Morning sickness, be gone! 6 foods that can help soothe pregnancy nausea

Is there anything worse than that queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach?
Written by
Julia Hammond
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Last updated on
June 3, 2024
min read
All of the Foods That Fight Nausea During Pregnancy | Kin Fertility
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Early pregnancy is full of beautiful moments — from sharing the news with loved ones to dreaming of a future with your child. Not every moment is a winner though. Morning sickness, we're looking at you.

A loss of appetite during pregnancy is pretty common and some experts even think morning sickness could be a good sign for your baby’s health. But that doesn't make it easier to deal with nausea and vomiting.

What if we told you there was another way? A way to fight nausea during pregnancy. And, it's as easy as making a great grocery list. Without further ado, here is our list of foods that fight nausea during pregnancy.

What is nausea?

Is there anything worse than that queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach? Like something bad is bubbling and it desperately wants to come back up.

The dictionary defines nausea as stomach distress with a distaste for food and an urge to vomit. But we bet you didn’t need us to tell you that.

Pregnancy nausea often goes by another name — morning sickness. It's common in the first trimester; starting around week 6 of pregnancy and settling down by week 14 [1][4]. Morning sickness tends to peak early in the day which is one reason the name has stuck [6].

Even so, morning sickness can happen at any time of the day or night. Many researchers refer to it as nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) instead [3].

Not every woman will have to deal with nausea during pregnancy, but there are a few things that make it more likely. If you're pregnant with twins or triplets, have a family history of pregnancy nausea or suffer from motion sickness, you're more likely to experience morning sickness [8].

How long do morning sickness symptoms last?

In good news, morning sickness usually resolves itself during the first trimester, often by week 12 or 14 [6].

It's really unusual to experience morning sickness for the first time later than week 10 of pregnancy. If this happens, make sure to check in with your doctor [4].

What causes nausea during pregnancy?

It might surprise you to learn we don’t know for sure what causes nausea during pregnancy. We have quite a few theories though.

The main one is linked to the hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy. Elevated hCG levels and a lot more oestrogen are probably to blame. A few other theories include [3][4][6]:

  • Fluctuations in blood pressure, especially low blood pressure
  • Your body adjusting to the changes of early pregnancy
  • A heightened sense of taste and smell that make food less appealing
  • Your body is rejecting foods that could carry risk to you or your baby because you have a lower immune system in early pregnancy 

It's also possible that morning sickness comes from low levels of potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6, which is one really great argument for taking prenatal vitamins each day [4].

Some women do find their prenatal makes them feel sick — if you struggle with morning sickness symptoms after taking a prenatal vitamin, experts suggest taking it at night instead of in the morning [2].

Will my baby be affected by morning sickness?

A common concern is that morning sickness symptoms, like retching and vomiting, will harm your little bub. Rest assured, they are safe in the womb.

While you might experience abdominal soreness or discomfort yourself, moderate morning sickness won’t hurt your baby [1][6]. 

Dealing with severe morning sickness

Severe morning sickness is a different story as it can lead to risk factors like weight loss and dehydration. It’s known as hyperemesis gravidarum and is a very rare condition [1].

It happens in only 1-3% of pregnancies, with a family history making you more susceptible [2]. It's often a good idea to chat with loved ones about their pregnancy experience, so you can be prepared for any conditions you might share.

If you experience prolonged vomiting or feel sick every time you eat or drink, then it’s worth speaking to your healthcare provider. Early treatment for any severe form of morning sickness is the best way to protect yourself and your baby [4].

The best foods for fighting pregnancy nausea

We know it can be so hard to focus on eating well when your stomach feels like a choppy sea. The first thing we hope you do is cut yourself some slack.

Eating any food is better than none, so try to have whatever your body will allow [8]. Here are 6 diet tips and foods that fight nausea during pregnancy.

Try simple foods, more often 

Morning sickness is often worse on an empty stomach, which means eating lots of little meals and snacks can be beneficial. Simple or bland foods that are high in protein, low in fat and easy to digest work well [2].

