Tips for Managing Morning Sickness


Surviving Morning Sickness: Information on why it happens, tips for managing morning sickness, remedies, and more

I vote that they rename morning sickness.It really gives people false expectations that once they get through the sickness in the morning, it won’t come back the rest of the day.

Don’t get me wrong; when I was pregnant, I definitely had morning sickness. Along with lunch time sickness, middle of work sickness, driving home sickness, and all evening long sickness.

And it didn’t end after the first trimester like people make you think it will either. Nope, I was pretty much sick the entire time I was pregnant. I knew I would be. My mom was very sick with me, and I just had a feeling that I would be getting payback when I was pregnant. Payback it was.

And when it came to all the remedies out there, this is how I felt:

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I didn’t feel like any tips really worked that well. And I pretty much always felt sick. I threw up on the way to work, and the way home. Right when I woke up, and before bed. I can never eat Taco Time again, and I feel embarassed every time I think about when I was walking down a hill from BYU campus, and I just started throwing up…with lots of people around me.

With that said, here is everything you need to know about morning sickness — what it is, why it happens, and how you can manage it.

What is Morning Sickness

First off, I want to talk about what is morning sickness.

70 percent of women experience nausea early in pregnancy and about 50 percent experience vomiting. After the first trimester of pregnancy, about fifty percent of those who had early pregnancy morning sickness will feel totally better. However, many will continue on to be sick for the entirety of their pregnancy.

Morning sickness can be a “simple” as feeling a little sick to your stomach, to full on throwing up multiple times a day to the point of dehydration. No matter what kind of morning sickness you may experience, just know that it’s okay to rest. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re being a wuss! No one truly knows what it’s like to go through morning sickness unless they have themselves, and even then…everyone’s experience is different.

Most morning sickness will strike around six weeks, but sometimes it will happen later…or leave, and then come back several weeks after. I remember going to an appointment at WIC when I was about 6 weeks pregnant, and proudly proclaiming that I wasn’t sick at all. The nutritionist gave me a knowing smile, and said, “Well, wait a few more weeks before you get too excited.”

Ha. That’s all I have to say. Because morning sickness came on full force about one week later.

So, what causes morning sickness? I’ll talk about that next.

Morning Sickness Causes

There is not one big, catch-all reason for morning sickness. There’s a wide variety of factors, but when it comes down to it, you may never know. And just because you were sick with one child doesn’t mean you will be sick with all of them, and vice versa. However, here are a few reasons that have been found to increase the likelihood of morning sickness (summarized from BabyCenter.com)

  • hCG (human chorinoic gonadotroping): When you are first pregnant, your doctor may monitor your hCG level, which is a hormone that rises extremely fast during the early stages of pregnancy. While there’s been no definitive study saying this is the cause of morning sickness, it does correlate with the timing of when a woman may first experience morning sickness. When a woman is carrying multiple babies, here hCG levels will be higher, and morning sickness is very common among women expecting more than one baby.
  • Increased sense of smell: I think this definitely contributed to my morning sickness. When you are pregnant, you do have an increased sense of smell…which is not always a good thing. Things that may not have bothered you before may smell stronger than ever before, causing you to get sick.
  • Sensitive Stomach: This may not be the case for all women, but for some reason, pregnancy can make your digestive system a little wonky. BabyCenter also said that some studies have shown that the presence of Helicobacter pylori, a stomach bacterium, may increase the likelihood of morning sickness. I found this very interesting, because, shortly after Jack was born, I had positive results for h. pylori.
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Who Gets Morning Sickness

Most often, you will never know if you will get morning sickness until you’re actually pregnant. But, in case you are wondering if you have a higher chance, here are a few factors that may increase that chance:

  • Having multiples (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Experienced morning sickness in previous pregnancy (for instance, I have a sister who got sicker and sicker with each pregnancy, and this was the case for my mom, as well.)
  • History of migraines
  • If your mother or sisters have had morning sickness, you’re more likely to, as well (pretty much, I was doomed from the start.)
  • You are having a girl. I don’t know if I totally believe this, but apparently there was a study that shows women carrying a girl are a lot more likely to be sick.

Dangers of Morning Sickness

For most women, morning sickness will just make them miserable. However, if, beyond the first trimester, you don’t gain any weight, can’t keep any food or water down, you may be at risk for various complications.

