommended by your physician).
- Some women find Sea/Relief bands (which work by triggering inner wrist-accupressure points) helpful.
- If supportive measures fail, try Vitamin B6 12.5 mg (one half tablet) with Unisom 12.5 mg (one half tablet) in the morning with breakfast and with lunch, then Vitamin B6 25 mg (one tablet) and Unisom 25 mg (one tablet) at bedtime. These medications are safe and well-studied in pregnancy, and studies have found them effective in treating the symptoms of NVP.