Morning Sickness Remedies and Relief
Find these tried-and-true home food remedies for morning sickness plus easy recipe ideas.
Coping with morning sickness symptoms such as nausea and vomiting can be daunting for expecting mothers. By stocking the best food remedies for pregnancy nausea, learning how to get rid of morning sickness is possible. Morning sickness typically occurs during the first trimester and affects between 70% and 80% of moms-to-be. While completely normal, pregnancy sickness can cause discomfort. Take Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, whose recent hospitalization from a severe morning sickness condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) made news headlines. While most expecting mothers won’t experience morning sickness symptoms to the degree that Kate has, her experience is a reminder that eating the right anti-nausea foods can help relieve symptoms that disrupt your daily routine. Below, find out how to stop morning sickness using natural home remedies and delicious recipes for relief in no time.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms. While the exact reason for morning sickness is not known, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that it’s likely due to changing levels of hormones in the body. During this time, you may find that certain smells and tastes are utterly abhorrent, while others are irresistibly inviting. Morning sickness does not harm a developing baby, and despite unpleasant symptoms, is considered a perfectly healthy part of pregnancy.
While technically called “morning sickness,” pregnancy nausea can occur at any time during the day. The most common morning sickness symptoms are nausea and vomiting, and for most women are mild to moderate. If symptoms include continuous nausea or excessive vomiting that causes loss of fluids, consult a doctor immediately. Severe morning sickness that includes dehydration and weight loss could be due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a condition that affects about 3% of pregnant women. Women afflicted by HG often require treatment or even hospitalization. If you’ve had HG with previous pregnancies, you’re likely to experience it with future ones.
How Long Does Morning Sickness Last?
A common question on a newly pregnant woman’s mind is “When does morning sickness start?” According to ACOG, morning sickness typically starts in the first trimester before nine weeks of pregnancy. The duration of morning sickness varies, but most women report that it typically ends by the second trimester or 14 weeks of pregnancy. Some women may feel mild discomfort for a short time during the day, while others may experience prolonged or frequent nausea that leads to vomiting several times. Some women may not experience morning sickness symptoms at all.
Morning Sickness Remedies
Pregnancy sickness such as nausea can put a serious dent in your daily productivity, whether at the workplace or at home. Fortunately, there are several morning sickness remedies that can provide relief. The below morning sickness cures include natural home remedies that provide simple and effective relief without relying on over-the-counter medications. With each food, we provide simple recipes so you can easily work morning sickness remedies into your diet.
As one of the oldest anti-nausea treatments, ginger is widely recognized and well-researched remedy for morning sickness during pregnancy. A 2016 study by Integrative Medicine Insights, which administered ginger in syrup, capsule, and powder form to participants, proved ginger as a safe and effective remedy to treat pregnancy nausea. Incorporate ginger in a variety of forms into your diet, whether it’s steeping the root in hot beverages or dicing it for salads. Sucking on ginger hard candy such as Gin-Gins Chewy Ginger Candy may also provide relief.
- Ginger Lime Fruit Salad: This crisp, ultra-refreshing fruit salad is a perfect match for waffles, pancakes, or as a pairing for whole wheat crackers and chicken salad. Feel free to swap in any seasonal fruit.
- Easy Ginger Spritzer: You can make the ginger syrup ahead of time and keep it refrigerated. As soon as you feel a wave of nausea, combine the syrup with fresh sparkling water for an instant refresher.
- Tangy Ginger Dressing: Dress up nutrient-packed leafy greens such as kale and spinach with this salty-sweet, zesty vinaigrette.
2. Morning Sickness Tea
Herbal teas, which are naturally caffeine-free, steeped with ginger, peppermint, or lemon are known remedies for getting rid of morning sickness. You can purchase herbal teas online or make your own at home by infusing hot water. Add a small amount of honey to fresh ginger or lemon juice to sweeten your tea without added sugars.
- Tea with Ginger-Citrus Ice Cubes: Omit Earl Grey tea, which contains caffeine, and use ginger herbal tea instead (you’ll love the added gingery kick). You can also make and freeze the ice cubes for later and add them to cold or hot water for instant flavor.
- Hot Mint and Lemon Drink: Steep lemon rind and mint leaves in boiling water to coax flavor, then sip this simple, warming beverage to calm your tummy (and your stress levels). If you experience morning sickness often, keep this simple recipe close.