The most serious complication is called hyperemesis gravidarum, which happens in about 1 out of every 100 pregnancies. Kate Middleton brought a lot of attention to this during her pregnancy, and I’m glad it did (though I’m not glad she was so ill.) If you have hyperemesis gravidarum, it’s not just on occasional bout of nausea, or throwing up every now and then. It’s a serious illness that often can land you in the hospital, and can cause complications with your pregnancy. Thankfully, there are medicines that can help with it, but many women who have it often have to get IV drips to rehydrate them.

Morning Sickness Survival Kit

While I had  a hard time finding anything that made me feel 100% better, there were a few things that helped. And, when all else failed and I still felt sick, there were a few items I had to have on hand. Here are a few ideas of items you might always want to have close by.

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Preggie Pop Drops: I was skeptical about these, but honestly, they did take the edge off. Plus they taste delicious!

Bowl or bag: As much as I hate to admit it, there were many times I was in the car, or work, or walking on campus, and I just had to throw up. And the times where a bowl or bag was handy made life so much easier.

Mints or toothbrush/toothpaste: This is probably self-explanatory, really, but if you get sick…you’ll probably want to get that flavor out of your mouth. Because if you don’t…it might make you want to throw up again!

Facial Wipes: Just to wipe your hands, face, etc.

Water or Gatorade: It’s very important to stay hydrated while pregnant, especially if you have a lot of morning sickness. However, water can be hard to keep down if you have a sensitive stomach. Gatorade is a good choice because it replenishes the electrolytes you lose (be sure to not get one of the zero or low-calorie ones, because they have aspartame or sucralose in them! Not so good for you, or your growing baby.)

Hair Tie: I was grateful for having one of these

snacks (variety): Just anything that doesn’t make you gag!


How to Deal 

    • Let people take care of you. I don’t care how independent you are…if you are feeling sick, let people take care of you! It might be the only time in your life you can truly justify it (growing a person is hard!) Pregnancy is not a time to be prideful!
    • Track Food/Smell Triggers: Inevitably, you will have some kind of food (or many foods) or smells that you can’t stand. One of my sister’s couldn’t even be in the same room as a sausage, and another couldn’t be near ham. If you keep track of what makes you feel particularly nauseous, it can help you avoid the triggers more effectively.
    • Sleep lots! Truly, this is the best thing you can do…albeit, it can be the hardest, I know. But sleep whenever you can.If you are having trouble sleeping, be sure to invest in a pregnancy pillow. This is one of the first things I’ll get next time I’m pregnant!
    • Relax: Go on walks, meditate, or even do a little prenatal yoga.


Morning Sickness Remedies

    • Ginger – chews, crystalized, capsules: Ginger helps settle stomachs. I actually tried some ginger crystals once, and while I did not love the flavor, it helped a little bit.
    • Medication – if you are absolutely miserable and can’t even function, consider asking your doctor for a prescription. I don’t think that every woman  needs medication for morning sickness, but if you really feel like you can’t go on, I’d recommend talking to your doctor. The most popular kind is Zofran (though I recently read an article about why you shouldn’t take Zofran unless absolutely necessary), but I’m sure there are other kinds as well.
    • Vitamin B12 + Unisom: A nurse at my OBGYN office recommended this as an alternative to getting a prescription medicine. I tried it a few times, right before I got out of bed, and it helped at least ward off my morning sickness for awhile. Be sure to ask your doctor for proper dosing.
    • Frozen Gatorade Cubes: I heard of someone doing this, and I thought it was a good idea. If you have a hard time drinking anything, maybe just suck on a couple of frozen gatorade cubes. It will help with hydration and replenishing electrolytes, and might be easier on your stomach. Just pour some gatorade into some ice cube trays, and you should be good to go!
    • Zinc supplements: Just a tip I found online somewhere. Zinc apparently calms nausea…who knew!


