The 15 Best Foods for Morning Sickness and Nausea
Wondering what you can possibly stomach when you're suffering from queasiness in early pregnancy? We rounded up the best foods to eat when nauseous—plus what to eat after throwing up—so you can show morning sickness who's boss.
There's no question morning sickness stinks, but scientists aren't entirely sure why it happens. It seems that pregnancy trips the part of the brain that controls vomiting, which leads to nausea. The quease may also be linked to increases in some hormones (such as estrogen) and your heightened sense of smell—Mother Nature's way of protecting your baby. "Your body uses odors to assess safety," explains Miriam Erick, M.S., R.D.N., author of Managing Morning Sickness. "Sensing rotten food saves you from eating something bad." But that sensitive nose can make perfectly safe meals a no-go as well. Here, we rounded up the best foods to eat when nauseous or throwing up in pregnancy.
Stash a box of crackers in your bedside table and nibble a few as soon as you wake, since eating early in the day can help stave off morning sickness. "An empty stomach ups nausea," Erick explains. And not every cracker is alike—"the saltier, the better," she adds. Saltines will never taste so good — and after pregnancy, you'll wonder why they were so appealing.
If you’re suffering from morning sickness, keep lemons on hand. Sniff them, squeeze them in drinking water, or even lick slices—the refreshing smell and taste can calm your stomach when nausea hits. Lemon drops can help, too, so stash some in your bag before leaving the house.
A root commonly used in Chinese medicine, ginger is one of the best foods to eat when nauseous. Try ginger teas and sodas, ginger-infused ice pops, crystallized ginger candy, or ginger snaps. Better yet, add some fresh ginger into your recipes.
To combat nausea, try reaching for cold foods. Hot bites are more likely to have an aroma that triggers your gag reflex. Some yummy options include sorbet, yogurt, popsicles, chilled fruits, or ice cream.
Studies have shown that B6 can reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. The vitamin is found in pork, chicken, some fish, fortified cereals, nuts, chickpeas, fortified tofu, turkey, bananas, potatoes, plenty of vegetables, and more. Talk to your doctor before taking any B6 supplements.
Research shows that protein-rich foods—like beef, poultry, fish and eggs—can keep nausea at bay while replenishing your energy. And don’t worry if you have an aversion to meat while pregnant; you can find natural sources of protein like nuts, beans, and Greek yogurt.
Most people can stomach a banana when fighting morning sickness. The nausea-reducing fruit also provides nutrients and potassium to refuel your pregnant body.
Pretzels and Chips
Pretzels and plain potato chips can help settle your stomach. Why? Because they’re bland, salty, non-acidic, easy to digest, and require minimal effort from your gastrointestinal system.
Toast (And Other Dry Foods)
Many pregnant women also swear by toast, bagels, rice, potatoes, and other dry foods. These carb-heavy items don’t have an overwhelming flavor, so they’re less likely to trigger morning sickness. The starch can also absorb stomach acids to relieve a raunchy tummy.
Cereal usually doesn’t have a nausea-triggering smell or taste. Choose one that’s fortified with minerals and vitamins for some added nutrition, and avoid cereals that are jam-packed with added sugars.
Some experts recommend eating unsweetened applesauce when nauseous or after throwing up. If you don’t want to buy applesauce, try making your own at home (check out our recipe for peels-on instant pot applesauce here!)
Anecdotal evidence shows that peppermint might treat morning sickness symptoms. Opt for peppermint-flavored tea if you’re relaxing at home, and stock up on peppermint hard candies for on-the-go relief.
Staying hydrated is key to settling your stomach and rehydrating your body after throwing up. And while water is always a great choice, pregnancy-safe herbal teas (like red raspberry, lemon, spearmint, peppermint, peach, or chamomile) can provide some added nausea-relieving benefits. Take small sips so you don’t set off the nausea.
Not only does broth go down easily, it also contains electrolytes to prevent dehydration—a common side effect of throwing up.
Thanks to its high water content, watermelon can also fight dehydration if you’re throwing up. Not in the mood to eat? Try drinking a refreshing glass of watermelon juice instead!