Nausea and Sickness in Pregnancy


Feeling sick and vomiting is an unfortunate but very common side effect of pregnancy. Nausea often affects around 80% of women with half of pregnant women experiencing vomiting. In most but not all of cases, sickness tends to improve by 16-20 weeks.

Do not worry if you are unable to manage three full meals per day, having small frequent snacks can be just as nourishing as this. You could try things such as a glass of milk, homemade shakes with fruit and milk in, a sandwich, slice of toast or crackers. If you have the odd day where you struggle to keep much food down, your body has very clever methods of maximising the absorption of nutrients from the foods you do eat and can rely on your maternal nutrient stores to keep your baby healthy

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Tips which may help:

  • Many people find small carbohydrate-rich snacks given frequently (e.g. every 2-3 hours) even if you don’t feel hungry can help to keep nausea at bay, the reason behind this method of sickness relief is still unclear.
  • Try to eat something when you wake up if you can manage,  choosing dry foods such as toast, dry bread, biscuits and cereal can help.
  • Assess whether caffeine makes your symptoms worse as even small amounts can make you feel sick.
  • Often the smell of cooking food can be nauseating so try to stick with cold foods which may be better tolerated.
  • Greasy foods can make you feel more sick so try and stick to low fat meals
  • Some people find ginger rich foods such as ginger biscuits and drinks can help.
  • If you vomit make sure you replace any lost fluids by drinking more. If you are struggling with solids you could drink more nourishing liquids such as juice or milk. Drinking in between food and meals rather than with meals can help avoid your tummy to feel distended which can trigger vomiting.

Also remember to get a lot of rest, look after & be kind to yourself to keep your stress levels to a minimum.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a condition at the extreme end of the pregnancy sickness spectrum. It can affect 1% women with pregnancy sickness and can be very debilitating. If you are unable to keep any food or fluid down, you can quickly become dehydrated and must seek medical advice.

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