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Managing Morning Sickness: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

For many women, the toughest part of early pregnancy is morning sickness. Morning sickness can range from mild nausea to severe nausea with bouts of vomiting. Symptoms may be worse in the morning, although they can strike at any time of the day or night.

If you have nausea, vomiting, or both, look for safe measures that can bring you relief. You can take simple steps at home to manage morning sickness. These steps include changing what and when you eat and avoiding certain foods and smells. Some women find that acupuncture and acupressure wristbands also help.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Keep food in your stomach, but not too much at once. Your nausea may be worse if your stomach is empty. Eat five or six small meals a day instead of three large meals.
  • For morning nausea, eat a small snack, such as a couple of crackers or dry biscuits, before rising. Allow a few minutes for your stomach to settle before you get out of bed slowly.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink. Some women find that peppermint tea helps with nausea.
  • Eat more protein, such as chicken, fish, lean meat, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  • Eat carbohydrate foods, such as potatoes, whole-grain cereals, rice, and pasta.
  • Avoid smells and foods that make you feel nauseated. Spicy or high-fat foods, citrus juice, milk, coffee, and tea with caffeine often make nausea worse.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Do not smoke. Try not to be around others who smoke. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • If you are taking iron supplements, ask your doctor if they are necessary. Iron can make nausea worse.
  • Get lots of rest. Stress and fatigue can make your morning sickness worse.
  • Ask your doctor about using ginger to reduce nausea and vomiting.
  • Take your prenatal vitamins at night on a full stomach.

If home treatment does not work for you, talk to your doctor about medicine that may help relieve your symptoms.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are too sick to your stomach to drink any fluids.
  • You have symptoms of dehydration, such as:
    • Dry eyes and a dry mouth.
    • Passing only a little dark urine.
    • Feeling thirstier than usual.
  • You have new symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, or belly pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You lose weight.
  • You have ongoing nausea and vomiting.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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