Four Things That Helped My Morning Sickness (and one that didn’t)

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I am fifteen weeks pregnant with our third baby.* This means that I have survived a grand total of three first trimesters, and each has been as unpleasant as the last. Nausea comes on sudden and strong around six weeks and persists day and night without reprieve until around 11 weeks. There is also some throwing up involved, though not daily; usually only a handful of times in each pregnancy.

At the 11-week(ish) mark I get a little relief; nausea becomes intermittent (but still much of the day and worse in the afternoon/evenings), food aversions improve significantly so I’m able to eat a little better, and my energy begins to return. This “phase 2” continues until about 15 weeks (ish) when the skies clear, angels sing, and I go skipping through the streets of Scottsdale whistling a happy tune because FINALLY I feel better.

(Note to my apple-sized babe in utero: I’m 15 weeks 3 days today – let’s get a move on with that last bit, mmmmkay?)

Given that I have suffered through at least 27 total weeks (189 days!) of pregnancy nausea and lived to tell the tale, I thought I would share a few things that have helped me get through – and also one thing that didn’t help. While none of these tricks got rid of my queasiness, they took it down on the severity scale from “kill me now” to “oh my gosh this SUCKS but at least I can eat a bagel and have a conversation”.

Four Things That Helped My Morning Sickness

Protein :: The nurse at my OB’s office stressed that eating every hour and combining protein with carbs every time you eat is key to managing nausea. I have to agree with this. The temptation is to snack on easy, bland stuff like crackers and chips or on fruit, but I noticed a big difference when I incorporated protein into every snack. My problem was, meat, eggs, nuts and many forms of cheese sounded disgusting to me. So the snacks that I wasn’t averse to AND that satisfied the protein requirement were: bagel and cream cheese, cheese and crackers, peanut butter on bread, peanut butter or cheese on apples, or a black bean and cheese quesadilla. Strangely, sunflower seeds were the only kind of nut/seed that I could deal with, but they also really seemed to help.

Sour Citrus :: Eating so constantly left a perpetual bad taste in my mouth, which didn’t help my nausea. And brushing my teeth any more than the required twice a day was just asking too much of my gag reflex. For some reason, sour citrus fruits, juices and candies seemed to clear away the bad taste and kind of reset my palate. Lime popsicles have been a favorite with every pregnancy, and orange juice, lemonade, and limeade were all great thirst-quenchers. I also tried the Preggie Pop Drops in the sour fruit flavors and came to love them (though I think any cheap sour candies would have done the same thing).

Chewing Gum :: For some of the same reasons as the sour citrus, I have become a chronic gum-chewer. The mintier the better. I pop a piece after almost every time I eat. Something about the palate-cleansing mint (peppermint is also known to have stomach settling properties) and all the chewing and swallowing really seemed to help my nausea. I haven’t seen gum-chewing recommended as a cure for morning sickness, so maybe I’m unique in this, but it has really helped.

A Good Book :: I’m normally not a big reader. I read a lot of blogs and online articles here and there throughout the day, but I sometimes go months without getting into a good book. This pregnancy, though, looking at a computer, TV or iPad/iPhone screen any more than I had to seemed to make my nausea worse. And I’ve been collapsing in a heap going to bed so early every night that I have come to enjoy reading as a way to relax at the end of the day or during naptime. I realize there is no medical reason why a good book should help with nausea, but at least it gave me a bit of an escape! The best novel I’ve read recently is The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar and if you’re a blog reader and familiar with The Blogess, her memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, is HILARIOUS.

One Thing That Didn’t Help

Zofran :: After suffering through my first two pregnancies without pharmaceutical aid, I asked my doctor for a prescription this time around. I had heard varying things about Zofran – from how expensive it is (my insurance only covered 12 pills per 30-day period) to what a miracle drug it was – and was eager to give it a try. Sadly, I got nothing. Actually, that’s not true; I got the side effects (headaches and constipation) but none of the benefits. None. My doctor said this was normal and that it doesn’t work for everybody, but I do know people whom it really helped. I mention this only because it’s worth trying, but don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work for you.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What helped with your pregnancy nausea? Do you have terrible first trimesters too? Have Zofran and other drugs helped? Let’s build a list to help other newly-pregnant mamas! 

