How to Cope With Pregnancy Morning Sickness

What is Morning Sickness

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, also known as morning sickness, is very common in early pregnancy. It’s unpleasant, but it doesn’t put your baby at any increased risk and usually clears up by weeks 16 to 20 of pregnancy.

Some women get a very severe form of nausea and vomiting called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which can be very serious. It needs specialist treatment, sometimes in hospital. Find out more about hyperemesis gravidarum.

With morning sickness, some women are sick (vomit) and some have a feeling of sickness (nausea) without being sick. The term “morning sickness” is misleading. It can affect you at any time of the day or night, and some women feel sick all day long.

It’s thought hormonal changes in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are probably one of the causes of morning sickness.

Symptoms should ease as your pregnancy progresses. In some women, symptoms disappear by the third month of pregnancy. However, some women experience nausea and vomiting for longer than this, and about 1 woman in 10 continues to feel sick after week 20.

How common is morning sickness?

During early pregnancy, nausea, vomiting and tiredness are common symptoms. Around half of all pregnant women experience vomiting, and more than 80% of women (80 out of 100) experience nausea in the first 12 weeks.

People sometimes consider morning sickness a minor inconvenience of pregnancy, but for some women it can have a significant adverse effect on their day-to-day activities and quality of life.

Treatments for morning sickness

If you have morning sickness, your GP (*doctor) or midwife will initially recommend that you try a number of changes to your diet and daily life to help reduce your symptoms. These include:

  • getting plenty of rest – tiredness can make nausea worse
  • if you feel sick first thing in the morning, give yourself time to get up slowly – if possible, eat something like dry toast or a plain biscuit before you get up
  • drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, and sipping them little and often rather than in large amounts, as this may help prevent vomiting
  • eating small, frequent meals that are high in carbohydrate (such as bread, rice and pasta) and low in fat – most women can manage savoury foods, such as toast, crackers and crispbread, better than sweet or spicy foods
  • eating small amounts of food often rather than several large meals – but don’t stop eating
  • eating cold meals rather than hot ones as they don’t give off the smell that hot meals often do, which may make you feel sick
  • avoiding foods or smells that make you feel sick
  • avoiding drinks that are cold, tart (sharp) or sweet
  • asking the people close to you for extra support and help – it helps if someone else can cook, but if this isn’t possible, go for bland, non-greasy foods, such as baked potatoes or pasta, which are simple to prepare
  • distracting yourself as much as you can – the nausea can get worse the more you think about it
  • wearing comfortable clothes without tight waistbands

If you have severe morning sickness, your doctor or midwife might recommend medication.

Anti-sickness remedies

If your nausea and vomiting is severe and doesn’t improve after you make changes to your diet and lifestyle, your GP (*doctor) may recommend a short-term course of an anti-sickness medicine that is safe to use in pregnancy.

This type of medicine is called an antiemetic. The commonly prescribed antiemetics can have side effects. These are rare, but can include muscle twitching.

Some antihistamines (medicines often used to treat allergies such as hay fever) also work as antiemetics. Your doctor might prescribe an antihistamine that is safe to take in pregnancy. See your GP if you would like to consider this form of treatment.

Ginger eases morning sickness

There is some evidence that ginger supplements may help reduce nausea and vomiting. To date, there have not been any reports of adverse effects being caused by taking ginger during pregnancy.

However, ginger products are unlicensed in the UK, so buy them from a reputable source, such as a pharmacy or supermarket. Check with your pharmacist before you use ginger supplements.

Some women find that ginger biscuits or ginger ale can help reduce nausea. You can try different things to see what works for you.

Find out more about vitamins and supplements in pregnancy.

Acupressure might help morning sickness

Acupressure on the wrist may also be effective in reducing symptoms of nausea in pregnancy. Acupressure involves wearing a special band or bracelet on your forearm. Some researchers have suggested that putting pressure on certain parts of the body may cause the brain to release certain chemicals that help reduce nausea and vomiting.

There have been no reports of any serious adverse effects caused by using acupressure during pregnancy, although some women have experienced numbness, pain and swelling in their hands.

