DIY ways to dial back the nausea.

By Anthea Levi
May 09, 2018

It’s hard enough to go about your day when you’re carrying a developing human in your body. Add to that the intense nausea and vomiting many expectant moms experience thanks to morning sickness, and the so-called happiest time in your life can feel pretty freaking miserable.

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Though some women experience morning sickness for the entire duration of their pregnancy, most find that the vomity feeling subsides after the first 10 to 12 weeks. What can you do about it? Common nausea fighters include munching on crackers and sipping ginger ale. But you've heard that before, so we decided to ask ob-gyns for some lesser-known treatments that are DIY and don't involve meds.

These strategies may not be backed by hard science. But the ob-gyns we spoke to say that they were helpful to their patients. True, what works for one mom-to-be won’t necessarily work for another. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Below, five surprising morning sickness remedies that can help you feel better and function.

Eat lots of small meals

Forget eating three meals a day—grazing may be preferable if you’re having trouble keeping food down while pregnant. “Try to eat more often but not large quantities,” suggests Christine Greves, MD, ob-gyn at Orlando Health Hospital. “That way you avoid having an empty stomach, which can aggravate nausea.”

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It’s also a good idea to opt for carbs first thing in the morning. “Dry toast, for example, is a starch that’s easily digestible,” says Frederick Friedman, MD, director of the division of obstetrics and the division of generalists in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. It's better to eat something boring than eat nothing at all.

Suck this candy

Dr. Friedman says that sucking on Atomic Red Hots has helped combat morning sickness in some women. “My sister tried it and it worked very well for her, so I’ve since recommended it to people and they’ve had reasonable success with it,” he says. “I don’t know why. It may have to do with the chemicals in the candy. Perhaps the sourness of it balances out the nausea, but again, that's complete conjecture.” 

Try acupuncture

You've probably heard that this alternative treatment can ease pain and help clear up acne, among other things. But Dr. Friedman says needle-stick therapy has eased morning sickness symptoms in some of his patients. "As is the case with many so called Eastern or alternative medicine techniques, there’s no actual scientific evidence that it works," he says. "It will be successful in some patients, again we don’t know why." Studies haven't shown acupuncture to be any more successful than a placebo, he adds, but they haven't found that it does any harm, either.

Don’t forget your vitamins

You’ll definitely want to discuss it with your doctor first, but taking 10 to 20 milligrams of vitamin B6 every eight hours could keep the queasiness from setting in. “It's unclear why, but some studies have demonstrated that taking the vitamin can help improve nausea,” says Dr. Greves.

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Air out your home

Since certain odors—such as perfumed hand lotions or cooked foods—can induce nausea in some pregnant women, keeping your home scent-free is key. “Opening the window can help dilute smells, and the breeze might also make one feel better,” says Dr. Friedman.

When to seek help

If you’re struggling to keep food and fluids down, continue to experience severe morning sickness past your fourth month of pregnancy, or vomit blood, it's important that you check in with your doctor.

“Excessive nausea can be really bad, because a woman can start losing weight and becoming dehydrated as a result,” says Dr. Friedman. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth or dark, concentrated urine. “I always tell patients that if they think any of these things are happening, they need to be evaluated immediately, even if nothing is really wrong.” Better to play it safe, especially when you're with baby.