Best Morning Sickness Remedies to Relieve Nausea During Pregnancy
In this detailed guide to the best morning sickness remedies, we delve into all of the methods you can use to relieve pregnancy nausea. Despite the name, morning sickness can actually arrive any time, which, of course, is not the most convenient of things. While severe cases of morning sickness should be addressed with your doctor as soon as possible, there are several home remedies for morning sickness that can treat your symptoms and bring relief.
What is morning sickness?
If you’re struggling with morning sickness, rest assured that you’re not alone. About 70 percent of women experience symptoms, which include nausea and vomiting. For some, these symptoms are triggered by certain odors and sensations. Typically, symptoms begin around six weeks into pregnancy and start to subside during your second trimester. However, each pregnancy is different, and symptoms often last for shorter and longer term periods—and in varying degrees of severity. While the exact cause of morning sickness is difficult to pinpoint, it’s widely agreed that low blood sugar and a rise in pregnancy hormones are at least partially to blame.
For a deeper dive into morning sickness symptoms, causes, and treatments, read our complete guide. To learn about the best morning sickness remedies to relieve pregnancy nausea, keep reading below.
Morning sickness food remedies
While morning sickness is often triggered by food-related smells and tastes, it can also be improved with the right choices in diet. These changes can make for some of the best morning sickness remedies.
You’ve probably heard about the BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce, toast) diet before. It’s widely accepted as one of the most sure-fire ways to tame an upset stomach. This makes it one of the best morning sickness remedies when your symptoms are at their worst. While this diet is effective, it should only be used as a quick fix and not as a long-term diet. That’s because it doesn’t have all the essential nutrients you need, nor will it satisfy your hunger. That said, it can be used as an easy guide to inform some of your other food choices when experiencing morning sickness.
While it’s always important to get enough servings of fruit and vegetables, it can be hard to incorporate them when you have an upset stomach. If you’re struggling to keep things down, bananas, watermelon, apples, pears, and citrusy fruits can keep your potassium levels in check. They also provide other essential vitamins and minerals that help you stay energized.
Simple soups are commonly used as morning sickness remedies. They’re gentle on your stomach and can make for a satisfying meal that gives you a break from plain foods.
Easily digestible carbs should play a key role in your morning sickness diet. Crackers, oatmeal, potatoes, bread, rice, quinoa, and pasta are all easy meal supports. They can be paired with high-protein foods like beef, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts to leave you feeling full. You might also find that salty carbs, like pretzels or crackers, help keep your nausea at bay.
What to avoid
Avoid foods that are especially high in fat—think cheesy pizzas and fries—as well as anything spicy. Onions, garlic, caffeine, and sugary foods are also said to increase morning sickness symptoms, so steer clear of them and opt for caffeine-free teas.
The types of spices you consume and surround yourself with can often trigger your morning sickness symptoms. While not everyone will be bothered by the same scents, it’s best to avoid spices that carry particularly strong odors when you’re feeling queasy. Apart from the scents of garlic and onion, powerful spices like cumin, fenugreek, and thyme might alert your super scent.
When cooking, keep dishes simple to avoid an onslaught of unwelcome odors, or use your spices in moderation. Just like your sense of smell, your taste buds are probably a lot more sensitive right now.
Ginger remedies for morning sickness
Ginger is regarded as one of the best morning sickness remedies and can be consumed in a variety of ways. Grate up (or slice) some ginger root and add to hot water for a simple anti-nausea tea, or stir some into your soups and smoothies for a less intense flavor.
Ginger ale and hard candies that are made with real ginger can also settle your stomach. However, these should be consumed in moderation to avoid excess sugar, which can impact your blood glucose levels and lead to more nausea. Check the ingredients before you buy, and look for options with less added sugar that don’t use high fructose corn syrup or artificial coloring.
When heading out, pack some crystallized ginger or hard candies into your bag that you can snack on.
Timing of meals and snacks
Although you might not feel like eating when you’re experiencing morning sickness, an empty stomach can leave you feeling even worse. Strategic timing and eating habits are some of the best morning sickness remedies.