* If you’re keeping track at home, this brings our total Scottsdale Moms Blog pregnant contributor count to FIVE. Want more of our pregnancy stories? Here’s one from Cate and another from Kirsten, and here’s a link to The Belly Diaries series for even more pregnancy posts.

31 COMMENTS

  1. I would say I had “normal” sickness with the three girls. No need for medication, but figured out how to survive with much of what you listed above 🙂

    With Jude, my boy, I was constantly sick. Like…get up from any sitting position and I was immediately in the bathroom puking…sick. My dr recommended dramamine of all things. AND it was wonderful! I bought the non-drowsy kind and it helped a lot. Definitely a great way to go if you need something a little more but don’t want to go fully prescription drug! You can take it as little as needed. It was my life-saver for those awful 8 weeks!

    • Abbi, I can’t believe I didn’t know that dramamine was okay (and might work). Why don’t doctors/nurses tell you that? I totally would have tried it (especially as my sickness feels so similar to really bad motion sickness). Thank you!

  2. With this pregnancy (my second) I was so sick that I was throwing up at least once a day. In addition to a diet of almonds and lemonade. I purchased Sea-Band wristbands from CVS.

  3. I had hg w/my first pregnancy through 24 weeks, and all day sickness with this pregnancy that finally abetted 2 weeks ago at 28 weeks. Peppermint tea (caffeine free) and peppermint candy were helpful if i really was on the brink of getting sick or not. The preggie pops were OK, but super expensive when sick that long. Take prenatals when you feel best, rock the sea bands, sip lemonade or ginger ale mixed w/soda water to tone down the strong flavors. Ginger from the bulk aisle at the grocery stores also helped a bit. Staying hydrated was really key to avoid going in for an IV.

  4. Morning sickness. I am an expert! I started vomiting with both pregnancies at around 4 weeks and then hospitalized around 9 weeks. The nausea and vomiting were uncontrollable and I was on Zofran and Reglan drips around the clock for two weeks. I vomited around 10-17 times/day. I did not eat or drink for days. I laugh when someone says try ginger or crackers. A droperidol drip for 72 hours + benadryl finally stopped the vomiting. Then the nausea was worse for the WHOLE 9 months! I was not a happy pregnant lady. I am surprised my kids did not have 6 arms and 4 eyes due to all the meds I was taking. I had to eat every 2 hours to control the nausea and I was on medication orally every 6-8 hours until the baby came out. I gained a ton of weight after the vomiting stopped just to help control the nausea. (Stretch marks to prove it) I hated every smell and cooking dinner was so hard. I am stopping after two kids. I can’t take another pregnancy.

    • Oh my goodness, Debbie and Liz, horror stories like yours make my sickness seem like nothing! Thank you for putting it in perspective and offering your solutions. Debbie, I also gain more weight in the first trimester than you’re supposed to because of the constant eating (and I don’t vomit enough to off-set the calories – haha). So I always look six months pregnant when I’m about three months – which is lovely for the self-esteem. 🙂

  5. I know what you mean. So many people asked me if I was having twins. Hey, it was all about survival. I gained 80 lbs with the first baby and 90 lbs with the second. No, this is NOT normal, but it was all I could do to control the severe nausea. (yes, I lost all the lbs)

  6. Well, Liz and Debbie 🙂 fear not! Some day I will post in here about my 3 pregnancies with Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) and we can share more of our horror stories!

  7. Omg!! Thank u for this post. This has made the most sense to me and has been the most helpful information that I could find on the web about fighting morning sickness. I am having the most difficult time with morning sickness. But I will be trying your recommendations. I learned today that gum chewing helps ease my nausea, too. How strange!

  8. I am a newly pregnant 2nd time mommy and my battle with morning-noon-and-night sickness with my son was the stuff of legends! I was sick ALL THE TIME. I couldn’t smell, see or even think about food without vomiting non-stop until I’d end up at the er getting fluids (this continued all 9 months too!) I have searched and searched as just today the morning (well, right now early evening) sickness struck. I kept seeing peppermint gum was helpful so off went DH to grab me some-HALLELUJAH!! So far, it’s curbed my urge to puke 🙂

  9. I’m on my first pregnancy, week 6 and I haven’t really had bad morning sickness, but sometimes when I think of food it makes me feel a little queasy. Chewing gum always distracts me and takes away my thoughts of foods that tend to make me queasy. Meat has started to sound awful to me, so I stick to bean and cheese burritos, cheese sticks, and yogurt for protein right now.

