How moms-to-be can handle morning sickness

This article has been updated with information from JAMA October 4, 2016

Treatments for Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy


Morning sickness– 70% of pregnant women experience it.

 Still, we don’t understand a lot about it.


A review in the Clinical Evidence Handbook, published by the BMJ Publishing Group and reported in American Family Physician (Volume 92, Number 6) summarizes what doctors know about this baffling condition.

  • Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy doesn’t just happen in the morning, but can occur all through the day.
  • It typically begins at 4-7 weeks’ gestation and stops by 16 weeks.
  • The cause is unknown, but may be related to increased levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, HCG.  Pregnancy tests are based on measuring urine or blood levels of HCG.
  • About 1 in 200, or less than 1% of pregnant women develop severe nausea and vomiting called hyperemesis gravidarum. This can lead to dehydration and weight loss, and may require treatment in a hospital.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (aka Princess Kate of England) suffered severe nausea and vomiting with her first pregnancy.

Women who experience pregnancy related nausea and vomiting look for relief. Since it is difficult to study drugs in pregnant women due to risk to the baby, few treatments are proven to work or not. But here is what we know from limited information.

Likely to be beneficial are  acupressure , ginger and pyridoxine (vitamin B6), all available without prescription.

Prescription meds shown to help are the anti-nausea drugs metoclopramide, prochlorperazine,  promethazine, ondansetron and hydroxyzine.

Most women can manage nausea by

eating small meals of bland foods, 

avoiding spicy foods, and

 avoiding strong or offensive odors.


Nausea of pregnancy is uncomfortable, inconvenient and sometimes dangerous. Anticipating the joy of holding your new baby helps make it bearable. And speaking of holding babies…

Dr. Aletha and grandbaby
Here I am holding my first grandchild




man with baby
My husband holding our second grandchild










Here are some affiliate links to books about pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood you may find helpful.

(Affiliate links provide a commission to this blog at no extra cost to you; thank you)

Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

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