Nausea And Vomiting In Pregnancy

Most pregnant women feel sick or vomit (are sick) in early pregnancy. This affects 3 out of 4 pregnant women, and in most cases the condition is mild and needs no treatment. This is thought to be due to the sudden increase in hormone levels (bhcg) that are maintaining the pregnancy. The rise is very rapid in the first three months and then stabilises.

The sickness usually improves between 12 and 16 weeks, but about 1 in 5 women have some sickness all the way through the pregnancy.

Pregnancy sickness is often called morning sickness but can occur at any time of the day. Feelings of sickness come and go. They usually last between 1 and 4 hours at a time. Some women have more severe symptoms and have more frequent or longer bouts of sickness.

The physical effort of retching and being sick does not harm your baby. If the sickness goes on for a long time, and is severe, the baby may not gain as much weight as normal.

This is a very emotional time and feeling sick can make you feel depressed, but the sickness usually only lasts for a few weeks. Feeling unwell can be disruptive to family life, especially if you need to come into hospital.

If you become dehydrated from the sickness, you will feel tired and have no energy. You will be uncomfortable from having a dry mouth and can get heartburn from being sick.
You will drop your stores of essential vitamins, particularly Vitamin B and this can, very occasionally, cause problems if the vitamins are not replaced.

Anti-sickness medication, which is safe in pregnancy, can be prescribed by your doctor.

You can also be prescribed a vitamin tablet to take 3 times a day if you are able to tolerate things by mouth, but if you are not, a vitamin injection can be given through your drip once a week. You can also take something for the heartburn if you need it.

  • Drinking is the most important thing. Drink whatever you can. Sugary and flat fizzy drinks can sometimes help; avoid milky drinks.

  • Keep eating even in bite-sizes. An empty stomach makes vomiting worse by increasing heartburn.

  • Plain biscuits may be helpful to nibble on at regular intervals between meals to relieve the nausea.

  • Eat snacks such as toast and jam (no butter), sandwiches (low fat fillings), soups and crackers, breakfast cereals with low fat milk – these can be just as nutritious as conventional meals.

  • Some people find it better to eat and drink at different times, not together.

  • Avoid fatty foods and dairy products.

  • Avoid spicy foods.

  • Have plenty of rest and keep your room well ventilated.

  • Avoid long car journeys

  • If you wish to consider any Complimentary Therapies, please contact your GP to discuss that. There is some evidence to suggest that ginger reduces the feeling of sickness.