Some ideas include [1]:

  • Toast with honey or jam
  • Fresh or stewed fruits
  • Ice cream, custard or yoghurt
  • Steamed chicken
  • Baked or grilled fish
  • Boiled or scrambled eggs
  • Boiled rice
  • Mashed potatoes

Salty foods like crisps and crackers tend to be popular to treat morning sickness, as well as sucking on barley sugar or boiled sweets [1].

Bland carbohydrates

A lot of pregnant women find that bland carbs are easy to keep down. Since they help prevent low blood sugar, they can also help keep morning sickness at bay. Try things like bananas, bread, pasta or rice [2][6][8].

Foods high in vitamin B6 

Research has found that healthy levels of vitamin B6 can reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It’s even used as a treatment option for hyperemesis gravidarum.

Lots of delicious food will serve you some vitamin B6, such as [7][8]:

  • Tofu
  • Salmon and tuna
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Beef
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
  • Raisins
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Lentils and chickpeas

Cold foods

A steaming hot plate of food is appetising at the best of times, but this isn’t those times. Many women find eating cold foods can help relieve morning sickness [1]. Try things like chilled fruits, smoothies or a homemade salad.

If food smells are a big problem for you, consider asking friends or family to help you with cooking.

Protein-rich foods

Protein helps you feel full, which is great for treating pregnancy nausea. For food choices, there are nuts and cheese, eggs, yoghurt and peanut butter [4][8].

Some women find that liquid meals are easier to digest [8]. You could try blending up a protein smoothie or opt for a faster option like The Essential Protein from Kin. This tasty vanilla drink is full of vitamin C, calcium and protein; just what your hungry body needs.

Probiotic foods and supplements

New research has found that probiotics can help fight nausea and constipation during pregnancy. It was only a small study, so there’s still a lot to learn — but it’s a good start. You can get a dose of the good bacteria from foods like Greek yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut or tempeh [5]. 

Lots of fluids

Okay, it’s not technically food but staying hydrated is so essential during pregnancy. You actually need more fluids while pregnant because your blood volume increases to support your baby. An extra 750-1000ml is ideal, which means aiming for 9 cups a day [2].

Dehydration is known to make nausea and vomiting worse. If you find water makes you feel sick, you can try other fluids — like flat lemonade, sports drinks, cordial, dry ginger ale and herbal teas [1].

Sometimes drinking with meals makes nausea worse too. See if you can time your fluids so that they are at least a half hour before or after eating [8].

If 9 cups a day still feels out of reach, you could try a daily rehydration solution like The Electrolyte Powder. It can help keep your water levels up while providing essential nutrients to you and your baby.

It’s essential to speak with your doctor before using electrolytes. They will make sure it’s safe to take with any other supplements or medications you might be on, including those from Kin.

What should I eat if I feel like throwing up during pregnancy?

Dealing with morning sickness on and off for weeks is no way to live. Here are a couple of foods to help you fight nausea and get back to your day.

Eat an emergency biscuit

It’s common to feel nauseous first thing in the morning, before you’ve even made it out of bed. It can help to have a small snack to settle the stomach acids.

Many women keep dry biscuits, corn thins, rice cakes or plain sweet biscuits like ginger snaps by their bed. You can have one first thing in the morning or if you wake up during the night [1][2][6].

Calm down with a cup of tea

Another all-natural remedy is a soothing cup of ginger tea. Kin’s Morning Sickness Tea is a warming blend of ginger and peppermint; both of which can settle an upset stomach. It’s 100% organic and can be enjoyed hot or iced at any time of the day or night.

This is also a great opportunity to get some rest. Your body is doing much more than you realise behind the scenes to have a healthy pregnancy. We know that being over-tired makes nausea worse, so sit back and get those feet up [4]. This time is for you. 

Can certain foods cause pregnancy nausea?

What could be worse than indulging in a big meal, only for it to leave you with an upset stomach for hours afterwards? For pregnant women, a few foods are believed to trigger nausea, so they're worth avoiding.

These include fatty, rich, greasy and spicy foods. Things like bacon, butter, gravy, pastries, fried meats, hot chips and super buttery dishes. While delicious, all of these ingredients are hard to digest, which can contribute to pregnancy nausea [1][2][8]. 

Highly spiced foods can also trigger nausea and vomiting. Try to lean on simple spices like salt, parsley or thyme for now [8].

Photo credit: Getty Images

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