Morning Sickness and Nausea During Pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (also known as morning sickness) is a common condition of early pregnancy.1 The symptoms are usually more common in the morning, but may occur at any time during the day (hence the name ‘morning sickness’).1

It is estimated that up to 80% of women experience nausea or vomiting during pregnancy, with symptoms usually starting at 5 to 10 weeks gestation.2,3 In most cases, symptoms usually ease by 20 weeks gestation.2,3 However, some women (around 2.5 to 10%) may experience symptoms beyond this period.2,3

Morning sickness can have a significant impact on your life, such as affecting your ability to work or continue with normal daily activities.2,3

When you are experiencing morning sickness, the treatment is focused on supportive measures to relieve nausea and vomiting and correct any dehydration (or other electrolyte abnormalities) that may occur.2

General tips for managing nausea and vomiting of pregnancy1,2,4

  • Identify and avoid any known triggers (such as foods or smells that trigger symptoms)
  • Eat small amounts of food regularly (avoid having an empty stomach)
  • Try to eat when less nauseous
  • Avoid fatty and spicy foods
  • Have some dry crackers and water by the bedside – eat before you wake in the morning
  • Get out of bed slowly
  • Try some herbal teas like peppermint or ginger
  • Avoid brushing your teeth soon after eating
  • Rest as often as possible (fatigue can make your nausea worse)
  • Ensure you consume enough fluids (and choose the most appropriate fluid!) (see below for more details)

Treatment of dehydration associated with morning sickness

Mild to moderate dehydration can be a significant health risk for both the mother and the fetus.2 There are two major reasons why you may be at risk of dehydration due to morning sickness:

  • Fluid and electrolytes are lost through vomiting (i.e. a bodily fluid).4
  • You may feel nauseous and eat or drink less than normal.

Common signs and symptoms of dehydration5

  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue / Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Decreased urine output
  • Sticky or dry mouth
  • Dry skin

Here are some tips about staying well hydrated, and managing dehydration related to morning sickness.

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of dehydration, and monitor for these
  • Choose to drink a suitable fluid which will hydrate you properly – water, or an oral rehydration solution (Hydralyte)
    (Note – Oral rehydration solutions contain the correct balance of sugar and salt, which provides rapid and effective hydration. Sugary drinks like soda or sports drinks do not contain the correct balance of sugar and salt for rapid hydration).6
  • Drink small amounts of fluid often (sip small amounts regularly)
  • Try to drink at least two liters of fluid each day
  • Cold or frozen drinks can be better tolerated in morning sickness
    (Tip: Hydralyte oral electrolyte solution is a great tasting ready to drink format which can be kept in the fridge for 1 month after opening!)


In some cases, nausea and vomiting of pregnancy can become more serious. This is called hyperemesis gravidarum.

Oral rehydration solutions are suitable for use during pregnancy. However, it is highly recommended that a woman discuss her symptoms of morning sickness with your midwife or physician as early as possible. For more information, visit


  1. Taylor T. Treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Aust Prescr. 2014;37:42–5.
  2. Bottomley C, Bourne T. Management strategies for hyperemesis. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2009;23:549–64.
  3. Wood H, McKellar L, Lightbody M. Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: Blooming or bloomin’ awful. 2013(26):100–4.
  4. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health. Nausea and Vomiting During pregnancy. 2016. At:
  5. Mayo Clinic. Dehydration. 2014. At:
  6. World Health Organization. Oral rehydration salts: production of the new ORS. 2006. At:


This article was written by ACNM Industry Partner Hydralyte and approved by the ACNM Division of Standards and Practice in June 2016.

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