Pregnancy & Birth

Can You Prevent Morning Sickness?

Is there any way to prevent morning sickness? I’m on a mission to find that out. I’ve had severe morning sickness for all three of my pregnancies, but this last time was by far the worst. I wasn’t officially diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum (the pregnancy complication of excessive vomiting/nausea that can sometimes be dangerous.) But I couldn’t even keep water down and my midwife finally insisted that I take the prescription drug Zofran to manage the nausea/vomiting so I could gain back the weight I was losing. It was seriously miserable and I needed lots of support from my husband and extended family to be able to care for our other two children.

As you can imagine, my experience led me to do some research about why morning sickness occurs and seek solutions for future pregnancies (especially because in the past couple of months, Zofran has been designated unsafe for pregnant women, so it won’t even be an option in the future.) But what I discovered is that it’s far more effective to try to prevent morning sickness than to treat it while pregnant. Here’s what I’m trying:

Magnesium Supplements

There seems to be a strong argument for magnesium deficiency as the culprit that causes morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum. It’s likely that with three pregnancies in a little over 4 years, by the third pregnancy of puking all day, my magnesium stores were depleted.

Once you’re pregnant, it’s very difficult to solve the problem of magnesium depletionMagnesium is also hard for your body to absorb in supplement form, so it’s better to take your magnesium transdermally with a lotion or spray. I am trying out these supplements:

  • Supplements I take orally that contain magnesium (not as effective as oils/lotions and baths, but I’m trying to cover all my bases!) I take Shaklee’s OsteoMatrix which contains Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb the magnesium.

B Vitamins

Taking B vitamins before getting pregnant can ease the nausea and vomiting. B6 helps with nausea and B12 helps with vomiting and many women find they help relieve the morning sickness when taken during pregnancy, as well. Find a B-Complex that includes Folic Acid (important for all sexually-active women to take because it can decrease risk of neural tube defects in babies). B vitamins have many other great benefits and since I started taking them daily I’ve noticed a decrease in sugar cravings and an increase in energy (which I need to keep up with my three littles!). I’ve tried a couple different kids and have been happiest with Shaklee’s B Complex. There’s also a connection between B vitamins and our old friend Magnesium, because your body needs B vitamins to absorb magnesium adequately.

A Healthy Gut

Taking probiotics and limiting sugar intake promotes a healthier gut that can better absorb all the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy and for preventing morning sickness. I NEED to cut sugars out of my diet because I know I don’t process them well. And my second pregnancy was by far my easiest and I had been very good about avoiding sugar before I got pregnant. I started taking probiotics and giving them to all three of my kids because it’s so good for their little bodies.

This post about a kind of gut bacteria that thrives in an environment similar to candida yeast seems to corroborate the theory about a sugar/carb heavy diet contributing to severe morning sickness. The post recommends taking colloidal silver and fermented foods/beverages to make the gut inhospitable to this bacteria, so I should probably learn to make kombucha. I’m a little nervous about colloidal silver ever since I learned it can make your skin turn blue….permanently. But it would certainly be worth researching what amount is safe to ingest in order to improve gut health and avoid the morning sickness.

Wellness Mama says to also take Fermented Cod Liver Oil. I’ve never tried that, but at this point I’m willing to try just about anything.  Stephanie swears by it too, she has been taking it for years and gives it to Penelope.

And when I am pregnant again, I am going to remember Stephanie’s lemon water tonic trick too!

Here’s hoping these measures will give me some relief if we’re blessed with another pregnancy! Did you struggle with morning sickness? Did you find any preventative methods helpful?

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  • sarahkeith
    March 6, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Thank you for this information! I didn’t have horrible morning sickness (no vomiting) but I did have constant nausea for several months and if/when I get pregnant again I would love to avoid that!! I am taking note of your suggestions and plan to start taking those supplements. THanks again!

    • Haley
      March 7, 2014 at 12:52 AM

      Yes! Best of luck to you! I started my sugar detox yesterday as part of my discipline for Lent and I can tell I really needed to do it because I am craving sugar ALL THE TIME. Definitely need to do this so that I can be sure all the supplements and magnesium are really being absorbed!

  • Mandy
    March 6, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    I had morning sickness 24/7. A huge game changer for me with my last pregnancy was to stop consuming any and all meat, eggs, etc. that were not organic. My body was already raging with hormones due to the pregnancy and I noticed that when I would finish eating a meal that contained meat at a restaurant, or other place I didn’t have control over the quality of the meat, I would get so so much sicker. It dawned on me that I was just adding even more estrogen to my system by consuming dirty meat! Morning Sickness didn’t go away completely after making this change, but I think it drastically improved!

    • Stephanie
      March 6, 2014 at 2:59 PM

      Good job noticing! Yes, we are living in a world with so much extra fake estrogen! It really does take a toll on the body.