  10. A friend of mine recommended sucking on Jolly Ranchers when I feel my sickest (like when your mouth just won’t stop salivating because you’re about to lose it). Although pre-pregnancy is never eat candy, this has helped. Also, I load my water up with lemon and Orange slices which seems nice- don’t know if it actually helps.
    Hoping this wears off soon. I can’t stand how I feel all the time.

  11. This pregnancy sea bands seem to me my saving grace and gum chewing actually helps me also but I don’t know that I could survive without my sea bands for those who don’t know what they are u can buy them at Walmart around $8-$9 they are woren on ur wrists and are normally for motion sickness but also work for morning sickness I was weary about them working but figures for $9 it was worth a try and I love them wear them all the time and they help tremendously!!

  12. I have suffered from nausea for weeks now and I am 11 weeks pregnant and by fluke I began to chew chewing gum which I stopped using many years ago and found it really helped! I don’t want to get in the habit of using it and thought it must be the peppermint in it so will look to have peppermint tea etc to see if that helps soothe my nausea. It was good to read that it helped you also and wasn’t just me!!

  13. I have tried all of the usual things to no avail, but I started taking vitamin B6 (2), B12 (4-5), and a B-complex (2) with a time-release probiotic within a 24 hour period and I feel like I can actually function. This is my 4th pregnancy and I am never usually able to drink more than a few sips of water with lemon at a time without losing it (as in throwing up) and I am so happy to say I can get fluids down after taking these vitamins.

  14. Just had my had my first hospitalization with HG a few days ago – IV fluids and Zofran stopped the 14-hour insanity that started at 2am. It’s a take-as-needed drug so I’m avoiding it as long as I can get through the day. My OB put me on Dicelctin and while I’m still struggling immensely with being on ANY drug right now, I know it’s worse for the baby if I can’t even keep down fluids.

    I have a history of nausea issues though, so what has usually helped through the years is:
    minty gum, banana-ginger smoothies (nice and cold!), plain rice cakes, soups, meditation & yoga.
    Oh, and I can’t stand flat room-temp fluids. Hot or cold or bubbly only.

  15. During my first pregnancy I knew nothing about HG. Doctors at the hospital usually stabilised me with IVs and then sent me home hoping the sickness would get better by itself. When they told me I lost 12% of my body weight and said the next option was to feed me through a tube I put my foot down and refused to leave the hospital without medication. That was at the beginning of my 2nd trimester and I needed 3 medications till the end of my pregnancy to function. This time I thought we were prepared but whatever medication I get stops working after about 2 weeks and now my doctors are at their wits end. 11 weeks now and the first IV today. I sure hope this time the sickness won’t last till the end 🙁

    • I am so sorry! Morning sickness is so incredibly hard. Hoping your doctors find the perfect solution for you very, very soon! I had terrible, terrible morning sickness – feel free to email me anytime! [email protected]

  16. Gum has been an absolute lifesaver for me. I found this post because I was searching for reasons why it might be helping! Peppermint tea doesn’t really do it for me, something in the gum has an immediate relief to my stomach. Luckily I’m not vomiting (yet? I’m at 6.5 weeks), and I am definitely going to try the wrist bands for motion sickness!

  17. I’m currently pregnant with my third and I get SEVERE HG, like “why am I awake?” 24/7 HG.I don’t know about anyone else but with my HG I get awful bile vomit and can’t hold anything, nope not even water down, it’s a nightmare. Luckily I found out right on time to prep and buy some things that helped a little the last two pregnancies and gum seriously needs to be mentioned more often as a remedy!Like my package of gum (in bulk)just came in and I’ve been on just one piece this past hour and I feel like myself again, not necessarily for the flavor but the constant chewing actually has my stomach feeling normal and not a queasy firey pit of torture! Huzzah!!

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