About 60% of pregnant people encounter nausea during their first trimester. It’s been coined “morning sickness,” but it can occur at any time during the day, and for some, it lasts throughout the day. The good news is that it typically resolves by the end of the first trimester (1).
There are a variety of reasons you might experience nausea, and it may not be possible to completely avoid it. However, in this piece, Registered Dietitian, Madison Milmeister, MS, RD shares some tips that may help you mitigate the nausea symptoms a bit:
- Eat smaller, more frequent snacks (instead of larger more structured mealtimes).
- Opt for soothing, easily digestible carbs. Try fruit, cooked sweet potatoes, fruit smoothies, rice, or rice noodles. Because sharp blood sugar fluctuations are a common nausea trigger, try to pair these foods with as much protein and fat that you can stomach at the time. If you can’t stomach that, eat the easily digested carbohydrate at the time of feeling nauseous and then, when you feel a little better, eat a small portion of protein + fat (i.e. chicken and avocado).Some great carb + protein/fat combinations are:
- Banana with peanut butter
- Sweet potato with 2 tablespoons of butter or almond butter
- Fruit smoothie with nuts and whey protein powder (preferably grass-fed) or organic pea-protein powder
- Rice with butter and a diced hardboiled egg
- Try a combination of sour and salty. Pickle cravings make so much sense now! Try eating some cold pickles, kimchi, some cold avocado with fresh lemon juice and (Himalayan) sea salt, or a little rhubarb jam and salted butter on top of a piece of sprouted whole grain bread.
- Take a B6 supplement. Try vitamin B6 supplements: 25mg, up to 3 times/day. It may help reduce your nausea (2).
- Include Ginger. It is well studied for use during pregnancy and has proven effective at treating nausea and vomiting (2). Try ginger tea, dried sweetened ginger slices, and/or a ginger supplement of 250mg up to 4 times/day.
- Eat a protein-rich dinner. Eating a generous portion of proteins like chicken, turkey, salmon, beef, or full-fat yogurt at dinner can help to ensure a smoother morning. Try at least 6 ounces of animal protein or 1 cup of dairy and pair it with your favorite veggies and fiber-rich carbohydrates.
- Have a snack before bed. During pregnancy, especially when you’re nauseous, many women eat smaller meals more frequently which can land dinner time earlier than it was in pre-pregnancy life. If you eat dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime, have a pre-bed snack that includes a healthy fat & protein, such as:
- half of an avocado with lemon juice + small portion of nuts
- 1 ounce of cheese + small portion of nuts, half a cup of yogurt topped with chia seeds.
- Take your prenatal vitamin. Of course, it’s important to take these regardless, but an additional benefit of prenatal vitamins is that they seem to be a good prophylactic to nausea during the first trimester (2). Just be sure to take them with food to reduce the risk of getting nauseous from your vitamin.
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About the Author
Madison Milmeister is a registered dietitian – and mother — who specializes in fertility and pregnancy nutrition. She holds an undergraduate degree in Nutrition Science and a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition. She is currently completing a Master of Education at Columbia University with thesis work that highlights the important role of diet in human fertility. Madison loves working with and inspiring women to pursue peak health early on in their pregnancy journey because she wants to help create a healthier next generation, indefinitely. Her research and practice has led her to the motto, “A person’s health starts with the effort of their parents.” Have questions for Madison? Reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Niebyl, J. R. (2010). Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(16), 1544–1550.
- Niebyl, J. R., & Goodwin, T. (2002). Overview of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy with an emphasis on vitamins and ginger. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 186(5).