  • Kathryn
    March 9, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    This is an interesting post. My sister suffered from horrible hyperemesis with her pregnancies. She was hospitalized several times with each pregnancy. This was all 20 years ago. It’s interesting because now the one supplement that she says has changed her life is magnesium. She takes it as a powder now and she says it has drastically improved her health, most noticeable in the ability to sleep well and keeping her digestive system, uh, moving along, so to speak… lol Just thought I’d share. I’m sure she was very deficient during her pregnancies.

    • Haley
      March 12, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      Thanks for sharing that, Kathryn! I wonder if that was the source of her horrible hyperemesis!

  • Esther
    March 10, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    These are great tips! I would also add Valerian Hops This is the one I have: http://www.oregonswildharvest.com/owh/browse/product/valerian_hops_alcohol-free I only ever took 1/2 of the amount, 1/2 of the times recommended, but it seemed to help. Something else that I would do is mince fresh ginger, pour boiling water over it (not a lot), let it sit for at least 10 minutes, strain, add a touch of honey & lemon, and just sip small amounts when needed. (Store in fridge.) This kept me from getting sick while riding in the car – it was great! I second your magnesium recommendation: I think that really helped me during my last pregnancy. I like the Natural Calm. Also took fermented cod liver oil. I like this one: http://www.greenpasture.org/public/Products/ButterCodLiverBlend/index.cfm Thanks, Haley!

    • Haley
      March 12, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      I haven’t heard about Valerian Hops, thanks for sharing! And I’ve heard of but never tried the Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Putting it on my list 😉

      • Esther
        March 14, 2014 at 3:15 AM

        Just remembered, something else that helped was taking a big whiff of peppermint essential oil whenever I started to feel sick.

        • Lors
          August 30, 2016 at 1:39 AM

          “started” to feel sick.
          With HG there’s no start and end.It’s continuously and severely distressing.
          You may have just had nausea if you could fix it with some peppermint. That would have sent me to the hospital after I vomited up blood.
          I used to get so angry when people would say suck it up and have some dry toast or crackers. I felt really misunderstood so here’s to you all who I understand.
          Magnesium sounds like it could possibly make a big difference. I hope they do some tests on women with a history of HG by giving them Mag prior to conception. I hope this problem goes away and no more women suffer like I did. Fingers crossed.

  • patty b
    March 10, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-make-magnesium-oil/ I made my own magnesium oil through my last pregnancy.so easy and much cheaper.

    • Haley
      March 12, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      Neat!

  • Adrie @ ALittleWifesHappyLife
    March 11, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    A note about B-Complex… watch the amounts. Large amounts of B-vitamins have been shown to cause neurological issues, and can harm your fertility because they are estrogenic. This really depends on the person! I was taking the B-Complex shown above, and the large amounts of B-Vitamins (over 500 % of the RDA) in the supplement caused lots of cycle issues for me. I have low progesterone naturally, and increasing the B-vitamins caused my estrogen levels to shoot up. Paired with the low progesterone, this made my cycles suuuuper long, and my ovulation patterns really suffered. I would suggest getting a hormone panel done before starting a very high B-complex supplement.

    • Haley
      March 12, 2014 at 5:57 PM

      Good word, Adrie. Thanks for sharing that!

  • Annie
    March 13, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Any recommendations on where to spray/where not to spray the magnesium oil? I just ordered some! And I’m just wondering if there are any more recommended areas to spray & areas to avoid?

    • Haley
      March 13, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      The weird thing about Magnesium oil is that when you first start to use it, it can itch like crazy. So most people start by putting it on their feet and ankles which is a less sensitive area. I put it on my calves at first and it did itch for the first couple of weeks. Now I can spray it on my arms and tummy and it doesn’t bother me at all. Hope it helps, Annie!

  • Sarah Doll
    March 15, 2014 at 5:11 AM

    Although amazing, fermented cod liver oil is the most difficult thing I have ever taken, and I can’t imagine trying to take it while being really sick from pregnancy. 🙁 I have had mild to normal morning sickness so I can’t really speak from experience but my sister was very sick and had extremely low energy until I convinced her to take desiccated liver (from grass fed cows) from radiant life. It really helped my energy overall but it made the world of a difference to her. It’s simply food so you can’t go wrong and it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods we can ever eat. I started taking it months before I conceived my second and his pregnancy was the best – and I certainly notice the days I dont take it I start to feel sluggish. I hope your protocol helps the next time! I also take magnesium and love it, so hopefully that’s your key!

    • Stephanie
      March 24, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      Desiccated liver is a great thing to take too. But just FYI, if you take the capsules, its not so bad at all. AND you want to start taking cod liver oil several months before you even start to conceive…for nutritional stores for the baby, but also your body adapts and the cod liver oil is not so gross after a while.

  • Mary
    March 17, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Look into Milk Thistle as well, if you haven’t already. I took this for six weeks before my third pregnancy and had zero morning sickness whereas I had some (not terrible) with my first two.

