Dealing With Morning Sickness: Tips From Moms Who've Been There

Updated on April 26, 2019
Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

Kierstin is a two-time hyperemesis gravidarum survivor who knows a thing or two about ginger ale and crackers.

Manage Morning Sickness All Day Long With These Tips

  • Take a walk and breathe in some fresh air
  • Keep snacks high in carbs nearby to help quell queasiness
  • Indulge your cravings, no matter how silly or unhealthy they seem
  • Try accupressure
  • Skip caffeine
  • Take a gummy vitamin instead of a traditional prenatal
  • Ask your doctor for anti-nausea medications
  • Stay hydrated (lemonade is a good option!)

Six years ago, after experiencing tidal waves of nausea and dizziness and confirming my suspicions with a positive pregnancy I told my closest friends and family the good news, figuring the queasiness and light headedness would subside into a warm glow of maternal bliss and preparation.

Nope. As the days wore on into weeks I was puking basically left and right. In my case, my morning sickness had transformed into something more sinister, a condition of pregnancy called hyperemesis gravidarum.

Still, talking to other friends and family who were also in the throes of their first trimester, I realized that regardless of intensity, most pregnant women experience at least some level of morning sickness from weeks 6-14 of their pregnancies. In this window of time, many women are still waiting on their first prenatal appointment, trying to keep up with their pre-pregnancy lives, and adjusting to the idea of becoming a mom for the first time, or adding to the brood. It's a lot. And morning sickness can make it feel totally overwhelming.

So, before you check out these tips to ease morning sickness from real moms, I want to tell you that it does get better, you will feel better and between the bad days, there'll be good ones sprinkled in. Pregnancy is a temporary state, and morning sickness even more so. Hang in there, grab a Tummydrop, and read on for some commiseration and a few tips on how to ease morning sickness, from mom's who've been there.


Take a Walk

Toss the FitBit into your lowest nightstand drawer because if you're dealing with morning sickness, you're probably not going to be counting steps for a while. Still, if and when you can manage, get outside for a breath of fresh air and a quick walk to stretch your legs, soak in some sun, and get your mind off of this temporary misery, even if it's just hauling the kitchen trash across the driveway to the dumpster or fetching your mail.

You don't need to go for a big hike to get some fresh air and exercise. Grab your wallet and walk down the block for a bottle of sparkling water or just head down to your mailbox and back for a change of scenery.
You don't need to go for a big hike to get some fresh air and exercise. Grab your wallet and walk down the block for a bottle of sparkling water or just head down to your mailbox and back for a change of scenery. | Source

Eat Carbs to Feel Better

When all else fails: carbs. And I don't just mean saltines, which didn't work great for me. You can't live off carbs alone. But, you can survive the throes of morning sickness with the help of carbs which can help fill up your stomach enough to calm the queasies.

Some ideas for carby snacks that AREN'T saltines:

  • goldfish crackers
  • plain buttered noodles
  • buttered english muffin or english muffin style toast
  • graham crackers
  • plain popcorn (kernels popped in a stove top popcorn popper with just a little coconut or canola oil will help you to control the flavor and keep it as bland as possible)
  • Whole wheat or white pita bread
  • dry cereal like Cheerios or Chex
  • roasted chickpeas
  • pretzel sticks
  • soft pretzels (found in the frozen food section)
  • potato chips
  • banana chips
  • shoestring potato snacks
  • Sensible Portion's Veggie Straws
  • unflavored rice cakes
  • plain or buttered instant rice
  • granola bars (I love the regular NatureValley kind)
  • tortilla chips
  • cashews
  • pork rinds (yeah)

If you find yourself feeling well enough to live it up a little add a few tablespoons of nut butter, a slice of cheddar cheese, or even a dollop of plain hummus to round out these carbs with some protein for a more complete and filling snack.

Morning Sickness and Gender

Are you having a boy or a girl?

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I had morning sickness with all four during the first 3 months, but I had it the worst with my daughter.

— Danielle, Mom of 4

Give into Pregnancy Cravings

If you're craving chocolate cake, eat the cake. If you're way into your kids' fish-shaped crackers, steal the box and let him have the bag of carrot sticks sitting lonely in the crisper. Because what's worse than eating an unhealthy diet during pregnancy is just not eating at all.

So, the advice here is to eat whatever you can stomach. Morning sickness usually dictates what you're able to even think about, yet alone digest. Lots of women find that carbs are the easiest thing to keep down. For me, with both pregnancies, I've found luck with:

  • tangerines
  • saltine crackers
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • oatmeal
  • plain noodles
  • sports drinks
  • toast
  • sometimes freezer pops

Each pregnancy is so different though. In my first, I could eat pineapple even when nothing else would stay down. In my second pregnancy, I had absolutely no interest. In my first I couldn't stomach meat for the first four months. With my second I ate chicken frequently.

