Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy Patient information leaflet It is normal to feel sick, and sometimes vomit, if you are pregnant. You might find some simple treatments can help.
Most pregnant women feel sick and vomit sometimes during their
pregnancy. For many women these are the first signs that they are
pregnant. Some women view these symptoms as signs that their pregnancy
Nausea and vomiting usually begin around six weeks after the start of your
last period. Although often called 'morning sickness', women can get these
symptoms at any time of the day. You will probably feel worse in the
morning, which is why it is called morning sickness. But you might feel sick,
or be sick, at any time of day. Even if you are sick two or three times a day,
you will usually be able to keep some food down. Your morning sickness
Although it is normal to feel sick or be sick when you're pregnant, it is not
normal to be so sick that you can't hold down any food or fluids for more
than 24 hours. If this happens, you can become dehydrated and you may
need to be treated in hospital to replace the fluids you’ve lost.
feel like you haven’t been able to hold down any fluids for more than
you have very dark urine, or pass no urine for more than 8 hours
you have severe weakness or feeling faint
What treatments work?
If you are finding it hard to cope with morning sickness, there are some
natural treatments and drug treatments you can try. Research has found
Treatment without drugs Ginger is a natural remedy and one of the most widely used treatments for
nausea and vomiting. It is a spicy root used to flavour food such as
gingerbread, biscuits, and stir-fried vegetables. It is also found in drinks such
as ginger tea, ginger ale, and ginger beer. You probably won’t get enough
ginger by eating or drinking foods that contain it. You will need to take
supplements in the form of capsules or syrup. In studies 9 out of 10 women
said their nausea and vomiting was much better after taking ginger
supplements. Around 7 in 10 women stopped vomiting.
Wearing an acupressure wristband over a certain place on your forearm
(called the P6 point) may help to reduce nausea and vomiting. Studies have
found that women who wear a wristband have fewer hours of feeling
nauseous and less severe nausea. There are no side effects to wearing the
wristband, but problems such as numbness, soreness, and swelling from the
Treatment with drugs
If you are getting a lot of nausea and vomiting, a kind of drug called an
antihistamine is likely to help. Antihistamines called promethazine (brand
name Phenergan) or cyclizine are the ones usually used to treat morning
sickness in the UK. There is about a 70-80% chance that you'll feel less sick
and will vomit less frequently if you take one of these antihistamines.
There is no evidence that taking antihistamines when you are pregnant will
harm your baby but about 1 in 4 women feel drowsy when taking an
antihistamine. Although there are antihistamines that don't cause
drowsiness, the studies on taking antihistamines during pregnancy have
used the kind that do make you drowsy. We cannot say for certain whether
the drugs that don't cause drowsiness reduce nausea and vomiting or are
Things you can do to help yourself
There has not been much research on things you can do yourself to reduce
• Eating little and often (for example, every two to three hours)
• Eating a little as soon as they wake up and taking time to get out of bed
• Avoiding very rich, spicy, or fatty foods
• Drinking lots of liquid (but avoiding alcohol and caffeine)
• Moving slowly and avoiding sudden movements
• Getting some fresh air and exercise daily.
What will happen to me?
The good news is that morning sickness usually gets better after the first
three months of pregnancy for almost all women. About 1 in 10 women still
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