Woman drinking ginger tea as a morning sickness remedy

5 Pregnancy-Safe Morning Sickness Remedies

By Claire Gillespie
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
January 12, 2024

About 70% of pregnant people experience nausea during pregnancy, according to research published in the journal Gastroenterology Clinics of North America.

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy are commonly referred to as "morning sickness," but the symptoms may occur at any time of the day. How often you have them varies from person to person, says Gerardo Bustillo, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn in Fountain Valley, California.

In rare cases, a person may end up with a form of pregnancy sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which is when severe and chronic nausea causes the inability to keep food or drink down. HG can have an impact on a person’s daily life and often requires specialist treatment, sometimes at the hospital.

“As many as 3% of pregnant women experience hyperemesis gravidarum, defined as weight loss exceeding 5% of prepregnancy body weight,” says Bustillo.

But for the vast majority of pregnant people, the worst symptoms happen in the first trimester. And morning sickness usually clears up by weeks 16 to 20.

While typical morning sickness isn't harmful to the baby (except in rare severe cases), having it can feel miserable. You’ll likely find yourself looking for strategies to reduce your pregnancy nausea and get you through the day.

While there are no treatments that work for everyone, there are several different pregnancy-safe morning sickness remedies you can try.

Natural remedies, home remedies, over-the-counter medicine, and doctor-prescribed medicines are all options to help reduce nausea and vomiting.

1. Ginger for Morning Sickness

ginger tea for morning sickness

Sherry Ross, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, recommends consuming ginger as a home remedy for morning sickness.

The results of a systematic review published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2020 suggest that ginger has a positive effect on nausea in pregnant women. The theory, explains Ross, is that ginger helps relax the gastrointestinal muscles, which may relieve symptoms associated with nausea and vomiting.

Ginger is available in different forms: lozenges, gum, capsules, ginger root boiled in water, prepackaged ginger tea, or nonalcoholic ginger beer. Ginger ale and gingersnaps may also help with symptoms, Ross adds.

2. Vitamin B6 for Morning Sickness

The same 2020 review suggests that vitamin B6 was even more effective for reducing nausea and vomiting than ginger when taken over a longer treatment period of 60 days.

“It's not clear how vitamin B6 works, but it has a great track record,” says Ross. If you’re interested in this morning sickness remedy, check with your doctor. They can tell you whether vitamin B6 supplementation may be a good option for you. Keep in mind that prenatal vitamins typically contain the recommended daily amount of vitamin B6.

3. Acupressure as a Pregnancy Nausea Remedy

acupressure wrist bands for morning sickness

Another natural remedy for morning sickness is acupressure. Acupressure wristbands, for example, are designed to apply gentle pressure to a specific part of the inner wrist.

“These use the Pericardium 6 (PC6 or P6) pressure point to relieve mild nausea and vomiting,” explains Ross. Gently pressing this pressure point may help people cope with nausea from various causes, including pregnancy.

You could also try PC6 acupressure without a wristband, using your fingers. Position your hand so that your fingers are pointing up and your palm is facing you. Then place the first three fingers of your opposite hand across your wrist and place your opposite thumb just below the index finger.

The two large tendons under your thumb on the inside of the wrist form pressure point PC6. Press down firmly but not so hard that it hurts. Move your thumb in a circle and continue for two to three minutes. Then switch to the other wrist and repeat.

4. Eating Bland Foods Throughout the Day

If you experience nausea during pregnancy, Ross recommends eating often throughout the day. “Don’t wait to feel hungry to eat,” she says.

Meals and snacks should be eaten slowly, in small amounts, and frequently (every one to two hours) to avoid an empty stomach, which can worsen morning sickness. Keeping crackers at your bedside table to eat before you even get out of bed in the morning may help.

You may also need to avoid foods that are spicy, salty, acidic, high in fat, or very sweet because they can cause further stomach upset, says Ross.

Ross recommends the BRAT diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, with cold, clear, carbonated beverages in small amounts sipped as often as possible. For some people, sticking to this bland diet helps morning sickness in the first trimester.

5. Morning Sickness Medicine

morning sickness medication

Most healthy pregnancies involve some degree of morning sickness, says Ross. But it shouldn’t get to the point where it’s causing health problems or seriously disrupting your life.

“If nausea and vomiting stop you from drinking or eating for more than a 24-hour period, it’s time to take the next step and bring it to the attention of your doctor,” Ross says.

They might prescribe medication, the safest of which is called Diclegis, says Ross.

“Diclegis delivers the two key ingredients of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and doxylamine in small doses that are taken throughout the day,” explains Christine Greves, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando.

This same combination can be found over-the-counter by combining vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) with OTC doxylamine (Unisom) for morning sickness.

If you’re interested in taking the OTC version, talk to your doctor about how to do it safely. Often, vitamin B6 is tried by itself at first. If vitamin B6 alone doesn’t relieve morning sickness symptoms, then Unisom is added, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

You may need to be patient, as it may take up to a week for some people to begin to feel relief. “It can take time for this wonderful concoction to work,” says Greves. It can make you drowsy at first, too, since doxylamine is used as a sleep aid.

The antihistamine diphenhydramine, available over-the-counter with brand names Benadryl and Nytol‎, may also be helpful, says Bustillo.

Other prescription medications that may be used to treat morning sickness include meclizine (Bonine, Antivert), metoclopramide (Maxolon), promethazine (Phenergan), and ondansetron (Zofran).

Don’t take anything without asking your doctor first, even OTC medication.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

The best remedies for morning sickness are the ones that your doctor has approved to be safe and that work for you. What helps morning sickness can vary from person to person, so you may need to try a few.

Nausea can be a tough symptom to experience, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s common and also—in most cases—temporary.

“Reassuring women who don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel is important,” says Ross. You will eventually feel better; and, in the meantime, these remedies may offer some relief.

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