  • Bethany
    April 7, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    I am in the second trimester of my fourth pregnancy and trying to decide what the variable is this time because I hardly felt sick at all during the first trimester! I usually get really depressed (think post-partum, but mine was during the first trimester with my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies) and I don’t vomit, but I also get constipated and I just feel sick and it’s all just sitting in the pit of my stomach until week 13 or 14. Here are my changes:

    I started taking a new prenatal vitamin–Garden of Life Raw Prenatal. I take all 3 before bed. It has ginger in it (to help with nausea) and probiotics (keeping me regular every morning when I wake up). It also has folate, not folic acid and a ton of other important vitamins. It’s also in capsule form so I know it’s all being broken down and absorbed in my body (unlike those hard pills).

    I also started to take a DHA vitamin for my Omega 3’s (Carlson Mother’s DHA) to help with my depression symptoms. No depression this time! (I take it right before bed so I don’t taste the orange-y/fishy burps)

    I was also still nursing baby #3. Not sure if that has anything to do with it.

    I didn’t want ANY sweets and noticed that I felt sick anytime I would have a few bites of ice cream or cake. But I didn’t crave it so it was easy to say no. That was only the first few weeks though. Around week 8 I started eating more sweets and I felt fine.

    Or maybe every baby is different and this one for some reason didn’t make me sick. I worry a lot that something is wrong with my baby since I feel so great. I am only 15 weeks along, but my 11-week ultrasound looked great!

  • Gina
    October 8, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    This post is very interesting to me because I just came up with a similar prevention plan for myself to start. Now that it is 7 months since you posted this I am wondering if you can give an update? Where you able to do all the things on this list? How did it make you feel? Did you get pregnant? Did it change your morning sickness?

    Also, did you cut sugars out of your diet? When you say sugars are you talking about carbs too? Can you give me a brief list of the foods you cut out please?

    Thank you for this post! It made me feel more confident in my plan.
    Gina

  • Breanne
    March 17, 2015 at 5:03 PM

    Love all of this information and love your blog! I would love to team up with you somehow, I feature you, you feature me? I just started a new website this year as a L&D nurse titled mommytobeprep.com. I also have a page about nausea and vomiting but share a care package idea with free printables. Let me know your thoughts! Thanks for sharing all of your wisdom!
    -Bre Clinger

    • Stephanie
      March 17, 2015 at 8:31 PM

      I will check it out Breanne, thanks!

  • Ellen
    August 12, 2015 at 1:02 PM

    Hey! I know this is coming waaaay late, but I came across your blog after doing some research of my own. In short, if you listen to what one noteworthy, credible source says and compare it to another still seemingly credible source, they all recommend one thing one year, and then after experimenting on women begin recommending another thing years later!! The fact is, they do not know, and they are doing things based off previous “studies” and what the latest fad is. Why else the constant shift?? And thinking about how a baby is developed in the womb, who CAN know??? It’s too wonderful and detailed on a microscopic level.
    I don’t believe that means we should just throw our hands up, but to start looking in the direction of common sense – what’s really PRACTICAL? Of the thousands of prenatal manufacturers and pharmaceuticals out there….are any of them practical?? What do they know about how nutrients are arranged in nature -and quite easily absorbed by our bodies??
    My personal experience with morning sickness led me to drinking LESS water (we Americans especially are overwaterers- flushing our minerals right on out). I know!! The doctors and experts would wag their finger at me -tut tut. But it was upsetting my stomach every time!….AND what animal drinks left and right (like one source that said pregnant women should drink 10-16 GLASSES of water a day???) rather than when they’re thirsty anyway?? Instead I put down all those spring waters. And drank when I felt thirsty. More than water I now drink oj for the natural folate, and eat juicy fruits. I began taking a mineral salt (Real Salt) which contains around 60 trace minerals found in nature, in small itty bitty amounts like our body was meant to handle, and not some man-made laboratory who’s going to manufacture something that likely isn’t absorbable anyway -or in the right proportions (typically going OVERBOARD). I ate the stereotypical crackers…keeps the acid in your stomach down a bit. Oh but I ate them at NIGHT, just BEFORE going to bed and that totally helped for the following morning. I lay off too much sugar (still) but don’t deprive myself completely. I never had vomitting, just really bad nausea and cramping drinking that water, and thankfully it is so mild by comparison now! My symptoms were everyday. Now they are mild and maybe every third day…totally bearable! 🙂

  • Kristen
    August 6, 2016 at 8:27 AM

    I am 6 weeks pregnant and so far have had no morning sickness. I take a probiotic and magnesium supplement daily (Probio5 and Biocleanse). I have never thought about these two supplements preventing morning sickness but after reading this article, there may be something to it! It’s still a little early to tell. I have been on these supplements for awhile and wanted to continue to take them during my pregnancy. My OBGYN approved! Thanks for the info!

  • Jessica Marques
    August 21, 2016 at 1:11 PM

    No to morning sickness tea is the natural herbal home remedy to treat morning sickness without any harm to baby or mom.