There are a number of remedies OB-GYNs typically recommend as being safe and effective for morning sickness. Talk to your doctor, though, before taking any medications, herbal remedies and vitamin supplements.
Ginger is an effective non-drug treatment for morning sickness and can be consumed in a number of forms, including capsules. It’s also found in ginger ale, lollipops, tea and lozenges (look for products made with real ginger instead of artificial ginger flavoring). Experts recommend taking one 250 milligram capsule every six hours, four times a day.
“The FDA [Food & Drug Administration] cites ginger on its substances generally recognized as safe [GRAS] list,” says Rachel Adams, M.D., a Baltimore-based OB-GYN and 2021 Forbes Health Advisory Board member. “When compared with placebo, ginger decreases frequency of nausea, but not vomiting.”
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Crackers are low-cost, taste good and are recommended to help ease morning sickness by the March of Dimes, an organization dedicated to the health of mothers and babies. Bland varieties in particular are typically tolerated best.
Try eating some in the morning before you get out of bed, suggests the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It might also help to snack on crackers throughout the day, as well as nuts or fruit.
However, crackers can be high in salt, so keep an eye on your sodium intake. The daily recommended amount of sodium is 2,300 milligrams for healthy women. One Nabisco saltine cracker contains about 135 milligrams of sodium.
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Acupressure Wrist Bands
You don’t have to swallow or drink this remedy—you simply wear it around your wrist. Touted for relieving sea-sickness, these wristbands have been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting among pregnant people. They work by gently stimulating an acupressure point on the inside of the wrist, which may ease nausea.
“Studies looked at [wearing an acupressure wristband] 10 minutes a day, four times daily,” says Dr. Adams. “Other times can be for two to three minutes, several times a day. Sea-Band is the brand commonly used in the studies.”
There’s no harm in trying an acupressure wristband. “Evidence [that wristbands alleviate morning sickness] is mixed,” says Keren Lerner, M.D., an OB-GYN at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. But they cause no adverse effects.
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Acupuncture is a treatment based on ancient Chinese medicine that works to unblock energy pathways in the body called meridians. An acupuncturist inserts tiny thin needles into your skin at specific points to treat and prevent certain conditions.
An Australian study of women in early pregnancy found those who received acupuncture treatments for four weeks experienced less nausea and dry retching than women who didn’t receive acupuncture treatments. And acupuncture is safe, says Dr. Lerner.
“Many patients report improvement in symptoms, but that the improvement may be temporary until [the] next session,” she says.
Ask your healthcare provider to help you find an acupuncturist who is trained in working with pregnant people. Additionally, look for an acupuncturist with credentials—most states require a license, certification or registration to practice acupuncture, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Education, training standards and requirements for obtaining these depend on the state, but a license indicates the practitioner meets standards of knowledge and use of acupuncture.
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Vitamin B6 and Doxylamine
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is safe and easy to find in pharmacies or grocery stores, and can help ease nausea and vomiting, according to ACOG.
“Prevention is key,” says Dr. Adams. “Starting B6 prior to onset of symptoms, and especially one month prior to pregnancy—in a prenatal vitamin—has been shown to decrease the incidence and severity of [nausea and vomiting] of pregnancy.”
Doxylamine, a medication found in over-the-counter sleep aids, can be added if vitamin B6 alone doesn’t help symptoms. It’s an antihistamine, meaning it blocks certain chemicals in the body that cause nausea.
Whether you take either by itself or both together, these two drugs are safe to take during pregnancy and have no harmful effects on the fetus, states ACOG. Your doctor can prescribe a drug that combines vitamin B6 and doxylamine.
If you’re taking B6 alone, take 10 to 25 milligrams every six to eight hours, says Dr. Adams, who adds that the maximum dose of vitamin B6 in pregnancy is 200 milligrams a day. “In combination with doxylamine is Diclegis [a prescription medication], which is 10 milligrams of B6 and 10 milligrams of doxylamine.” You can take this nightly, and may increase to up to four times daily, she says. Another form is Bonjesta, which contains 20 milligrams of B6 and 20 milligrams of doxylamine. You can take up to two tablets daily, she says.