- Your stomach is probably close to empty after a night of rest—which can be bad news for morning sickness. To help calm your stomach, keep a box of saltine crackers on your bedside table, and have a few before you even get out of bed. This will allow your stomach to absorb gastric acid and prevent you from feeling too hungry; it can also help you get back to sleep if you wake up feeling nauseous.
- Instead of having three meals a day, opt for five to six smaller ones. This will help you avoid hunger pangs in between meals and keep you from getting too full (which can make nausea and heartburn worse). Chew thoroughly, eat slowly, and give yourself some time to rest afterwards so your body can digest.
Vomiting causes a loss of fluids and electrolytes, potentially leading to dehydration. It can be difficult to maintain your fluid intake when you have morning sickness, so try to catch up when your symptoms are at bay.
- Add some fruit or a slice of lemon to your water to give it a natural flavor that might make it easier to stomach.
- If you’re still having trouble, drink herbal teas, natural fruit juices, milk, or nutritious soups to keep your fluids in check.
Aim for six to eight cups of fluids a day that don’t contain caffeine.
Natural remedies for morning sickness
Avoiding nausea triggers
Morning sickness is often associated with a heightened sensitivity to certain smells (also known as hyperosmia). So, identifying your triggers and avoiding them can be one of the best morning sickness remedies. But just like the cravings you might experience, the smells and sensations that trigger your nausea can be incredibly specific.
In addition to odors, morning sickness can be triggered by:
- Bright lights
- Loud noises
- Abrupt movement
- Damp or stale air
- Particularly hot or cold weather
- An empty stomach
Everyone has their own triggers, and they can change with each pregnancy. And while it’s not always possible to avoid all your triggers, there are a few simple ways to help cope.
- When cooking, turning on a fan or opening a window will help to dissipate any bothersome smells. But if you want to avoid a smelly kitchen altogether, opting for takeout or enjoying certain foods cold is another option—just make sure it’s safe to do so!
- If your queasiness is activated by other strong scents, like perfumes, deodorants, and soaps, it might be time to pack them up, or make the swap to fragrance-free or unscented alternatives.
Of course, avoiding smell-associated nausea triggers can be a lot easier to do in your own home. That’s why when you’re out and about, packing your bag with some DIY morning sickness remedies can be a lifesaver. Pop a few sprigs of dried rosemary or mint into a pouch to have on-hand, and take a whiff to counteract the unpleasant scents you encounter. Certain essential oils can also be used as a form of on-the-go aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy and essential oils
Aromatherapy is one of the most popular holistic remedies for morning sickness when it comes to alternative and traditional medicine. It uses aromatic extracts from plants (essential oils) to combat nausea. Aromatherapy can take many different forms, but generally refers to the inhalation or topical application of carefully diluted essential oils.
Essential oils that are the best morning sickness remedies include:
- Black pepper
Aromatherapy and essential oil safety
Inhalation is thought to be safer during pregnancy, as essential oils can be harmful when applied topically without proper dilution. However, it’s important to avoid prolonged exposure to high concentrations of essential oils during inhalation, as this is likely to make you feel even more nauseous and potentially cause other side effects.
- Essential oils should only come from a reputable provider. They should be high-quality, pure, and therapeutic grade.
- Essential oils should not be used during your first trimester, as some research suggests that this can be harmful to your baby during this early developmental stage.
- Keep in mind that essential oils have different effects, and some should be avoided during pregnancy.
Anti-nausea breathing techniques
When you’re feeling queasy, take a moment to breathe. Taking deep, slow breaths can help you manage your symptoms when they flare up. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. You can work breath exercises into almost any of these natural remedies for morning sickness.
Integrate deep breathing into your exercise routine, during acupuncture or acupressure, massage, and aromatherapy. And while deep breathing can take many forms (not all of which are advised for pregnant women), you don’t have to be a meditation expert to reap the benefits.
- Start by taking a seat or laying down so that you can fully focus on your breath.
