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

Updated on July 10, 2020
Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

After two rounds of hyperemesis gravidarum, Kierstin 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!)

Source

Seven 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, or Preggie Pop and read on for some commiseration and a few tips on how to ease morning sickness, from mom's who've been there.

Preggie Pops saved me, (except the ginger, that flavor was pure gross).

— Iola, mom of 4

Light Exercise

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.

Why it Works

Taking a walk can distract you from sights, smells and sounds triggering your nausea and boost your mood, making it easier to handle the ups and downs of that first trimester.

Don't Overdue on Exercise and Physical Activity

Okay, so moving around a bit, especially in fresh air is a great way to ease morning sickness symptoms, but getting too much exercise or overdoing it on household chores and errand running can make you feel worse.

Why?

Because not only are you already more fatigued and depleted of nutrients and energy in your first trimester, as your body works hard to grow another human, but the more you move, the quicker your body temp rises which can contribute to nausea and that sick feeling you're trying to avoid.

Try Acupressure to Reduce Nausea During Exercise and Physical Activities

I know it sounds nuts, but in my second pregnancy I bought these acupressure bands on the advice of other pregnant moms.

Why it Works

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.

Snacking and Mealtimes

Snack on Carbs

When all else fails: carbs. 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.

Why it Works

Though it's tempting to avoid eating when you're nauseous, in the case of morning sickness, you're worse off avoiding food altogether because an empty stomach promotes acid reflux which only makes nausea worse! Carbs are a great, bland way to fill an empty stomach.

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

— Crystal, mom of 2

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 Nature Valley 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.

Indulge Your Cravings

If you're craving chocolate cake, eat the cake. If you're way into your kids' goldfish crackers, steal the box and let him have the bag of carrot sticks sitting lonely in the crisper.

Why it Works

Because what's worse than eating an unhealthy diet during pregnancy is just not eating at all.

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

— Anna, Mom of 4

Choose Which Cravings Are Worth It

If your morning sickness has gone in the puking direction, keep in mind how much throwing up a particular food might suck. Apples come up sharp and oatmeal is suffocating.

Obviously, you're not going to be getting the full spectrum of nutrition while you battle your way through morning sickness, so 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!

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

— Erica, mom of 2

Staying Hydrated

Avoid Caffeine

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 to Try Instead

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. Can't do herbal stuff? Try a hot cup of water with a squeeze of lemon.

Try Alternatives to Water

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 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
  • Lemonade
  • Sparkling water (like La Croix)
  • Club soda
  • Chocolate almond milk

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

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.

— Anna, mom of 4

Keep Your Drinks Icy Cold

A lot of women, including me, find it easier to consume icy cold drinks when they're dealing with morning sickness. 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.

Vitamins and Medications

Switch to Gummy Vitamins

With my first kid, just smelling the bottle of vitamins sent my stomach lurching.

Yep, prenatal vitamins can make morning sickness even worse. That's because besides the triggering odor, they contain a whole lot of iron which can cause constipation and nausea. If this is the case for you, 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).

Why it Works

You'll get a good balance of nutrients without the added iron. Iron is an important nutrient for pregnant women and fetuses, however, you can get a sufficient amount from your diet without consuming it in the excess that prenatals provide.

What if I'm Throwing Up Multiple Times a Day?

If pregnancy nausea is causing you to vomit several times a day, or contributing to major weight loss in your first trimester then your doctor may prescribe one or more medications to ease your nausea and vomiting.

My morning sickness was quite severe. I lost nearly twenty pounds

— Erica, mom of 2

Medications Used to Treat Morning Sickness

Zofran
Diclegis
Vitamin B6 and a Half Tab of Unisom
Antacids and Acid Reducers
Phenergan
As with any medical advice, please consult your health care provider before taking any medication(s).

Zofran

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.

Diclegis

A new drug used specifically to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Acid Reducers

If heartburn and acid reflux are exacerbating the pain of morning sickness, your doctor may suggest Pecid or a prescription acid-reducer to quell the burn, along with an antacid like Tums.

Phenergan

Also sleep-inducing, Phenergan is an anti-nausea medication that is available by prescription.

Vitamin B6 and a half tab of Unisom

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.

A Note About Unisom in Pregnancy

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. Consult your doctor to make sure you're taking the correct type and dosage.

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.

People tried to offer me stuff to help ease the sickness, (like ginger) and I would instantly throw it up.

— Tabitha, mom of 6

Morning Sickness and Gender

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

It's likely. While you can have morning 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.

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

Morning Sickness and Gender

Are you having a boy or a girl?

See results

I only was nauseous when I was pregnant with my daughter.

— Anna, mom of 4

Morning Sickness and Multiples

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.

Morning Sickness and Multiples

How many babies are you carrying?

See results

Symptoms

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.

The Worst Symptoms

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

See results

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.

© 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

      skye 

      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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