3. Icy Treats and Frozen Drinks
From popsicles to shaved ice to smoothies, cold treats are naturally refreshing, thirst-quenching, and easy to slurp down when dealing with nausea or an upset stomach. Opt for low-sugar popsicles or smoothies made with fresh fruit to get the most bang for your buck nutritionally. Fruit is full of energy-rich, revitalizing fiber that can provide much needed energy during pregnancy while also promoting a healthy gut.
- Minted Watermelon and Lemon Ice Pops: These tangy-sweet fruit and ice pops cut down on added sugar by using fresh lemon and orange juices.
- Berry and Banana Smoothies: Blending fiber-rich fruit with gut-friendly Greek yogurt makes for a highly nutritious, easily-digestible treat. Try it for breakfast or as a midday snack.
4. Vitamin B6
While this essential vitamin is typically found in prenatal multivitamins, many women find that it can provide morning sickness relief. Vitamin B6-rich foods include fruits such as bananas and papayas, beans and legumes such lentils and chickpeas, lean proteins such as chicken and fish, pistachios, and sunflower seeds. Combat morning sickness by packing these foods into your diet.
- Easy Sesame-Hoisin Salmon: With about 1 mg per 6-ounce serving, salmon is a powerhouse source of vitamin B6. The tangy marinade has another bonus to combat morning sickness symptoms—grated ginger.
- Chocolate-Tahini Banana Bread: One medium banana supplies about 0.4 mg of B6. This recipe uses three, plus a generous topping of B6-rich sesame seeds. Enjoy this comforting quick bread as a snack or after-dinner indulgence.
5. BRAT Diet Foods
The BRAT diet—an acronym for Bread, Rice, Applesauce and Toast—is commonly recommended by doctors after a stomach virus or bout of food poisoning. Saltines and plain pasta are also safe bets. While these simple carbohydrates are bland and easy on the stomach, keep in mind that they may lack essential nutrients that are key during pregnancy. To pack more nutrition into plain toast, try topping it with smashed avocado or fresh strawberries and Nutella.
- The Perfect Avocado Toast: Toast is easy on an upset stomach, but the real winner of this recipe is the avocado. This creamy fruit packs Vitamin B6, which has been shown to help ease the effects of morning sickness when consumed in higher amounts.
- Homemade Applesauce: Avoid store bought applesauce, which can contain high fructose corn syrup, and make the real deal from scratch. You can also dress our recipe up with ground cinnamon or a drizzle of honey.
Additional Morning Sickness Ideas
Below, learn how to stop morning sickness using these additional methods.
It doesn't have to be vigorous physical activity, but simply getting outside, breathing fresh air, and going for a walk around the block can help relieve nausea. Whether it’s after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, moving instead of sitting or lying down will help promote efficient digestion.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water with each meal isn’t enough—make sure to hydrate all throughout the day. If you’re tired of plain water, try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime. If you experience vomiting from morning sickness, consider a sport drink to replace lost electrolytes such as sodium and potassium.
3. Eat Small, Frequent Meals
Overeating can encourage nausea and an upset stomach, so instead of eating a large meal once or twice a day, break up your routine. Try not to let yourself get too hungry, either—eat a small snack before bed to ensure you’re not sleeping on an empty stomach. Additionally, taking care to eat each meal slowly will help prevent nausea after eating. Making smart food choices, such as avoiding fried or spicy foods, will ensure you’re doing all you can to combat morning sickness.
4. Try Medication
If home food remedies fail to provide morning sickness relief, some women may take over-the-counter or prescription drugs to treat their symptoms. A 2016 study in the Journal of the American Medicine Association (JAMA) associated antihistamines and an anti-nausea drug called metoclopramide (typically found under the brand name Reglan) with mild morning sickness relief but asserted that additional research is likely needed. If you decide to take a medication, be sure to consult your doctor first.
5. Take Vitamin B6 Supplements
The JAMA study also associated Vitamin B6 supplements with morning sickness relief, specifically in the reduction of nausea. ACOG also recommends B6 supplements as a safe over-the-counter treatment for morning sickness. For more severe cases, doctors may pair B6 with an antihistamine called doxylamine. Talk to your doctor to determine how much Vitamin B6 is right for you.
“Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Morning-Sickness-Nausea-and-Vomiting-of-Pregnancy
“Morning Sickness Relief: Treatment and Supplements.” American Pregnancy Association http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/morning-sickness-relief/
Duyff MS, RDN, FAND, CFCS, Roberta L. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food & Nutrition Guide, Revised & Updated 5th Edition. New York: Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2017. Print