- Then, take a slow breath in through your nose. Allow your chest to rise as you fill your lungs up with air.
- Exhale through your mouth in the same controlled fashion. Repeat the cycle for a few minutes.
When you’re struggling with morning sickness, it can be difficult to maintain any kind of exercise regimen, and that’s okay!
While it’s important to listen to your body, low-impact exercise can make you feel more like yourself. Not only does it help to relieve stress, but it can also boost your energy, make it easier to sleep, and improve circulation. All of this can help keep your morning sickness symptoms in check.
Some types of exercise that can act as the best morning sickness remedies are:
Don’t push yourself too hard when exercising—and only aim for a low to moderate intensity. The goal is to take your mind off your nausea while reaping the benefits that the endorphins exercise brings. However, raising your body temperature too much can cause you to feel even more nauseous, so take it at your own pace.
Experimenting with the timing of your workouts can help you get the most out of them. If you know your morning sickness symptoms are at their worst when you first wake up, plan activities for later in the day. Take breaks whenever you need, and don’t feel guilty about cutting some of your workouts short. While a 45-minute pilates session might be manageable one day, don’t get too competitive with yourself. A short walk outside or a restorative yoga class can be just as beneficial. Take note of your body’s cues and do what feels right.
If you have a medical problem that may impede your ability to safely exercise, talk to your doctor first.
Acupuncture and acupressure
Though not for everyone, some swear by the benefits of acupuncture and acupressure. These have long been recognized as effective alternative remedies for morning sickness.
- Acupuncture: Involves the insertion of small needles into specific points on the body (often referred to as “channels” in Chinese medicine).
- Acupressure: Similar to a massage, where firm pressure is applied to these points.
Acupuncture treatments should only be done by a trained acupuncturist; however, some of the benefits of acupressure can be done as home remedies for morning sickness. Nausea pressure points can be found on the arms, hands, legs, feet, and face. Additional pressure points can also be found on the back and abdomen but should be avoided when doing at-home treatments while pregnant.
The most popular anti-nausea pressure point, called Pericardium 6 (P-6), can be found on the inside of your wrist.
- Locate it by placing three fingers under the base of your palm.
- Apply firm pressure to the area with your index finger or thumb.
- Massage in a circular motion for two to three minutes.
This can be repeated multiple times throughout the day, and should be done over the course of several days for noticeable results.
Prenatal massages broadly refer to any type of hands-on massage that occurs during your pregnancy, and are similar to the therapeutic massages that you might schedule for a sore back.
Just like a regular massage, prenatal massages can help you manage aches and pains, lower stress and anxiety, and improve circulation.
Consult your doctor before booking an appointment, as there are many factors that could impact your treatment. If your doctor believes it’s safe to do so, you can book an appointment with a certified massage therapist who specializes in pregnancy massages.
Morning sickness OTC remedies
When you need some extra support in managing your morning sickness symptoms, these morning sickness OTC remedies can help you feel like yourself again.
Commonly used medications that don’t require prescriptions include:
- Emetrol (Fructose, Dextrose, and Phosphoric Acid): This liquid antiemetic is used to treat nausea and vomiting. It works by calming the muscle contractions that can sometimes cause these symptoms.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is one of the most popular remedies for morning sickness, as it can greatly reduce nausea. It also aids in the production of serotonin and melatonin, which helps to improve your mood and promote a more restful sleep.
- Unisom (Doxylamine): This antihistamine is commonly used as an over-the-counter sleep aid but is often cited as one of the best morning sickness remedies. In particular, Unisom SleepTabs in combination with vitamin B6 are especially effective. They have shown to reduce nausea and vomiting by up to 70 percent.
- Ginger Capsules: Ginger remedies for morning sickness are popular for a good reason. Just like a ginger tea can help to settle your stomach, taking ginger capsules works to the same effect. If you want the benefits of ginger but don’t love the taste, these capsules will do the trick.