    • Lemon drops: Just constantly sucking on something can help you fight the urge to throw up, and lemon is supposed to be good for helping with nausea.
    • Saltines: Bland, plain, and not likely to upset your stomach
    • Anything Peppermint or Lemon: Don’t ask me why, but these are apparently good for settling stomachs. In my opinion, I feel like any smell was too strong while I was pregnant, but it’s worth a shot!
    • Essential Oils: Essential oils make me sick, but I know they work for a lot of people, but some people swear by them. Lavender can help you sleep, peppermint ease nausea.
    • Have a snack right next to your bed for when you wake up in the morning. For me, I would literally throw up five seconds after getting out of bed, and just eating a cracker or something gave me a little more time.
    • Avoid spicy or greasy foods…no matter how much you crave them! This can really aggravate acid reflux, as well. Which, in turn, can make you throw up.
    • Wear motion sickness bracelets especially made for pregnancy. These can be purchased at drug stores, Walmart, Target, etc.
    • Get out of bed slowly…no need for any sudden movements!
    • Eat small, frequent meals, every few hours. Never let yourself go hungry if possible!
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Did I miss something? I’d love to hear your input!

For more posts all about pregnancy, be sure to visit the pregnancy page for advice on each trimester, labor and delivery, and much, much more!

Looking for morning sickness remedies that actually work? Just hoping to find some relief for your pregnancy? Whether you are sick for just the first trimester or the entire pregnancy, this post has everything you need to know about surviving morning sickness.