When to see a doctor for morning sickness

If you are vomiting and can’t keep any food or drink down, there is a chance that you could become dehydrated or malnourished. Contact your GP (*doctor) or midwife immediately if you:

  • have very dark-coloured urine or do not pass urine for more than eight hours
  • are unable to keep food or fluids down for 24 hours
  • feel severely weak, dizzy or faint when standing up
  • have abdominal (tummy) pain
  • have a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • vomit blood

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also cause nausea and vomiting. A UTI is an infection that usually affects the bladder but can spread to the kidneys.

If you have any pain when passing urine or you pass any blood, you may have a urine infection and this will need treatment. Drink plenty of water to dilute your urine and reduce pain. You should contact your GP within 24 hours.

Risk factors for morning sickness

A number of different factors may mean you are more likely to have nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. These include:

  • nausea and vomiting in a previous pregnancy
  • a family history of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, or morning sickness
  • a history of motion sickness – for example, in a car
  • a history of nausea while using contraceptives that contain oestrogen
  • obesity – where you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more
  • stress
  • multiple pregnancies, such as twins or triplets
  • first pregnancy

Visit the pregnancy sickness support site for tips on dealing with nausea and vomiting, and advice for partners too.

Find maternity services near you (in the UK)

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

NHS Choices logo


Child Health & Safety News 8/28: Tell Them – Brave is a Decision

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Heath News: 10 Medical Reasons Your Child Is Overweight

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 15 events & stories.

  • New ‘no judgment’ approach to opioid-dependent moms also helps their babies 2017-08-27
  • The Realistic Way to Stop Mom Shaming in its Tracks {plus Printable} 2017-08-27
  • Physicians continue fight to promote vaccinations -“We may not see polio here, but it’s one plane ride away” 2017-08-26
  • You Can’t Teach Kids Empathy, but These Picture Books Inspire It 5 new books help children see differently 2017-08-26
  • How do I protect my daughter from the epidemic of eating disorders? 2017-08-26
  • Tips to Ease Back-to-School Anxiety 2017-08-26
  • Sat., The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is Sensory Friendly at AMC 2017-08-25

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Have This Conversation Before You Send Your Baby Back To School – Brave is a decision!

  • Teachable Moments: Valuable Lessons on Life and Love for Kids – Thurs Time Capsule 04/11 2017-08-24
  • Things You Should Know Before Your Child Enters Kindergarten 2017-08-23
  • How to Cope With First-Year College Stress: Self-Help Tips 2017-08-23
  • 7 Signs You’re Definitely Overparenting Your Child 2017-08-22
  • Baby box scheme rolled out across Scotland – includes newborn essentials and a mattress for safe sleep 2017-08-22
  • Mayo Clinic Minute: What to expect during your child’s physical 2017-08-21
  • The Hitman’s Bodyguard is Sensory Friendly, Tomorrow at AMC 2017-08-21
  • Taking Care of YOU So You Can Protect Your Kids and Pets 2017-08-21

Parents, You Have a Homework Assignment! Make Sure…

Good morning parents. I hope everyone had a fun and safe summer with the kids because now, as if you already didn’t know, it is time to send them back to school. I am more than positive that each and every one of you is well versed in supply lists and projects that will all be due on the first day, not to mention the beginning of homework. Well before the kids get any homework, I would like to take this opportunity to give you the parents some homework of your own for this brand new school year.

The assignment I have for you is about making sure and it comes in 2 parts:

As a parent, aside from the required vaccinations and records you must submit to the school, the first part of your assignment is to make sure that the school, the school nurse, the teachers and anyone else that will be caring for your child at school is aware of any conditions they may have that could pose a problem or delay in an emergency. For example: Allergies, Asthma, or even Heart Conditions. As a paramedic, the number one problem I have faced at schools is the lack of knowledge about the student and the ability to quickly contact parents. The best way I can recommend to take care of these situations is to schedule meetings with these people and talk to them about your child.

The second part of making sure is asking questions. Schools generally hold meetings or back to school nights where parents have time to ask questions of administrators and teachers. Given the world we live in now and what we see every day on the news, I would like you to ask your school what they have done in preparation for given emergencies. Are ALL the teachers CPR / First Aid certified or only a select few? Does each class have first aid equipment or just the main office? Has the school done any specific training on active shooter situations? Does the school have a set plan in place to handle any of these situations? What kind of communication will the school have with parents in an emergency? Phone, text, email etc.

