Nausea and Sickness in Pregnancy

by Annabel Leather

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


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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Written by

Annabel Leather

Registered Dietitian
Hi, my name is Annabel and I am a Registered Dietitian. I have been working in the NHS for the last 5 years in different specialities ranging from oncology to gastroenterology to renal medicine. I also have covered inpatient maternity units & worked with gestational diabetes. I started my Instagram page (dietitian_annabel) to help put right all the confusing and incorrect nutrition information that is abundant online; I include only evidence-based trustworthy nutrition information and advice that is easy to understand. Bringing a new baby into the world is hard enough without having to find fact from fiction with what you should or should not be eating! Nutrition aside, I love experimenting with different baking ideas, drinking copious amounts of tea & have a new love of plants & gardening.

Articles on are a mixture of informative pieces, anecdotal accounts and professional advice from our panel of Bloggers, Writers and Experts. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of Your Baby Club UK

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