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Nausea in early pregnancy is thought to be due to hormonal changes. The severity of nausea each woman experiences varies greatly. Fortunately, there are some dietary and lifestyle modifications that may help improve this unpleasant part of pregnancy. The following are only guidelines, but they help many pregnant women.

Nibble Frequently
Do not wait until you are sick to eat something. It is very important that you eat something every 1/2-2 hours. If you have a busy schedule, set a timer. This does not mean that you have to eat a lot of food. For example, you could break up a lunch of a sandwich and fruit into the following:

Noon: Half of sandwich
2:00 pm: Fruit
4:00 pm: Other half of sandwich
6:00 pm: Fruit

If you are not nauseated two hours after your last snack, try a high-protein snack. It will stay in your stomach a little longer. Some examples are half of a hard-boiled egg, one fourth of a sandwich, or cheese cubes.

Choose Foods that Appeal to You Right Now
Eat foods that sound good to you at the present time. What sounds good now may not sound good at 10:00 pm. Tolerance of different foods varies from woman to woman, but grain products usually taste best. Some examples are crackers, toast, pasta, rice, cornbread, and tortillas. Greasy or spicy foods usually make the nausea worse, so it is best to stick to a bland diet. A plain baked potato or saltine crackers will usually settle your stomach when nothing else works. (Prepare a small potato in the microwave with salt and pepper, but skip the butter to avoid greasiness.) After an hour, you may be able to eat a normal meal.

Drink Water or Gatorade
Change all of your liquids to water, Gatorade, or even half-strength Gatorade for a couple of weeks. Eliminating milk, soft drinks, coffee, tea, and fruit juices frequently helps. An exception is ginger tea, which may help improve nausea as ginger has been found to help nausea associated with pregnancy. Drinking liquids between meals instead of with meals may help as well.

Start Slowly in the Morning
Taking your time to get out of bed in the morning may be helpful. Keep some crackers at the bedside and nibble a few before rising. Sitting on the bedside a few minutes before getting up completely may help settle your stomach.

Prenatal Vitamins
If your prenatal vitamin upsets your stomach, then take it at bedtime. If swallowing the vitamins causes nausea, then ask us about a chewable option. There are also specific prenatal vitamins available which may improve nausea and can be prescribed if needed.

Better Days to Come
Fortunately for most women, pregnancy associated nausea is limited in duration and usually improves greatly by the end of the first trimester between 12-14 weeks. However, if nausea and vomiting become severe, dehydration and other complications can occur. Notify us immediately if you are unable to keep any liquids down for 12-24 hours or experience dizziness, weakness or faint.


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