Doctor-Approved Advice for Managing Morning Sickness

Doctor-Approved Advice for Managing Morning Sickness

Morning sickness includes nausea and vomiting, and can be a particularly difficult aspect of early pregnancy. The intensity of morning sickness varies from person to person, but will typically ease up in the second trimester (though some people experience it in their second and third trimester as well). While morning sickness can be everything from a bit of a pain to a more serious issue, there are treatments, like at-home remedies and doctor-prescribed medication, that may help you through the worst of it.


According to the Mayo Clinic, morning sickness can actually strike whenever—day or night. While the causes are technically unknown, hormone changes are thought to be a factor. Doctors also believe morning sickness is worsened by stress and anxiety, being overtired, eating or smelling certain foods, motion sickness, and warm weather.

Morning sickness may be more likely to occur if a person was susceptible to motion sickness or migraines before pregnancy, especially if they are pregnant with twins or had morning sickness during a previous pregnancy.

In rare cases, morning sickness can become an illness called hyperemesis gravidarum. The National Institute of Health defines this as “intractable vomiting during pregnancy, leading to weight loss and volume depletion.” The cause of this elevated condition is unknown, but theories implicate hormone changes, changes in the gastrointestinal system during pregnancy leading to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and subsequent nausea, and genetics. It may be more likely if you are pregnant with a girl or have had hyperemesis gravidarum in a past pregnancy.

Symptoms and Side Effects

Common signs of morning sickness are, of course, nausea and vomiting, but it may present itself as heartburn, a feeling of motion sickness, the feeling that something is stuck in one’s throat, or hunger pangs.

While mild nausea and vomiting don’t usually lead to long term damage, severe nausea and vomiting can cause dehydration, an electrolyte imbalance, or less urine output. There is some research indicating hyperemesis gravidarum could cause poor weight gain for the baby during pregnancy, but studies are inconclusive across the board. 

At-Home Treatment

According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 70% of pregnant people have morning sickness. Dietary and lifestyle changes may help decrease the experience of nausea and vomiting.

Their recommended diet changes include:

  • Keeping crackers by your bedside to eat and settle your stomach in the morning
  • Eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of three larger meals
  • Avoiding overly fatty or spicy foods.
  • Depending more on bland foods such as bananas, plain potatoes, dry toast, rice, eggs, applesauce and broth
  • Eating protein-rich snacks, like yogurt, nuts, peanut butter, and cheese
  • Drinking lots of water and avoiding caffeine
  • Enjoying tea with real ginger 

Lifestyle changes include: 

  • Taking a prenatal vitamin with a snack
  • Avoiding triggering odors or lights
  • Resting sufficiently
  • Getting exposure to fresh air
  • Smelling fresh, soothing scents like lemon or mint 

Alternative methods, such as acupressure or acupuncture, should always be discussed with a healthcare professional before being used.


Doctors may recommend different medicine to help treat morning sickness, such as doxylamine, an over-the-counter sleep aid used to treat allergies. Studies have also shown vitamin B6 to be an effective therapy for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Prescription medications like Diclegis (a slow-release single pill of pyridoxine and doxylamine combined) or an antiemetic (which prevents nausea) may also help. Antihistamines and anticholinergics are other options to discuss with your healthcare provider.

When to call your doctor

 It’s important to keep your doctor in the loop regarding your morning sickness. Do not wait until the vomiting becomes severe to contact your obstetrician.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you:

  • Are producing no urine, or very little urine that has a dark color
  • Can’t keep liquids or food down
  • Feel lightheaded when standing up
  • Have a racing heart
  • Have pain or fever
  • Are losing weight
  • Have vomit with blood in it

Morning sickness, while typically not serious in the long term, can have a definite impact on your quality of life during pregnancy. Mild or moderate nausea and vomiting does not usually harm the fetus, but it may affect the baby’s weight if you are unable to keep food or liquid down, and lose nutrients or weight yourself. Morning sickness is uncomfortable and unpleasant, but there are ways to get relief, and the symptoms will likely subside in the second trimester. Be sure to keep your obstetrician aware of any changes or concerning symptoms you have.

Back to blog