Morning Sickness

Morning — or for many women, all day — sickness

For many of our patients, morning sickness is really a misnomer and instead should be called
morning-noon-and-night sickness. Not only can certain smells make them gag, but the nausea
and vomiting caused by “morning” sickness leave them exhausted and miserable.

But fear not, help is on the way. At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we recommend the following
tips for lessening its severity:

6 ways to help decrease “morning” sickness

1. Keep food in your stomach but not too much.
An empty stomach can make nausea worse. Eat several small meals every day instead of three
large meals.

2. For morning nausea, eat a small snack (like crackers) before rising.
Allow a few minutes for the snack to digest, then get out of bed slowly.

3. Stay hydrated.
Drink a lot of fluids, such as a sports hydration drink, as well as water, broth or juice.

4. Eat more protein, and cut the fatty foods.
You may want to pass on the burger with fries…it’ll only make it worse (and your baby doesn’t
need the grease).

5. Avoid smells and foods that make you feel nauseated.
Citrus juice, milk, coffee and caffeinated tea typically make nausea worse.

6. Get lots of rest.
Stress and fatigue can make morning sickness worse (and a lot of other things too).

What causes morning sickness and long will it last?

No one knows for sure what causes nausea during pregnancy, but it’s probably a combination of:

  • human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone that rises rapidly during early pregnancy
  • estrogen, another hormone which rises rapidly in early pregnancy
  • enhanced sense of smell and sensitivity to odors (this may result from higher levels of estrogen
    but no one knows for sure)
  • a sensitive stomach
  • stress

Symptoms should go away after a few weeks but if you have severe, persistent nausea and vomiting and are unable to take in fluids, see your doctor right away, as this could lead to hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and loss of electrolytes. Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest and antacids, but more severe cases often require a stay in the hospital so that the patient can receive intravenous (IV) fluids and nutrition.