15 Tips for Dealing With Morning Sickness

Got some first-trimester nausea? If you're looking for morning sickness relief, check out these smart tips that'll help banish the queasiness with minimal effort.

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01 of 17

How to Help Morning Sickness

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Pregnancy can be an amazing ride, but the morning sickness that often accompanies it isn't so great. According to Marjorie Greenfield, M.D., an OB-GYN and author of The Working Woman's Pregnancy Book, approximately 70% of people experience nausea early in pregnancy, and about 50% experience vomiting.

"It's very, very common, but it's also incredibly varied," Dr. Greenfield says. "Lots of people are sick all day, some are sick mostly in the evening, and others are sick if they haven't gotten enough sleep."

So when do you get morning sickness? According to Dr. Greenfield, pregnancy nausea can start as early as six weeks and tends to peak around the eighth and ninth weeks.

If you're tired of feeling queasy, read on to learn 15 tips for how to stop morning sickness. (And take heart: Many people find pregnancy nausea tapers off or disappears after 12 to 14 weeks.)

02 of 17

Take a Break

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Are you having one of those mornings when the thought of dragging yourself out of bed only compounds the nausea? Unfortunately, it's not always possible to take a sick day or give yourself a break, but if you can, do it.

Some employers require a doctor's note for a sick day, so make sure you call your health care provider before taking off so they can provide the appropriate documentation. Your body's working overtime on growing that baby—you deserve it.

Even better, Dr. Greenfield suggests scheduling a "vacation" during your seventh or eighth week of pregnancy, when morning sickness generally starts to peak. In either case, you won't have to divulge your pregnancy news to your co-workers before you're ready, and the time off will help you recoup physically and mentally.

03 of 17

Sniff a Fresh Scent

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Certain scents will turn your tummy, whether it's the less-than-pleasant whiff of the garbage can or the smell of your co-worker's perfume in a crowded elevator.

"Morning sickness is often smell-associated," says Miriam Erick, M.S., R.D., a senior dietician and nutritionist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and author of Managing Morning Sickness: A Survival Guide for Pregnant Women. "Ugly smells, smells you can't get away from, and potent smells will make you nauseous," says Erick.

While there is no research-backed evidence of a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy, there are a lot of anecdotal reports. Some hypothesize that pregnancy hormones may play a role.

Try sniffing fresh scents when you can't open a window or walk away. Carry a bottle of lemon extract or a sprig of fresh rosemary in your bag, and stealthily sneak a sniff when needed. "I call it the scent between you and the rest of the world," says Erick.

04 of 17

Speak Up

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You may be all about self-sufficiency and powering through your pregnancy, but being vocal about what you're experiencing can help alleviate morning sickness misery.

For example, your partner might not know that their scented soap makes you queasy or that kissing you—post pizza dinner, without brushing their teeth first—gets your gag reflex going. So tell them, and let them know what little changes they can make to help you feel better.

05 of 17

Track Your Nausea

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Your pregnancy nausea may seem to come and go, but by tuning into your body and surroundings, you might find the queasiness isn't so random.

For example, if you find yourself getting nauseated at the same time every evening, says Erick, it may be from the smells of your neighbors' cooking.

Queasy at 3 p.m.? A co-worker's afternoon popcorn habit could be the culprit. Once you've identified morning sickness triggers, you can take steps to avoid them or counteract them whenever possible.

06 of 17

Stay Hydrated

Close-Up Of Water Bottle On Car Seat
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It sounds like a no-brainer, but staying hydrated can feel like a monumental effort when your stomach won't keep anything down. But it's essential to get enough liquids because the more dehydrated you become, the more nauseated you'll become, says Dr. Greenfield.

Try different ways of tricking your body into accepting fluids. For example, Erick has found that for some people, salty snacks like potato chips and cheese curls "settle their stomachs and trigger their thirst."

Others swear by popsicles, cold liquids, or piping hot beverages. "Temperature makes a difference," Erick says. "If a beverage is a tepid middle temperature, it sometimes makes people gag."

07 of 17

Find Foods That Work for You

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Don't feel like eating? You still need to get food in your stomach—it's just a matter of figuring out what goes down easiest (and stays down). Heidi Murkoff, co-author of What to Expect When You're Expecting, says that every person and queasy tummy is different. "What spells relief to one may spell P-U-K-E to another."

Though there's no hard-and-fast rule about the best foods for morning sickness, many people find it easier to keep certain items down. Bland, carb-rich snacks like crackers, dry cereal, and pretzels have seen many people through morning sickness, as have ice-cold treats like popsicles and watermelon straight from the refrigerator.

Fatty and spicy foods may upset your stomach, but if you find that they work for you, by all means, go ahead and eat them!

08 of 17

Eat a Little—and Then a Little More

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Many find that grazing all day settles their stomach. "I call it the Six Meal Solution," says Murkoff. "When your tummy is empty, the stomach acids have nothing to feast on but your stomach lining, compounding nausea.

On the other hand, eating too much can overtax the digestive system, also leading to quease. Keeping your tummy a little bit full all day and all night is the best defense against morning sickness."

Murkoff suggests keeping a snack stash (crackers, pretzels, dried fruit, nuts, or whatever you can keep down) nearby at all times. Nibbling a little before you get out of bed in the morning can stave off nausea, and a light bedtime snack will stabilize your blood sugar throughout the night.

