Morning sickness—which can actually strike at any time of the day or night—is a common complaint among moms-to-be. Unfortunately, frequent vomiting or perpetual nausea can cast a shadow over early pregnancy. The good news? It’ll likely fade after the first trimester. Better yet, you might be able to find some morning sickness relief now.
The truth is, fail-proof morning sickness cures don’t actually exist. But there are steps you can take and products you can use to help quell the queasiness. Certain foods, some lifestyle changes and a few over-the-counter medications can help. Ready to feel better and maybe even enjoy your pregnancy sans sickness? We’ve consulted a team of medical and nutritional experts to serve up information on morning sickness remedies that can work to stave off or curb the nausea. Read on for some smart ideas on how to treat morning sickness.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
If you’re dealing with morning sickness in pregnancy, know that you’re far from alone: Two out of three women experience nausea and vomiting in their first trimester, according to Gil Weiss, MD, an ob-gyn in Chicago and Northbrook, Illinois. Pregnancy hormones—like human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)—peak in those early weeks, leading to this overall feeling of unpleasantness. What’s more, Weiss says that if you’re expecting twins or triplets, you’re more likely to experience morning sickness because of higher levels of hCG in your system. And, yes, while it’s called good morning sickness, symptoms can ebb and flow throughout the day. The good news is that for most moms-to-be, symptoms diminish by the end of the first trimester or beginning of the second, says Chelsea Kilgore, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Weight Zen in New York City.
While it’s true that hormones are most likely causing your morning sickness, episodes can be triggered by different things around you. “Some people may be sensitive to certain odors, certain foods or may be going too long in between meals,” says Ryann Kipping, MPH, RDN, CLEC, founder of The Prenatal Nutritionist. Other factors—like humidity, excess saliva and hot environments—may aggravate nausea. “Laying down after a meal can also precipitate nausea and vomiting in pregnancy,” says Weiss.
Best Morning Sickness Remedies
Ready to reign in the retching? You probably won’t be able to cure or prevent all morning sickness episodes, but you can certainly work to reduce the severity of symptoms. Morning sickness relief comes in many forms. For starters, certain foods can settle an upset stomach. And making simple lifestyle adjustments—like taking your prenatal vitamin at night rather than in the morning on an empty stomach—can work wonders. What’s more, some herbal supplements and alternative therapies may do the trick for you. Here’s the lowdown on various morning sickness treatments that can help.
Foods for morning sickness relief
Hard to believe, but many morning sickness remedies can be found in the food aisle at your local grocery store. Here are some ideas for how to treat morning sickness with nutrition.
Eat foods that are rich in vitamin B6: According to Kipping, “the first line of ‘treatment’ for nausea is increasing foods high in vitamin B6 such as bananas, pistachios, oranges and chicken.”
Try cold food: To reduce nausea, Kilgore suggests pregnant people try eating cold foods, such as smoothies or yogurt and cool bubbly drinks like seltzer. Weiss adds that “colder foods have less odor, which makes them easier to tolerate than hot food.”
Load up on carbs: Snacks that are rich in carbohydrates (think: crackers, pretzels, dry toast and cereal) are easy to digest and keep down. Kipping recommends following this type of food with a source of protein, though, as “not eating enough protein, especially with your carbohydrates, could cause blood sugar spikes, leading to increased nausea.”
Eat small meals more often: Avoiding food altogether is a bad idea as it can make nausea worse. Kilgore suggests trying to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day to mitigate nausea and avoid having an empty stomach.
Natural remedies for morning sickness
Sick and tired of being sick and tired? We get it. Sometimes adjusting your diet and lifestyle isn’t going to cut it, which is where other natural morning sickness remedies come into play. While there are no miracle cures, one (or more) of these options may help ease your symptoms.
Ginger. It’s a classic remedy for a reason—ginger works! Research shows that this ancient root is an effective and safe treatment for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Kilgore suggests incorporating ginger tea or natural ginger-ale into your diet to help alleviate symptoms. If you don’t like the taste, it’s also possible to buy ginger root capsules. Always consult your doctor before adding a new supplement to your regimen.
Acupressure. According to Weiss, acupressure bands can help relieve nausea by stimulating the P6 pressure point found on the inside of the wrist.
Aromatherapy: Just as certain smells trigger nausea, other scents can help alleviate it. “Try placing a cotton ball infused with essential oil, such as mint, lemon or orange under the nose,” suggests Kilgore. Kipping also recommends diffusing essential oils in the air or lighting a candle that smells good to help ease morning sickness symptoms.
