Morning sickness

Many women feel sick or throw up (vomit) during pregnancy. Although it’s called ‘morning sickness’, it can happen at any time of the day. It’s usually worse during the first 3 months of pregnancy.

Some pregnant women experience changes in taste or find that they can’t eat certain foods or cope with some smells. But everyone is different – you’ll need to find out what makes you feel sick and try to avoid those things.

Causes of morning sickness

Hormone levels increase in the first 3 months to help maintain the pregnancy – but these increases can cause women to feel sick or throw up. Most women feel better by 12–16 weeks.

Coping with morning sickness

Get plenty of rest.

Eating small snacks often – every 2 hours – can help. Try a dry cracker or a plain biscuit before getting up in the morning. Have a cheese sandwich or some yoghurt before you go to bed. You could also try eating wet and dry foods separately. For example, eat a piece of toast, wait an hour and then have a drink.

Ginger may also help. You could try ginger in the form of tea, ginger ale, ginger beer (as long as it has no alcohol), capsules or biscuits.

Acupressure bands worn on your wrists like a bangle or watch may help. These are often used for travel sickness and you can buy them from a pharmacy.

When to get help

See your midwife (or specialist doctor) if you keep throwing up and you can’t keep any food or water down.

Also see your midwife (or specialist doctor) if you:

  • are losing weight
  • are going to the toilet (weeing) less often than usual.

Related websites

Morning sickness – Health Navigator
Information on coping with morning sickness.

Common concerns and issues – National Women’s Health (Auckland District Health Board)
Includes morning sickness and how to cope with it.

Coping with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (PDF, 245 KB) – HealthInfo (Canterbury District Health Board)
Ideas on coping with morning sickness.

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