09 of 17

Get Creative With Ginger

Glass of Ginger Ale Soda and Ginger Root on Wood

Ginger has long been touted as a stomach soother, and studies have shown that it may help morning sickness. A 2014 meta-analysis found that using ginger for at least four days was associated with a five-fold likelihood of improvement in early pregnancy nausea and vomiting.

Try adding a thin slice of ginger to hot water or sipping flat ginger ale (the kind with real ginger). If that doesn't sound appetizing, try sipping on some ginger tea, sucking on a ginger lollipop or lozenge, or snacking on a handful of crystallized ginger candy, gingersnaps, or even gingerbread. Erick suggests microwaving ginger jam and pouring it over vanilla ice cream. Yum!

10 of 17

Adjust Your Screens

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You may think surfing the web or scrolling your social feeds will distract you from morning sickness, but your device's bright screen and undetectable strobe effect may make you more nauseated.

To combat this effect, Erick suggests adjusting your screen to reduce eye strain. For example, make the font size bold and larger, and change the background to a soft pink or tan.

Erick also recommends taking short breaks from the computer, tablet, or phone by getting up to do something else or simply closing your eyes.

11 of 17

Distract Yourself

Woman Running Exercise
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First-trimester nausea isn't easy to ignore, but finding something to take your mind off it may help. For example, read a book, do a Sudoku puzzle, or go for a short walk.

Some people even claim that exercise relieves their nausea, so feel free to exercise if it feels good to you. And of course, listen to your body—if you start feeling tired or queasy, it's time to stop.

12 of 17

Carry a Survival Kit

Toothpaste
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No matter how many times it happens, puking in public isn't something you ever get used to. So to make the sticky situation bearable, don't leave home without stocking your bag with a few morning sickness must-haves.

Dr. Greenfield suggests packing a clean shirt and a toothbrush, toothpaste, or bottle of mouthwash to help you freshen up. Breath mints are a smart move, too.

It's also a good idea to carry a plastic (barf) bag for those dreaded can't-hold-it-until-I-reach-a-bathroom moments, plus a snack stash of crackers or pretzels that you can munch when your stomach starts to feel empty or upset.

13 of 17

Consider Taking Medication

Woman with folic acid medicine
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If you're having difficulty keeping anything down, it's time to see a doctor. According to Robert Atlas, M.D., an OB-GYN and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, a combination of vitamin B6 and the sleep aid Unisom (doxylamine succinate) has been proven to alleviate morning sickness symptoms for some.

If that doesn't work, a combination of stronger prescription medications, such as an acid reflux blocker and antiemetic, may also bring relief.

Of course, before taking any medication, check with a health care provider. For severe sickness (called hyperemesis gravidarum), you may want to explore prescription medications like Compazine (prochlorperazine), meclizine, Zofran (ondansetron), Reglan (metoclopramide), and Phenergan (promethazine).

Once you get the go-ahead, don't worry about the meds harming your baby—the relief they provide will benefit you both. "It's important not to let morning sickness go too far in the interest of avoiding medication at all costs because the dehydration, calorie deprivation, and starvation state is really unhealthy for the baby," says Dr. Greenfield.

14 of 17

Be Open to the Unusual

Woman in White Tank Top with Morning Sickness Leaning on Toilet
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Sometimes the weirdest remedies work, so pay attention to your body and follow the morning sickness relief tactics that make you feel better—no matter how strange they may seem.

For example, Betsy Stephens, a mom from West Orange, New Jersey, calls bubble gum-flavored Barbie toothpaste her morning sickness "saving grace."

"The taste of actual toothpaste put me over the edge first thing in the morning," Stephens says, "but Barbie made it possible for me to brush my teeth without yakking."

Monica Florville, a mom from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, says that Coca-Cola—cold or warm—was the only thing that got her through her nausea.

15 of 17

Wear an Acupressure Wristband

Sea-Band Anti-Nausea Acupressure Wristband
Sea-Band

Remember those sea sickness wristbands you wore on that Caribbean cruise? Dig them out and strap them on. Acupressure wristbands apply light pressure to a spot located inside the wrist believed to be related to nausea and vomiting—whether induced by motion or morning sickness. Who knows? It might just make you feel a bit better.

Though Dr. Atlas cautions that such holistic remedies have been tested with mixed results, some do find relief in them. Jennifer Rickert, a mom from Columbus, Nebraska, says acupressure bands helped relieve some of her all-day nausea, though "they made my wrist ache...so maybe it was just taking my mind off the nausea."

And on the upside, according to Dr. Atlas, acupressure and acupuncture don't pose any risk to your baby, so press and poke away.

16 of 17

Lie Down

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Sometimes the best solution is the simplest. Try lying down, closing your eyes, taking a few deep breaths, and just getting some rest. Many people attest that sleep is a great way to escape morning sickness—and your body needs it!

If you already have young children, if possible, bring in a babysitter (or a family member or friend), so you can catch up on some much-needed snoozing. Having trouble catching those z's? Try wearing a sleep mask or putting on a pair of dark sunglasses to block out bright light.

17 of 17

14 Ways to Ease That Morning Sickness Quease

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