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Cures for morning sickness

Tea and toast

There are many things to enjoy about being pregnant – but vomiting definitely isn’t one of them. While there’s no miracle cure for sickness during pregnancy, there are a number of remedies that can help you deal with nausea and discomfort, and there's medication that's safe to take if you're really struggling

How to stop morning sickness

Unfortunately, there's no fix-all cure for nausea in pregnancy. Everyone's different – a remedy or medication that works for someone else might have no impact on you. Try not to worry if some of the suggested solutions don’t do the trick – but anything that could relieve some has got to be worth a go, at least once.

What helps morning sickness?

Although no one thing can stop morning sickness outright, there are a number of popular treatments that can help alleviate some of the discomfort you may be experiencing.

Popular remedies for morning sickness

  • Lots of rest
  • Plenty of fluids – sip drinks slowly and frequently
  • Eating little and often – choose foods that are plain and high in carbohydrate but low in fat (see below)
  • Acupuncture
  • Travel sickness wristbands
  • Ginger – the biscuit variety, or ginger tea works well
  • Sucking on ice or ice lollies
  • Vitamin B supplements
  • Fresh air – take a walk or sit outside
  • Distract yourself (easier said than done, we know)

What to eat for morning sickness

  • Opt for bland, non-greasy foods that are easy to prepare
  • Plain carbs like pasta, rice, bread and potatoes
  • Snack on crackers, oatcakes or digestive biscuits
  • Foods high in zinc: seeds, wholemeal bread, small amounts of eggs and red meat
  • Avoid smelly and spicy foods
  • Eat cold meals rather than hot ones – hot foods have stronger smells and flavours which may make you feel more sick
  • Avoid drinks that are very cold, sour or sweet
  • Try flat fizzy drinks to settle your stomach
  • Fruit or herbal teas like peppermint tea
  • Sorbet or ice lollies will help to keep you hydrated

Is medication for morning sickness safe?

If you've tried natural remedies, including diet and lifestyle changes, and your nausea and vomiting is severe, a doctor may recommend a course of medication that is safe for use in pregnancy – probably anti-sickness medication (antiemetics) or an antihistamine.

Antihistamines, which are often used to treat allergies, can also work as antiemtics and your GP may prescribe a short-course of these to help with the nausea. Commonly prescribed antiemetics can have side effects, such as muscle twitching, but these are rare.

Pregnant lady resting

How to deal with morning sickness

Nobody enjoys feeling or being sick but unfortunately for many, it’s part and parcel of being pregnant. Particularly in the early days when you may be trying to keep your pregnancy to yourself, finding ways to cope without giving the game away isn’t always easy.

Mumsnetters who’ve been there, done that, offer some tips for coping with nausea when you’ve just got to get through the day.

Coping with morning sickness

Mumsnetters recommend:

Just try and eat as much as you can (don't gorge, I mean little and often) and if you fancy something then have it. Anything to make you feel a bit more human.

  • “Try to eat before you start feeling nauseous – having a snack next to your bed for when you wake up can help”
  • “Eat a small bowl of porridge before you go to bed at night”
  • “Snack regularly, if you feel you can keep it down, on crisps/biscuits/toast/sweets”
  • “Try to think about other things while eating, and make the experience as pleasurable as possible”
  • “If certain smells trigger your nausea, avoid them if you can”
  • “Wear loose clothes so nothing digs into your waistline”
  • “Carry mints everywhere (helpful as a breath freshener, too, if you're sick when you're out somewhere)”
  • “Online food shopping, if going round the supermarket makes you want to retch”
  • A little self-pity – “My aunt recommended sitting on the bathroom floor wailing 'Oh please, just let me die'. I felt more comforted by her telling me that than by all those who offered more conventional advice”

Morning sickness at work and taking time off

As with any illness, if you are experiencing morning sickness to a degree that would impact your ability to work, you may want to – and are entitled to – take time off work. You employer should respect this and be supportive.

The 2010 Equality Act states that it is unlawful discrimination for an employer to treat a woman unfavourably due to pregnancy or illness relating to pregnancy. Discriminatory treatment includes withholding sick pay and unfair dismissal. If you think you have been subject to discrimination, you may wish to claim for compensation through an employment tribunal.

If other words – if you're too sick to work, you're too sick to work. It's as simple as that. Visit your doctor and explain the situation, and ask for a sick note if you need it.

If an illness is pregnancy-related, it should be recorded as such – it won’t count towards your sickness record and you cannot be dismissed for it.

If you are able to continue working, you might want to tell your employer so they can make adjustments, which they are legally required to do to protect your health. For example, it may be that you need easier access to a toilet, or a desk not so close to the kitchen and the smell of someone heating up last night's curry for lunch.

Coping with morning sickness at work

Recommendations from women who have been there, done that and have the sick bag in their desk drawer to show for it:

  • “Take things one hour at a time. It might sound silly, but I found that worrying how I was going to get through a whole working week only made things worse.”
  • “Keep nibbling throughout the day – make sure there are plenty of snacks in your desk or your coat pocket.”
  • “I’m a teacher and found that walking around the classroom all day really helped – but I also made sure I properly rested during my lunch break.”
  • “I used to wear travel bands under my shirt. It might not work for everyone, but it certainly helped me.”
  • “Speak to your manager and see if you can work from home – it won’t help the nausea, but you’ll be more comfortable and relaxed.”
  • “Know your limits – if it gets really bad, go to your doctor and get signed off.”