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Looking for reliable answers to queries about your pregnancy, birth, postpartum or baby?


Our Cedar Tips are little pieces of wisdom we’ll share ongoing in response to our most commonly asked questions. 


Have an idea for a Cedar Tip?  Let your midwife or doctor know!

Cedar  Tips

Q:  What can I do to help my nausea?


A:  While not everyone experiences it, nausea is quite common in pregnancy; usually beginning around 5 weeks of pregnancy and subsiding for most people around 12-14 weeks.  While nausea and vomiting typically don’t harm you or your baby, the experience of them can be anything from mildly annoying to debilitating. 
  • Eat frequently, as low blood sugar can cause or worsen nausea. Make sure you have some snacks accessible—beside your bed, in your car, in your bathroom, in your purse if you carry one.  Carbs (crackers, toast, rice) tend to be what most people crave in the first trimester.  If that’s mostly what you can manage, aim for complex carbs over simple carbs.  Protein based snacks (nuts, cheese, yoghurt) or meals will sustain you for longer.  Consider eating some protein right before bed.   If you find yourself with morning nausea, try eating something before you even get up.  Have a snack ready at your bedside, and wait 20 minutes after eating it before arising.  Eat what you crave and eat what you can!

  • Avoid triggers, as some smells, textures or tastes can bring on nausea or vomiting.  These really vary from person to person but may include things like the smell of food cooking, or coffee.  Some flavours like sweet, sour, salty or bitter can treat or worsen nausea depending on the individual, so consider keeping track of how different foods affect you.  Often rich, fried or spicy foods can bring on nausea; a simple diet is often best.  Hot food can have a stronger odour; eat food at room temperature or cold from the fridge.  Sometimes taking supplements like prenatal vitamins causes nausea:  take with meals or talk to your midwife or doctor if it’s too hard to get them down; she may suggest you take folic acid only until your symptoms improve.

  • Manage salivation (a common side effect of nausea) by sucking on ginger chews (available at health food stores or pharmacies) or something sour (lemon drop candies, sour lollipops, ice cube made from water with lemon juice), or popsicles.

  • Stay hydrated as best as you can (ideally 2L of fluids a day—small sips at a time, and not with meals) as dehydration can contribute to nausea.  Optimal fluids tend to be water, water with lemon, ice cubes (made from water, water with lemon, or herbal teas like lemon balm or ginger), seltzer or sparkling water (fizz is your friend!), ginger tea, gingerale, oral rehydration beverages (natural ones from health food stores are best as Gatorade is very high in sugar), or water with a little salt in it.

  • Vitamin B6 25mg, 3-4 times a day is a supplement that can safely treat nausea, with no significant side effects.

  • Manage stress/emotional response by getting enough sleep (fatigue worsens nausea) and reaching out for support as needed.  For some, there can be an emotional/psychological component to nausea.  Sometimes counseling can help if you are struggling—your midwife or doctor can talk to you more about this.  If necessary, adjust your work hours so that you can take care of yourself—your midwife can write a medical note for you as needed.

  • Exercise might be the last thing on your mind when you’re nauseous, but gently moving your body (particularly outside) can truly help some people.

  •  Active culture sources/digestive aids vary in terms of effectiveness, expense or known benefit.  The following are considered safe in pregnancy:  probiotic supplements (or foods with active cultures like yoghurt) or digestive enzymes (like papain, taken with meals)

  • Ginger can be taken in as capsules (250mg up to 6x/day), or tea (up to 6 cups/day).  In our experience, for some it can be hard to get the capsules or tea down. Other options are sucking on ginger candies, nibbling crystalized ginger, or sipping gingerale/gingerbeer.

  • Acupuncture is an evidence-based treatment for nausea.  Your midwife or doctor can help you find an acupuncturist who is skilled in treating pregnant people.  You can also purchase acupressure bands (also known as “sea bands”) from the pharmacy which provide continuous pressure to “P-6”, an acupressure point used in treating nausea or motion sickness

  • Aromatherapy is used with some caution in pregnancy, but a few drops of citrus (lemon, grapefruit or orange) essential oils in a bath can safely soothe nausea.

  • Diclectin is a commonly prescribed medication for nausea in pregnancy.  It combines Vitamin B6 and an antihistamine.  It can cause drowsiness in some people.  Your midwife or doctor can provide you with more info and a prescription. 

  • Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition characterized by severe nausea and extreme vomiting:  people struggle to keep anything down.  Thankfully it affects only about 1% of pregnancies. Usually treatment involves IV rehydration and often other anti-nausea medications.  If you are struggling to keep anything down for more than 12-24 hours, or are becoming dehydrated, get in touch with your midwife or doctor so that she can help you with treatment.   


Talk to us if you have any more questions about your nausea.  We’re here to help.

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