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43 Comments

  • Great information! I also had morning sickness throughout my whole pregnancy...the worst was in the evening, so luckily I could just go to bed! I used the bracelets when I was at work and they helped take the edge off. I will be pinning this for my next pregnancy!
    • I really need to try the bracelets next time around. My sister recently told me about them I definitely think they are worth trying. I'm so sorry you were sick your entire pregnancy too...No one understands it unless they go through it!
  • I'm currently 15 wks pregnant, and still experiencing nausea & some vomiting. It has definitely improved, but there nonetheless. I very much agree with your post -- it really is all the small things that accumulate, and you have to control for each thing. I find that salty foods help me, and sweets make it all worse. The cold winter air is very soothing, so I like to take my dog for walks a lot. Further, I cannot let my stomach be totally empty, so lots of crackers. Concerning the B6 and Unisom, I used this combo for many weeks. When I slacked off, the morning sickness would be much worse. My OB recommended that I take 25 mg of B6 3-4 times per day, and take 1/2 unisom pill at night. I believe this is the recommendation by ACOG (american college of ob and gyn). I also took Zofran for a few weeks, when my vomiting was unbearable. However, the constipation was soooo bad, I decided it was better to vomit some days. I have found that if I can calm the nausea in the morning, or calm the sour stomach feeling as soon as possible, then I have a much better chance of holding off an all-day affair of vomiting/sickness.
    • Thank you so much for your comment! All great tips, and thank you for the B6 and Unisom dosages (I should have been better about using that.) I sure hope you start feeling better soon! And I agree -- taking control in the morning made it easier to be less sick throughout the rest of the day!
  • You always write such thorough posts on pregnancy! Seriously! Unfortunately, (but really fortunately) I can't relate to this post. I never had morning sickness! I didn't feel great in the evenings with the twins, but I've yet to throw up while pregnant.
    • Thank you :) I love writing about pregnancy (which is funny, since I hated being pregnant...haha!) And I would definitely say that you fortunately can't relate to this...I wouldn't wish being sick during pregnancy on my worst enemy (okay...maybe my worst enemy...;-)
  • Acupuncture helps too. I was so sick and I had heard that this does help with nausea. I finally went and I've been going once a week and it has helped SO much. And helps me to sleep like a rock.
  • Lots of good advice here...except maybe the Gatorade. My doctor says nobody should ever drink Gatorade (or similar drinks--not picking on that brand in particular) because of the artificial coloring and other additives. Instead, just mix sugar and salt into water or herbal tea. I like this homemade electrolyte replenisher. That said, if a pregnant woman loves the taste of Gatorade and feels really good drinking it, I think that's the thing to do--stick with what stays down, even if it's not the healthiest! Here's my advice for pregnancy nausea--some overlap with yours but also some tips you may not have tried. I'm at 28 weeks now and very grateful that the queasy phase is over--I'm still bothered by food aftertastes sometimes, but that's easily resolved with toothbrushing or gum.
    • I loved your tips for pregnancy nausea -- thank you so much for sharing them! And I do agree with you on Gatorade -- I probably wouldn't drink it unless it was the only thing I could keep down. I never drank it during pregnancy (or now, because I'm very careful about putting artificial sugars and additives in my diet), but I love that homemade electrolyte replenisher. Thank you for sharing!
  • Great tips! Unfortunately, none of them have ever worked for me. I'm 37 weeks right and still sick to the point where I've gone home from work because I just could not stop vomiting! I have literally tried everything, including multiple different prescription medications. I guess I'm just one of the unlucky ones haha! 
    • Oh man! I'm so sorry! If it makes you feel better, you'll feel a million times better once the baby is born. Hoping the next few weeks go fast!
  • This is such a great post! I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum with both of my pregnancies. I ended up in the hospital multiple times. I ended up losing 20-25 lbs. with both of my kiddos. Pregnancy and me do not mix. So happy I was able to be pregnant though. Love my babies more than anything!
    • Thank you! I'm so sorry to hear that though -- that must have been so hard. The babies sure are worth all the suffering though, aren't they? :)
  • I threw up from start to finish with first pregnancy (twice on the delivery table), was hospitalized 5 different times for dehydration. With the second it was starting worse -hospital 3 times in the first 8 weeks. By 5 months, I had lost 20 pounds. Finally they just sent me home with a PIC line and IV equipment and we did and IV every other day for months on end. Near the half way point in this pregancy, I saw a chiropractor who had been trained as an MD in South Africa where they are trained very differently. They get the whole gamit from naturopathy, chiropractic, and western medicine. He is the first doctor to explain why some women throw up and others do not. Since all pregnant women have the same hormones, it is not the hormone. Simply put, when the liver is filtering for two (or more) if it becomes over taxed, the fastest way to get rid of excess toxins is to dump the contents into the stomach and eject them. Apparently, this is commonly taught in South African medical schools. He suggested a few simple changes that made the rest of my pregnancy almost normal. Fruit only in the mornings. This starts your digestion to cleanse. If fruit is hard to handle, go for tart fruits, granny smith apples, strawberries, etc. And if they are to much try them frozen. Worked wonders for me. Secondly, watch what you combine. Some combinations are just harder to digest. Fruit alone and never closer than 30 minutes to and hour between fruit and other foods. Veggies with meat is fine. Veggies with carbohydrates is fine but not meat with carbohydrates. And it is best to have your lunch as veggies and carbohydrates, and dinner as meat and veggies. A couple of things I found on my own, lemon aid was easiest liquid to keep down and peppermint gum just as soon as you finish a meal to cut the odd taste the hormones left in my saliva. The last third of my pregnancy was so great when I put this into place. I was still sick if I didn't eat this way. But when I did, I had almost no vomiting and tolerably little nausea. Hope that helps.
    • Wow! This was so helpful. Thank you! Next time around if I have morning sickness, I'm going to try these things. Thanks for taking the time to type this out :)
  • The thought and actual chore of brushing my teeth made me sooooo sick. My doctor said to use plain old Aquafresh. It helped so much and I could actually brush without throwing up.
