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Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

Dr. Ossanna

Nausea and vomiting are common complaints during the first half of pregnancy, affecting up to 80% of pregnant women. The symptoms usually begin around the first or second missed menstrual period and continues generally until about 16 weeks with some experiencing symptoms throughout their pregnancy. Although this is sometimes called morning sickness, the symptoms can continue throughout the entire day.

The exact cause of these symptoms isn’t clear, but the most likely cause is thought to be increasing levels of hormones, slow movement of stomach contents and genetic predisposition. Some underlying diseases may contribute as well, such as, gastroenteritis, cholecystitis and hepatitis.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. It occurs in about 3% of pregnancies. It can result in weight loss and dehydration, signs of which may include infrequent urination or dark colored urine, repeated vomiting and weight loss greater than 5 lbs. Having nausea and vomiting usually does not affect the baby.


  1. Dietary changes- Try eating as soon as you feel hungry, but eat small feedings at more frequent intervals.
  2. Avoid triggers that can cause nausea and vomiting such as certain odors, heat and humidity, foods and snacks high in sugar and spicy or high fat foods.


Some non prescription treatments can reduce the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. These include: Vitamin B6, Doxylamine ( found in some over the counter sleep aids). Ginger is also found to help decrease symptoms. It is found in several forms such as ginger tea, ginger lollipops and powered ginger.

Prescription medications:
Promethazine (Phenergan)- May cause drowsiness and dry mouth.
Metoclopramide ( Reglan)-Speeds up emptying of the stomach contents and may reduce nausea and vomiting

If nausea and vomiting symptoms persist, despite these treatments, hospitalization requiring IV fluids may be necessary. Always consult your physician if you experience any of these symptoms.