How can I eat healthily if I’m suffering with morning sickness?
Feeling nauseous and experiencing vomiting – typically referred to as morning sickness, though the symptoms can occur at any time of day – is very common for many women at the beginning of their pregnancy.
These symptoms should subside around weeks 16-20 and aren’t usually harmful to mum or baby. However, in some rare cases (around 1%) severe nausea and vomiting can develop and it can be difficult to keep any food or drink down. This is known as hyperemesis gravidarum, a serious condition which requires medical attention.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can be more difficult when you feel nauseous. However, there are some handy tips you can consider to support your food and drink intake:
- Drink plenty of fluids, aiming to sip them throughout the day instead of drinking large amounts in one go.
- Avoid skipping meals and instead aim to eat little and often throughout the day.
- Choose meals higher in carbohydrate and lower in fat, such as pasta-, potato- or rice-based dishes.
- Plain, savoury snacks such as toast, crackers or crispbreads may be easier to eat than spicy or sweet foods.
- Taking your time in the morning and having a small snack such as a piece of toast before you get up may be helpful if you feel sick when you wake up.
- If the smell of food is making you nauseous, choose cold foods rather than hot foods to try and reduce this.
- Avoid foods and drinks which make you feel nauseous and focus on the things you can eat.
- Ask people close to you for support if possible – for instance, if cooking is difficult due to food smells ask your partner to prepare some food for you, or prepare plainer, non-greasy food for yourself such as a baked potato or simple pasta dish.
- Soups containing vegetables or beans can be a good meal option as they are comforting as well as helping to provide plenty of nutrients and extra fluid to keep hydrated.
- Ginger is a safe, effective way of reducing nausea during pregnancy. Ginger teas or fresh ginger may help to reduce symptoms.
- Staying active may not sound too appealing when you’re not feeling well, but doing gentle exercise such as yoga or stretching may help some women deal with morning sickness symptoms.
- Ensure you get plenty of rest.
If you’re struggling to manage your symptoms please do discuss this with your midwife or doctor.