Acupuncture: Studies have found that acupuncture is another effective alternative morning sickness treatment. Like acupressure, this therapy works by stimulating key pressure points on the body. In general, it’s considered safe in pregnancy; Just make sure your practitioner knows you’re expecting and get the green light from your doctor beforehand.
Over-the-counter morning sickness medicine
If none of the above morning sickness remedies work for you, don’t be discouraged! According to Weiss, taking vitamin B6 capsules or the antihistamine Unisom (or even a combination of the two) may get the job done. But it’s important to note that you should always consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications while pregnant.
Store-bought morning sickness remedies
Thought you’d already exhausted all the options? Think again! There’s still hope. Here are some popular treatments available online and in stores. Below, five of the best remedies for morning sickness that you can buy right now.
Image: Pink Stork
Pink Stork Morning Sickness Relief Sweets: Mango, Ginger + Vitamin B6
This editor favorite was awarded a Best of Pregnancy award in 2022—and with good reason. Formulated with vitamin B6 and ginger, these little treats work to support digestion and help ease nausea. Better yet, they’re USDA-certified organic and free from gluten, preservatives, colors, soy and dairy. Best of all: When that queasy feeling kicks in, these lozenges will offer some sweet morning sickness relief.
Buy it: $12 for 30 lozenges, Walmart.com
Tummydrops Natural Peppermint
Next up is Tummydrops morning sickness candy, an option that’s safe for the entire family. Formulated by a board-certified gastroenterologist, these individually wrapped lozenges naturally aid digestion and soothe upset tummies. Infused with pure peppermint oil, these invigorating candies have an intense flavor.
Buy it: $13 for 30 drops, Amazon.com
Natalist The Good Morning Tea
If you prefer to sip a hot beverage when nausea strikes, check out The Good Morning Tea by Natalist. Designed specifically for pregnancy, this caffeine-free blend contains two simple, organic ingredients: Indian ginger root and Egyptian peppermint. It’s one of the best teas for morning sickness.
Buy it: $18, Natalist.com
Image: Preggie Pops
Preggie Pops for Nausea
Another treatment to try is a morning sickness lollipop. Made with plant extracts and essential oils, Preggie Pops promise instant relief from nausea. They come in five punchy flavors that help to take the edge off: sour raspberry, sour tangerine, peppermint, sour lemon and ginger.
Buy it: $16 for 28 lollipops, Amazon.com
Image: Sparkling Mama
Sparkling Mama’s Fizzelixir Morning Sickness Relief Drink
Last up on our list of the best morning sickness remedies is Sparkling Mama’s Fizzelixir. Infused with vitamin B6 and magnesium, the supplement powder can be dissolved in water, smoothies or juices. It comes in two refreshing flavors: raspberry-mint and citrus-ginger.
Buy it: $29 for 16 sachets, Amazon.com
What to do When Morning Sickness Remedies Don’t Work
While morning sickness is common and normally passes on its own, a small minority of women develop hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). According to Weiss, “HG is the most severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, and may lead to electrolyte imbalances that require in-hospital management and intravenous therapy.” If you start to lose weight or are sick more than three to four times a day, Weiss advises seeking medical attention immediately.
The biggest risk associated with morning sickness is dehydration. “In general, if you’re unable to keep down any food or water for 12 or more hours, a visit to the emergency room is recommended,” says Weiss.
Moving, if you’re suffering from perpetual morning sickness, do what you can get as much rest as possible, and remember that these symptoms won’t last forever. “If nothing seems to be working, and your day-to-day life has become more challenging, contact your provider to discuss medication and other options,” advises Kipping. There are prescription morning sickness treatment options, and you can decide if this is the right route to take together.
Gil Weiss, MD, is an ob-gyn at the Association for Women’s Health Care, serving women in Chicago and Northbrook, Illinois. Weiss attended medical school at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, and completed his residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Ryan Kipping, MPH, RDN, CLEC, is the founder and CEO of The Prenatal Nutritionist. Kipping earned her degree in nutritional sciences at the University of Oklahoma and holds a master’s in public health from San Diego State University.
Chelsea Kilgore, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist at Weight Zen in New York City. She specializes in pre- and postnatal nutrition and can be found on Instagram at @thepostpartum_nutritionist.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.