Ginger Capsules for Morning Sickness

Ginger supplements may help relieve nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Glass of Ginger Ale Soda and Ginger Root on Wood

Ginger has long been used as an anecdote for nausea and vomiting. And if you're experiencing morning sickness, research indicates this root plant could help.

However, if your nausea and vomiting are severe and persist long-term, you may have a serious condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, and weight loss—significant risks during pregnancy.

If you have severe morning sickness, you may need more than home remedies for nausea and vomiting. Hyperemesis gravidarum sometimes requires medical intervention, so talk to a health care provider if your morning sickness is severe.

Read on for information about the evidence supporting ginger for morning sickness and how to incorporate ginger into your diet.

The Evidence for Ginger for Morning Sickness

A 2013 BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies study found that as much as 28% of people used herbal remedies during pregnancy. Of the 134 different herbs people relied on, ginger was the most common, with nearly a quarter of participants reporting using it.

For decades, many studies have evaluated the effectiveness of ginger on nausea and vomiting. And there's good news if you're not feeling well enough to cook during pregnancy: A 2016 review of studies published in Integrative Medicine Insights looked specifically at ginger's effect on morning sickness and found that it has a lot of potential.

Specifically, the studies included in the review found that ginger was more effective than a placebo in reducing the intensity of nausea. And about half of the studies found that ginger was more effective at reducing the frequency of vomiting.

"It's encouraging to see scientific support for ginger as a treatment for nausea during pregnancy," says Melinda Johnson, M.S., R.D., clinical associate professor of nutrition in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University.

Safety of Ginger During Pregnancy

A 2018 Foods review found that in 15 studies when pregnant people took 1 gram of fresh ginger root per day for four days, there were no risks to the pregnant person or fetus.

On the other hand, a 2016 Canadian Family Physician review found that safety studies on people in the first and second trimesters had mixed safety results. The most extensive study included more than 68,000 participants and saw no increase in fetal malformations, stillbirth, or preterm birth. However, it did find that vaginal bleeding after 17 weeks increased.

A smaller study of 375 participants found no increase in fetal malformations, stillbirth, or miscarriage. However, this study found more small babies were born in the control group. Another study of a similar size found no differences in miscarriage, but there was an increase in stillbirths and major malformations.

Researchers concluded that based on limited clinical evidence, ginger might not be advisable in the following situations:

As with any medication or supplement, it's best to discuss using ginger for morning sickness with a health care provider.

How to Take Ginger for Morning Sickness

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests ginger to settle your stomach during pregnancy. They say the following are good ways to incorporate ginger into your diet:

  • Capsules
  • Candies
  • Ginger ale made from real ginger
  • Ginger tea made from freshly grated ginger

Other ginger-related snacks include ginger beer (a stronger form of ginger ale; it's nonalcoholic), gingerbread, ginger jam or marmalade, and ginger snap cookies.

Johnson suggests that people who may not feel well enough to cook or who don't like the taste of ginger take ginger supplements. She advises taking 75 milligrams to 2 g daily, in divided doses, for one to five days.

The Bottom Line

Ginger is an effective remedy for nausea and vomiting, including during pregnancy. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, studies suggest ginger is safe in pregnancy, but since the evidence is not conclusive, it's best to check with a health care provider first.

Don't despair if you don't like ginger. There are other foods that will help to ease your nausea. These include salty crackers, lemons, bananas, and more.

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