Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is common as up to 85% of pregnant people experience it. Symptoms usually begin around weeks 6-8, peaking around week 9 and Subsiding before 20 weeks. A more severe condition, Hyperemesis gravidarum, can last throughout your entire pregnancy.
We don’t exactly know why this condition happens, but but it’s thought to be due to rising estrogen and HcG levels. Other factors that can affect it are: an empty stomach, low blood sugar, strong smells, nutritional deficiencies, lack of sleep and even stress!
For most, the nausea and vomiting will eventually go away, but in the meantime it’s important to address because it can impact your quality of life.
Treatments for Morning Sickness
The common medication you might be offered is called Diclectin (doxylamine/pyridoxine). This medication comes with its controversies however, and its side effects include diarrhea, disorientation, epigastric pain, insomnia, headache, and palpitations.
Did you know that a study put out in 2016 listed ginger, acupuncture/acupressure, and Vitamin B6 as first line treatments for nausea and vomiting?
Ginger has been compared against placebo in multiple studies, and showed a significant anti-nausea effect, as well as a decrease in vomiting. Some studies have shown ginger to be more effective than vitamin B6 at reducing nausea. When compared to doxylamine/pyridoxine, there was no significant difference between the two.
Compared to placebo, vitamin B6 had a greater anti-nausea effect, with no difference in vomiting. While in another study compared to ginger, Vitamin B6 had a greater anti-vomiting effect. Over a longer period of treatment, vitamin B6 was shown to be more effective than ginger.
Acupuncture, as well as acupressure, has been shown to reduce symptoms of nausea and vomiting. One study demonstrated that women receiving weekly acupuncture treatments, experienced less nausea after 3 weeks compared to sham and no acupuncture.
Other things you can do is avoid foods and smells that nauseate you, get plenty of rest, go for walks and if you can keep some food down make sure you’re getting in some protein and complex carbs. Because dehydration is an issue, be sure to carry around water or tea!
Interestingly enough, a recent study has shown that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy were associated with a reduction in the risk of pregnancy loss. Suggesting nausea and vomiting is actually protective. And while that’s good news – feeling as well as you can in the first few weeks is key. If you’re looking to use a natural product and avoid side effects, I would recommend working with a ND to ensure that you’re using a high quality supplement at an optimal dose.
If you have natural tips for dealing with morning sickness during pregnancy, be sure to post them below. And if you have any questions or are interested in learning how naturopathic medicine can help during pregnancy book an appointment!
Khorasani, F., Aryan, H., Sobhi, A., Aryan, R., Abavi-Sani, A., & Ghazanfarpour, M. et al. (2019). A systematic review of the efficacy of alternative medicine in the treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Journal Of Obstetrics And Gynaecology, 1-10. doi: 10.1080/01443615.2019.1587392
McParlin, C., O’Donnell, A., Robson, S., Beyer, F., Moloney, E., & Bryant, A. et al. (2016). Treatments for Hyperemesis Gravidarum and Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy. JAMA, 316(13), 1392. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.14337
Updated Oct. 2019