I know these are not the types of things we would like to think about when we send our children off to school, but they are real concerns. Please take the time and find out what types of plans the school has made because in an emergency, information will be vital and plans are necessary.

Thank you and have a safe school year!

*Photo credit: Innovation_School; CC license

Sat., The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is Sensory Friendly at AMC

New sensory friendly logoSince 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature on Saturday, August 26th at 10am (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in September: Leap (Sat 9/9); It (Tues 9/12); Lego Ninjago (Sat 9/23); Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Tues 9/26);


Editor’s note: Although The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for action and some rude humor. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

How to Cope With First-Year College Stress: Self-Help Tips

Starting university can be a stressful experience. How you cope with the stress is the key to whether or not it develops into a health problem.

Stress is a natural feeling, designed to help you cope in challenging situations. In small amounts it’s good, because it pushes you to work hard and do your best, including in exams.

Leaving home to start your studies can involve some stressful changes. These might include moving to a new area, meeting new people and managing on a tight budget.

Signs you might be stressed

The first signs of stress are:

Too much stress can lead to physical and psychological problems, such as:

  • anxiety – feelings ranging from uneasiness to severe and paralysing panic
  • dry mouth
  • churning stomach
  • palpitations – pounding heart
  • sweating
  • shortness of breath
  • depression

Things that can help with stress

Short periods of stress are normal, and can often be resolved by something as simple as completing a task – which cuts down your workload – or by talking to others and taking time to relax.

Some of these suggestions might help:

  • Work out what it is that’s making you anxious. For example, is it exams, or money or relationship problems? See if you can change your circumstances to ease the pressure you’re under.
  • Try to have a more healthy lifestyle. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, cut down on alcohol, and spend some time socialising as well as working and studying.
  • Try not to worry about the future or compare yourself with others.
  • Learn to relax. If you have a panic attack or are in a stressful situation, try to focus on something outside yourself, or switch off by watching TV or chatting to someone.
  • Relaxation and breathing exercises may help.
  • Try to resolve personal problems by talking to a friend, tutor or someone in your family.
  • Read about how to cope with the stress of exams.

For more tips on beating stress, check out these 10 stress busters.

The NHS Choices Moodzone has eight free mental wellbeing podcasts or audio guides that may help you when your mood is low or you’re facing an anxious time in your life.

This anxiety podcast tackles stress that arises around revision time and exams.

Professional help for student stress

Long-term stress and anxiety is difficult to resolve by yourself, and it’s often best for you to seek help.

Don’t struggle alone. Anxiety can seriously affect your academic performance, and that’s not only distressing for you, but means a lot of wasted effort.

Find out more about tackling student mental health issues.

Child Health & Safety News 8/21: Charting ADHD vs. Autism

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Safety News: Grieving Couple Begs Parents To Learn CPR After Their 2-Year-Old Chokes On A Grape

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 15 events & stories.

  • 6-year-old gets first cochlear implant in Karnataka, India 2017-08-20
  • How important is it for teens to have a summer job? 2017-08-20
  • Dolly Parton’s Children’s Album “I Believe in You” releasing this fall – proceeds to children’s literacy charity 2017-08-20
  • How to add a layer of fun to kids’ snacks 2017-08-18
  • Children’s Hosp of Philadelphia to Lead Pediatric Data Resource Ctr for Research in Childhood Cancer and Structural Birth Defects 2017-08-18

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Charting the Difference Between ADHD and Autism

  • San Antonio first responders team up to make child smile with heartwarming gesture 2017-08-17
  • Should You Let Your Teen Blog? – Thurs Time Capsule 08/11 2017-08-17
  • 9 Tips for Keeping Kids Safe at Amusement Parks 2017-08-16
  • How to Help Your Child Live With Kidney Disease 2017-08-16
  • Large Study Finds No Link Between Pet Ownership, Kids’ Health 2017-08-15
  • UT Physicians: Seven Tips For a Healthy School Year 2017-08-14
  • NY and other DCFS orgs restricting firearms for foster parents 2017-08-14
  • 6 Reasons to Stop the “Every Kid Gets a Trophy” 2017-08-14