We have all seen the TV show where the young woman starts vomiting and everyone figures out that she’s pregnant. Nausea and Vomiting (N and V) are an extremely common – but unpleasant – symptom of pregnancy. Fortunately N and V is manageable for most women and these symptoms usually resolve by 16 weeks. There are a number of things you can do to help you cope with nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.
- Eat frequent small meals of bland food. Most women find themselves eating carbs such as bread and pasta. Listen to your body and don’t force yourself to eat anything that doesn’t feel right – just go with what your body is telling you. Please don’t worry if you are not eating much at all. Your baby is tiny and does not need you to eat for its sake.
- Stop cooking as the smells involved in preparing meals are more than a pregnant woman can bear.
- Change your pregnancy vitamin. Preparations like Elevit and Blackmores Pregnancy Gold contain lots of vitamin and minerals including iron. These elements can increase nausea significantly (iron being the worst culprit). In addition most pregnancy vitamins are horse tablets that are difficult to swallow, especially when you are feeling nauseated. The first thing you should do when you are feeling sick in pregnancy is switch to plain folic acid tablets or Blackmores ifolic. If you are taking an additional iron supplement I suggest you stop it even if you are iron deficient – we can fix your iron levels in the second trimester.
- Use a natural therapy. The two best treatments for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy are Vitamin B6 and Ginger. Scientific studies have shown both of these natural therapies to be of benefit for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
Of course a small number of women experience either severe or prolonged N and V in pregnancy. We call this condition Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or HG for short. This condition warrants specialist management and treatments can include IV fluids, hospital admission and medications (remembering we only prescribe medications we know to be safe in pregnanacy).