Choosing Which Cravings Are Worth It

An important thing to keep in mine is how much throwing up a particular food might suck. Case in point: apples. They really hurt! The little skins turn into these weird, awful, shrapnel-like razors coming back up. So if you're pretty sure you're not going to keep it down, and it would be a total bummer to throw up, opt for something less painful/suffocating. Oatmeal was also tricky - and thick.

Obviously, you're not going to be getting the full spectrum of nutrition while you battle your way through morning sickness. Don't worry about that right now. Focus on eating what you can, when you can, and don't get down about what you're missing. You'll make up for it later.

Try Acupressure to Reduce Nausea

I know it sounds nuts, but in my second pregnancy I bought these acupressure bands on the advice of other pregnant moms. Maybe it was all in my head, maybe there's some real science to it - either way, these bands did actually help alleviate a bit of my nausea which is saying a lot considering I had morning sickness to the extreme. I can't imagine how much more of a relief they'd be to someone with more typical pregnancy sickness.

I tried not to wear them all of the time, since it's recommended that you not, but would put them on after I bathed and keep them on until bedtime all through my first and second trimesters.

I survived on peaches, chips and salsa or potato salad with beans!

— Anna, Mom of 4

The Worst Symptoms

What's the worst symptom you're experiencing with morning sickness?

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Kiss Caffeine Goodbye for Relief From Pregnancy Induced Vertigo and Nausea

I'm so sorry. But your morning cup of coffee probably isn't helping things. I can't give you an absolute reason why, since it seems like no one really knows, but in many women, caffeine can aggravate an upset stomach, nausea, and anxiety which are already heightened during pregnancy.

What can you sip on instead? Try a warm cup of caffeine free tea like chamomile, mint, or ginger which are all safe for pregnancy and can be helpful in easing morning sickness nausea.

Morning Sickness and Multiples

How many babies are you carrying?

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Switch From a Regular Prenatal to a Gummy

With my first kid, just smelling the bottle of vitamins sent my stomach lurching. Which is weird, because I'm not an easily grossed out person, especially now that I have two kids. Poop, puke, and pee are a part of my everyday and just this morning I found marshmallow melted into my daughter's sheets. Yum!

Oftentimes, a woman's prenatal vitamins can make morning sickness even worse. That's because prenatal vitamins contain a whole lot of iron which can cause constipation and nausea. If this is the case for you then yes, you should absolutely try switching to a children's multi-vitamin and take the recommended adult dosage (I took Flintstone's Complete for the first half of my first pregnancy). You'll get a good balance of nutrients without the added iron. Iron is an important nutrient for pregnant women and the little one's growing inside them, however, you can get a sufficient amount of iron from your diet without consuming it in the excess that prenatals provide.

Alongside this switch, midwives and doctors usually recommend 150 mg of vitamin B6 a day taken in three doses (you can cut the vitamins at home) to boost your ever-waning energy levels. Combined with a low dose of Unisom (with the active ingredient doxylamine) this can also act as an adequate nausea reliever.

As your sickness eases you can switch back to a regular prenatal or look for a gummy prenatal with iron.

If switching to an iron-free prenatal isn't helping enough (or at all) ring up your OB's office and ask about over the counter or prescription medications used to treat nausea and vomiting.

Medications Used to Treat Morning Sickness

Vitamin B6 and a Half Tab of Unisom
Pepcid, Zantac and Tums
This medication is by prescription only and is available in several forms including by IV or a pump. The most commonly prescribed form is a pill. Zofran helps ease nausea and prevent vomitting in most women but can cause super-fun constipation as well as headaches.
A new drug used specifically to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
The "generic" version of Diclegis (without the time release).This combo has proven very successful in drastically (but not completely) curbing nausea and vomiting. But it can also cause drowsiness, because, well, Unisom is a sleeping pill, after all. It's important when taking Unisom during pregnancy to ONLY take the Unisom Sleep Tabs that can be broken in half because these contain the anti-nausea ingredient doxylamine succinate. Other versions of the drug are not safe during pregnancy.
If heartburn and acid reflux are exacerbating the pain of morning sickness, your doctor may suggest Pecid or Zantac to quell the burn, along with an antacid like Tums.
Also sleep-inducing, Phenergan is an anti-nausea medication that is available by prescription.
As with any medical advice, please consult your health care provider before taking any medication(s).

