Managing your Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy

For 40% of pregnant women, nausea and vomiting interferes with their daily lives. It is important to manage your Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy in a way that makes sense to you, based on how you feel and advice from your doctor or nurse.

Why might I want to manage my Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy?

The severity of Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy can vary and some women may only experience very mild symptoms that have little or no impact on them. However, for 40% of pregnant women, Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy can disrupt their lives leaving them unable to go to work or do simple day-to-day tasks.

Although nausea and vomiting can be a normal part of pregnancy, you shouldn’t feel like you have to suffer in silence and there are a number of simple things that can help.

What can I do to manage my Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy?

It is important to know that lots of other women experience difficulty with their symptoms, and often describe feelings of isolation and the negative impact on their family life, social life and employment. There are a number of ways you can manage your Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy:

As each woman’s experience of Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy is different, there are a number of options available to help women manage their symptoms. To help find the best way for you to manage your symptoms, it’s important that you discuss these options with your doctor or midwife because it isn’t a case of ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to managing the condition. If your symptoms don’t improve, please seek medical advice.

Diet & lifestyle changes

If you have Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy, your doctor or nurse may initially recommend that you try a number of changes to your diet and daily life to help reduce your symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest – tiredness can make it worse
  • Drink little and often rather than large amounts as it can help avoid feeling nauseous
  • Eat small, frequent meals high in carbohydrate and low in fat. Sweet and spicy foods have been proven to trigger symptoms in some women
  • Eat plain biscuits about 20 minutes before getting up
  • Avoid any foods or smells that trigger symptoms – you may find that eating cold meals will help with this
  • Avoid drinking cold, tart, or sweet beverages

These diet and lifestyle changes are traditionally recommended as a first step, but they may not work for everyone.

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies can also help reduce symptoms of Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy, but it is advised that you speak with your doctor or nurse to work out what is best for you.

Prescription medication

If you feel that your symptoms of Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy are not improving despite trying lifestyle changes and complementary therapy, it might be time to speak to your doctor, as in many cases it can be treated. Your doctor or nurse may recommend that you take medication to help improve your Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy.

There are a few different ‘classes’ or types of medication that you may be prescribed, depending on what your doctor or nurse think will be of most benefit to you. Women’s health experts in the UK (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) recommend the following treatment approach if lifestyle changes or simple remedies have not worked.

 

Medication to prevent Nausea and vomiting (antiemetics)

  • There are safety and efficacy data for first-line antiemetics such as antihistamines (H1 receptor antagonists) and phenothiazines and they should be prescribed when required for Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy.
  • Combinations of different medicines should be used in women who do not respond to a single antiemetic.
  • You should tell your doctor or nurse about previous adverse reactions to antiemetic therapies. The medicine might have to be changed, depending on the adverse reaction.
  • Clinicians should use antiemetics with which they are familiar and should use medicines from different classes if the first medicine is not effective.
  • Mild nausea and vomiting can generally be managed in the community with antiemetics.

 

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