Acid reflux medications
Acid reflux or heartburn is commonly experienced during pregnancy. It can leave you with a burning feeling in your chest or throat that’s caused by stomach acid. Symptoms can last from a few minutes to several hours but can often be treated with over-the-counter medications. This includes antacids, like Tums, and acid reducer medications, including:
- Zantac 360
If your symptoms aren’t improved with these medications, talk to your doctor about prescriptions. While acid reflux or heartburn are frequently experienced during pregnancy, if your symptoms aren’t going away, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While usually not cause for concern, this is a more serious condition that can lead to other problems. Keep an eye on your symptoms, and if it continues to be a problem, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Pedialyte is an effective rehydration drink used to counter electrolyte imbalances that can lead to dehydration. While staying hydrated with water and other fluids is important, Pedialyte can be especially helpful when you’re having trouble keeping things down. This makes it one of the best morning sickness remedies when your symptoms are more severe. Available in both flavored and unflavored options, Pedialyte can be purchased in bottles, powder packs, and even freezer pops.
Pedialyte helps to restore your fluid levels, and with the help of electrolytes and a small amount of sugar, it also works to maintain blood pressure and pH levels. This allows it to treat mild to moderate dehydration more quickly than water. This rehydration drink should not be mixed with fruit juice, soda, or other beverages, as it’s specially formulated with carefully dosed electrolytes and sugar.
Signs of mild to moderate dehydration include:
- Dry mouth
- Muscle cramps
Note: If dehydration symptoms are severe or don’t go away after consuming Pedialyte or other fluids, please speak with your doctor as soon as possible.
Timing of prenatal vitamins
Taking prenatal vitamins that have iron (which can sometimes cause nausea) and have a strong medicine flavor can be more than enough to make your stomach turn. That said, the good news is that experimenting with taking them at different times of the day can make all the difference:
- If you know your morning sickness symptoms are at their worst when you first wake up, try taking your prenatal vitamins later in the day.
- Taking them right before bed could help as well, since you’re less likely to notice nausea when you’re already asleep.
Adjusting how you take your prenatal vitamins can also make a difference:
- Split them in half and take them at different times in the same day.
- Mix them into strongly flavored food and drinks to mask the taste.
Premama Prenatal Vitamins
Premama’s Prenatal Vitamin is specifically designed with the best morning sickness remedies in mind. It’s made to be easy to swallow, and is infused with pure peppermint oil to hide any unsavoury medicine flavor. Only premium nutrients are used, and our patented duo-capsule time-release technology ensures you get all the iron you need—without any of the nausea.
Prescription medications as severe morning sickness remedies
If you’re unable to treat your symptoms with the best morning sickness remedies above, talk to your doctor about prescription medications.
Commonly prescribed medications include:
- Zofran (Ondansetron): Used to prevent nausea and vomiting, this antiemetic works by blocking the actions of serotonin in the body. Note that if you’ve already begun vomiting, it will not stop it—Zofran is meant to be taken as a preventative measure; although, it can provide relief from nausea in as fast as 30 minutes.
- Diclegis (Doxylamine/Pyridoxine): This medication combines an antihistamine and vitamin B6, and provides similar benefits to Unisom SleepTabs and vitamin B6. However, Diclegis can be easier to manage, as it doesn’t require you to measure out different medications and supplements.
Other morning sickness remedies
Every pregnancy is different, so you may find that the best morning sickness remedies for you are completely different for someone else.
Other morning sickness remedies tips:
- Avoid quick movements when you have an empty stomach.
- Eat sour candies or smell sour scents (like lemon).
- Use peppermint or lemon-scented hand creams to disguise other smells.
- Wear a Sea-Band bracelet as a form of acupressure.
- Brush your teeth after each meal.
- Eat before bed to prevent nausea in the morning.
Finding the best morning sickness remedies
Finding the best morning sickness remedies is likely to take some experimentation. That’s why we recommend starting with the remedies that are easiest for you to integrate into your lifestyle, and work your way from there. If you still continue to struggle with morning sickness, please consult with your doctor.