Stay Hydrated

Many of my friends agree, sometimes morning sickness is so bad that not even water is palpable. So, forget the water and try to sip on something with a little flavor. Even on my worst HG days I could still get a little blue Powerade down the gullet which helped provide some sugar and electrolytes to keep me (mostly) hydrated.

If blue Powerade isn't your thing, opt for:

  • Another type of sports drink
  • Flavored waters
  • Fizzy waters (like La Croix)
  • Club soda
  • Chocolate almond milk

A lot of women find it easier to consume icy cold drinks so keep those ice trays filled. You could even throw a handful of cubes into the blender with a tablespoon of water and grate until you have a nice ice slush. If you can handle that try adding some fruit to the mix next time around.

Remember that hydration doesn't only come from liquid. Fruits and vegetables, especially juicy ones like watermelon, cucumbers, and clementines are all super hydrating.

Stick a straw in your glass if this helps it all go down a little easier.

Drink Lemonade to Curb the Queasiness

Speaking of staying hydrated, have you tried lemonade? My mom's homemade lemonade made fresh by the glass got me through some of my darkest hours and I just want to take a minute right here, right now, to say thank you mom, for making fresh-squeezed lemonade on demand for your grown ass daughter for three months straight during my last pregnancy.

For the rest of you, I'm sorry, my mom isn't going to be able to help you. But maybe I can by offering a few words of advice.

First, I don't know why, but the sour and sweet combination of water, lemon, and sugar was something I genuinely craved during my first trimesters.

Second, I almost always threw it up eventually, BUT I know that some of it stayed down and what came up wasn't totally unpleasant. Just something to keep in mind...

The only thing that I found that helped was popsicles. It was basically all I ate for weeks.

— Erica, Mom of 2
Advice from real moms who've experienced morning sickness.
Advice from real moms who've experienced morning sickness. | Source

Libby, mom of 2 (almost 3)!

I tried oils, seabands, pretty much everything. The only thing that mildly helped was taking a Benadryl. And if I got super nauseous, I would make myself eat because most of the time that would help relieve it. It's a terrible feeling. Also, a heating pad to my low back helped a little as well. I just would keep it on the lowest heat [level] and only for 5-10 minutes at a time. Not sure why that helped either, except maybe it just helped relax me a little?

Tabitha, mom of 6

I never found anything that worked for me. People tried to offer me stuff to help ease the sickness, (like ginger) and I would instantly throw it up. I would try to eat a few small meals during the day too, but I never could do it. I'd eat immediately when I woke up (crackers beside my bed) whether I felt like it or not, but it still wouldn't help me. For me, I don't think there was anything that could help. Looking back, I wondered how the kids and I even got through all of that!

Erica, mom of 2

My morning sickness was quite severe. I lost nearly 20lbs. The only thing that I found that helped was popsicles. It was basically all I ate for weeks. People told me to try ginger and I would violently vomit anything with ginger in it. I tried the cracker trick and it would make me very sick first thing in the morning. After the first month, I started refrigerating and freezing fruit (mimicking the popsicle) and slowly began to gain a bit back. It was awful.

Danielle, mom of 4

I sipped on ginger ale and snacked on saltine crackers all day, it really helped. I had morning sickness with all four during the first 3 months, but I had it the worst with my daughter.

Iola, mom of 4

My second, eggs were horrid and preggo pops saved me, (except the ginger, that flavor was pure gross).

Elizabeth, mom of 1

I didn't get morning sickness, but I still threw up a few times from gagging while brushing my teeth. It was really hard to brush the back teeth without gagging.

Anna, mom of 4

I only was nauseous when I was pregnant with my daughter. Keeping hydrated helped a little, but dawn until dusk I felt sick no matter what I did. I couldn't even watch food commercials. I would close my eyes and plug my ears and have my husband tell me when they were over!... I survived on peaches, chips and salsa or potato salad with beans! I'm not joking these foods were on my acceptable list and that was it most days. Oh my word anything with cheese was the worst thing EVER. I once threw up upon entering my parents house because my mom had made bread sticks and apparently that was a trigger! I would avoid driving by Little Caesars because it was so disgusting to me when pregnant. I still struggle even a year after with some foods that are triggers and make me want to throw up from associating them with my pregnancy nausea.

Crystal, mom of 2

Saltines did not work for me and I wanted to barf on everyone that would tell me to eat them.

Questions About Morning Sickness

Can ginger really help with nausea or will it make you feel worse?

I think it makes it worse or, at least doesn't help. I actually know only one person who swore by ginger and everyone else I know, including myself, found ginger more nauseating or worse, vomit inducing. And trust me when I tell you, puking up ginger products is painful. So why do doctors always recommend it for morning sickness? Probably because the truth is, there hasn't been a lot of scientific research done on typical morning sickness and OBs might be quick to recommend something simply because it doesn't do any actual harm and has been passed down as a go-to "cure" for a really long time.