    • I was totally the same way. I'll have to remember Aquafresh next time. I guess it probably didn't help that my gums were bleeding every time I brushed while I was pregnant too -- definitely didn't help me feel less nauseous!
  • Enjoyed reading your post, raw ginger helped me for about 10 mins than it came back, so kept sucking on it. Always felt sick going into my local supermarket as their fish counter was at the entrance. Thought it was disgusting the smell, kept saying no way would I buy fish from that counter as it stinks. Never thought that I had an increased sense of smell. Television when the camera goes round and round someone in a scene, I had to look away as it made me feel sick. Thanks for a great post, not pregnant any more, found family not very sympathetic to morning sickness, pregnancy is not an illness, so don't make it one, so tried not to tell anyone when i felt ill. Luckily it past in the first stages, and felt great right thru pregnancy. Cheryl x
    • I'm so sorry your family wasn't very sympathetic! Pregnancy may not be an illness, but some of the side effects are! I'm glad you were able to have the sickness part pass without having it your whole pregnancy!
  • The first trimester was only slightly worse than the second. My nausea and vomiting were like clockwork: first, in the shower; second, when I tried to eat tea and toast; third, when on the way to work I smelled a paper mill and had to pull over. A friend at work brought me a piece of baked chicken breast (just add a boullion cube and a little water and place chicken breast on top and bake)... and green grapes. I LIVED on that until my beautiful Melissa was born.
    • Ugh, I feel for you! That sounds like a great friend who brought you something that didn't make you ill. It's all worth it, though, isn't it :)
  • I'm the mom of 5 and had "morning" sickness week 5-20 every single time, without fail. I have found that the severity of sickness corresponds directly to the baby's blood type and sex. I'm A- and my husband is A+, my most severe sickness was with my A+ son and my least sickness was with my A- daughter. After the first two, I've been able to tell the sex of the baby by how sick I was. On a side note, Zofran was intended for chemo patients to keep down their foods during treatment. It was intended to stop the vomiting only and (in my experience) does not help at all with the nausea.
    • That is so interesting! I've only had one baby, so I can't really put it to test, but I could see how that could definitely make sense! And that's what I thought about Zofran, so I'm always confused when people tell me they are taking it for nausea!
  • A little trick that I figured out worked for me when I was pregnant with Roman- I was sick for the last half of my first trimester and the first half of my second- it made me cringe at first but, lemon water! It was an old trick my grandmother told me about for just minor morning sickness like I had. Just take a water bottle cut up a quarter or a half of a lemon(depending on what your stomach could handle) and fill the bottle with water and let it sit in the fridge over night to infuse it. Worked like a charm while I was in classes. Pregnancy and late college don't mix very well in the beginning.
    • I've been using lemon a lot with water with my pregnancy right now. The thought of just drinking plain water makes me gag!
  • Reading stuff like this makes me glad I'm not alone in this lol... I love the meme at the beginning because I want to yell at everyone who tells me to try ginger and crackers... I'm like, trust me, if they worked for me, I wouldn't have been in IV twice in the last 3 weeks. Hoping you're feeling better these days!
    • Thanks Mattea! I'm always glad when people read this who need someone to relate to :) Fortunately with baby #2 right now, the morning sickness started wearing off around 23 weeks (I'm 25 now.) And seriously - I think when you are suffering from morning sickness, you really do try everything!!
  • I'm 20 weeks right now. So excited about our first child. Went through the whole first trimester no sickness, lots of energy, but the first two weeks of my second trimester I threw up everything I put in my mouth. It didn't matter what it was. I ended up losing about 25 lbs since I've been pregnant. Doctor gave me zofram, works well but I'm careful about how often I take it. Saw a lot of suggestion about lemons. The one thing I throw up every time no matter what is lemon. Lemonaid, lemon candy, hell some of my prenatals were lemon flavored I threw them up too. But we're gonna make it through and I know it will all be worth it. Gonna work my way through the rest of your suggestions though. Thanks!!
    • I hope that you are feeling better and that baby arrives soon! That's interesting about lemon and how it made you so sick! I guess your baby just doesn't like that flavor :) I hope some of these other tips helped a little bit!!
  • I literally have the same exact "morning" sickness as you and get sick at the same exact times and can't handle the same exact smells and tastes! So funny. Not really, but. Literally no one has came close to comparable with my experience until now haha. I never thought about getting the lemon drops and I keep forgetting to grab the preggie pops so I will definitely try those! Thanks so much:)
    • Haha, it is funny (in a sad sort of way!) I'm sorry that you've had to go through all that - I definitely feel free you. Fortunately it does end eventually and you'll have a sweet baby instead :) I hope it gets a little bit easier for you!
  • Please do your research before using essential oils. Oregano oil should not be used during pregnancy as it promotes menstration. Several other oils have similar properties and cause miscarriage. Be safe
    • THanks for the tip - I had seen that suggestion on several websites, which is why I put it. HOwever, I do not use essential oils myself. They make me sick (I have a whole post about it.) I'll definitely look into that though and remove it if I find that information to be correct. I appreciate it though so I can make sure my information is as up to date as possible!
  • I also found that my food sensitivities got way worse during this pregnancy. It took 4+ months but I realized anything with citrus did me in. Oranges, strawberries, apples... even citric acid which is in things that are even supposed to help (obviously they didn't). Sugar was also a trigger too. Thus an elimination could help to figure stuff out if anyone struggles as I did/do!!
  • With my first child and I also had morning sickness morning, noon and night. I had to call in sick a couple of times because I felt like it was so unbearable. Unlike you, I was throwing up all day. All I could suggest is to drink No to morning sickness tea to ease your belly. It was the only remedy worked for my sickness.
    • Thanks for the tip! I actually did throw up all throughout the day - I'm not sure where I gave off the impression otherwise :-) Glad you found something that worked.

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