Does having morning sickness mean you're having a girl?

Maybe. While you can have mornings sickness while carrying either a boy or a girl, this study found that the number of women hospitalized with nausea and vomiting while pregnant with a girl was much higher than the number of women who were carrying a boy.

Purely anecdotal, I've always known my friends who have both sons and daughters to be sicker while carrying their daughters, though they didn't exactly escape the nausea or vomiting while pregnant with their sons.

Is morning sickness worse with twins?

It can be! But it doesn't necessarily mean it's a sign of a twin pregnancy just because you're spending every morning in the bathroom. Since morning sickness is likely caused by pregnancy hormones, it's really just a sign that your pregnancy is developing, whether that's with one or more babies.

What Are The Main Symptoms of Morning Sickness?

Symptoms of morning sickness can and often do include:

  • Feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness. This is usually due to a combination of lowered blood pressure and low blood sugar. Remember to drink extra fluids and snack on protein-rich foods to help counteract these yucky symptoms.
  • Intense nausea due to rising hormones.
  • Food aversions that come from changing hormones.
  • Vomiting. This can come out of nowhere or be triggered by smells, meals, or even just a gross thought.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

    © 2015 Kierstin Gunsberg


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      • Kierstin Gunsberg profile imageAUTHOR

        Kierstin Gunsberg 

        5 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

        Hi Skye, thanks for reading! I am undoubtedly grateful for my girls but won't deny that morning sickness is terrible for some women and the stress that it can bring both physically and mentally is beyond the trivialities of whining when it interferes with a woman's ability to care for herself or the children she already has. Hyperemesis Gravidarum left me unable to properly care for my daughter, and without the help of my family I don't know how her and I would have survived. Morning Sickness and Hyperemesis are not well understood but hopefully if we continue to have a conversation about it, healthcare providers and mothers-to-be will become more educated about the realities faced by those who suffer and better solutions will result!

      • profile image


        5 years ago

        Be grateful it will pass. We always have stuff to whine about me included. Think of the blessing God has given to u. 3 months of nausea is nothing. Wait till month 9 when u wobble around. All good. God is gracious and His grace w hold u when u feel u are over it. Shalim. Prayer helps gratitude really helps. In love I relate.

      • Kierstin Gunsberg profile imageAUTHOR

        Kierstin Gunsberg 

        5 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

        connieow -- Ugh, heartburn is the worst. The old wive's tale is that those momma's who suffer from it have hairy little babies, lol. I had really bad heartburn with my first and she indeed, was born with long blond hair! So I guess it was kind of worth it...

      • Kierstin Gunsberg profile imageAUTHOR

        Kierstin Gunsberg 

        5 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

        tlcs-- Thanks for reading! Minty gum was great for not vomiting during my doctor's appointments. Good advice!

      • Kierstin Gunsberg profile imageAUTHOR

        Kierstin Gunsberg 

        5 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

        BraveWarrior-- I envy you!! I wish I could say I had the same experience with my pregnancies but suffered severe morning sickness for 4 months with both. Severe being that I was unable to care for myself and relied heavily on my husband and family and an excessive amount of weight (15 pounds with this last pregnancy). So even though I do think it's best NOT to take medication if you don't need to during pregnancy, it was necessary for me to take some of the medications I listed. On the bright side my daughter Eloise was born super, super healthy and I just had my anatomy scan for this baby girl and she's looking quite lovely and healthy as well! =)

      • connieow profile image

        Connie S Owens 

        5 years ago from El Cajon, CA

        I never knew why they called in Morning Sickness. I was never sick in the morning. With my first it was at night, as soon as I laid down to go to sleep I was right back up and running for the bathroom. With my second, it was afternoons, gratefully with my third it never happened. But I did get heartburn. The joys of being a mommy to be. Hugs and blessings to all new mommys.

      • tlcs profile image

        Trudy Cooper 

        5 years ago from Hampshire, UK

        That was the one thing that I disliked about being pregnant! I found the mints helped me to get over nauseau, well written hub thank you.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        5 years ago from Central Florida

        I was fortunate when I was pregnant with my son (an only child). I never had morning sickness - not once! I also wasn't on prenatal vitamins, but my midwife did have me on non-chelated iron pills.

        I'm surprised that doctors are prescribing or recommending the medications you mention above. Most of them aren't good for the human body even when it's not carrying a baby. I'd stick with things like almonds, ginger tea, and apple cider vinegar to combat nausea.


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