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Help for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

Help for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

Up to 80% of women experience nausea in pregnancy. Just over 50% of pregnant women experience vomiting. Known as ‘morning sickness’ the nausea or vomiting can occur at any time of the day. Starting about the 5th week of pregnancy, 50% of women report their nausea and/or vomiting has passed by 14 weeks of pregnancy. By 22 weeks 90% of women have relief. The exact cause of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy remains a mystery. Research indicates that there may be a link to changing levels hormones in early pregnancy.

Most cases of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy do not harm you or your baby.

A small number of women will experience severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and need further care. Please contact your midwife or doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting does not improve or becomes worse
  • You are experiencing weight loss
  • You are having trouble keeping down food or drink

Helpful Suggestions

The following suggestions may help you find some relief:

  • Rest
  • Avoid bothersome odours
  • Don’t let your stomach become empty (eat five to six small meals per day high in protein to avoid low blood glucose levels)
  • Avoid fatty and spicy food
  • Eat something before getting out of bed
  • Try salty or tart food and liquids (these tend to be better tolerated)
  • Try cold, clear and carbonated fluids (for example ginger ale or lemonade) in small amounts between meals

Over the Counter Preparations

Many over the counter preparations are available. Please discuss these with your midwife or doctor before trying them. Over the counter preparations include:

  • Ginger
  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
  • Acupressure/acupuncture
  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint Leaf
  • Umeboshi plums
  • Homeopathy
  • Restavit tablets (doxylamine succinate).

Prescription Medication

If dietary and over the counter preparations do not help elevate the symptoms of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy prescription medication may be recommended by your midwife or doctor.

One medication commonly prescribed is Maxolon. Typically is taken three times a day spread evenly apart over the day for maximum effect. Maxolon should be taken 30 minutes prior to meals. Maxolon is rated a category A drug which have been taken by a large number of pregnant women and women of childbearing age without any proven increase in the frequency of malformations or other direct or indirect harmful effects on the fetus having been observed.

Maxolon works by helping block a chemical in your brain which causes nausea and vomiting. Maxolon also acts by increasing the contractions of your stomach and by tightening the muscles at the entry to your stomach and relaxing the ones at the exit of your stomach. The result is food passes through more quickly and decreases the risk of vomiting.


  • Some people experience symptoms of drowsiness, dizziness or tiredness when taking Maxolon. It is important that if you are affected not to drive or operate machinery.
  • Maxolon can increase the rate of absorption of alcohol and its effect on you.

Side Effects

Maxalon may have side effects. If you take Maxalon contact your midwife or doctor if you have any of the following symptoms and they are concerning you:

  • bowel irregularities
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • tiredness

Contact your midwife or doctor right away if:

  • You experience any uncontrolled or repeated movements. This can be a sign of a rare but serious disorder called Tardive Dyskinesia.
  • Fast heart rate


10 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Aug 11, 2013 12:45pm [ 1 ]

You have stated that maxolon is a category A.. This is actually incorrect and giving pregnant woman misleading information.

Jane palmer
Aug 11, 2013 1:09pm [ 2 ]

Dear Amanda - the information on this page is accurate. Maxolon (or Metoclopramide which is its generic name) is a category A drug as classified by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration. You can search drugs and their classifications on this website www.tga.gov.au/hp/medicines-pregnancy.htm

Aug 11, 2013 2:15pm [ 3 ]

Could you please paste a direct link as I have searched the website and can not find it.. Through my nursing studies and research (including MIMS which in the medication guide for doctors and nurses) and 4 pregnancies of my own (with hyperemersis with 2 of those) I have I only known maxolon to be a cat B as there has not been sufficient testing on humans to establish the safely of the baby.

Jane Palmer
Aug 11, 2013 3:53pm [ 4 ]

Dear Amanda - the direct link is in my previous post. You have to scroll through the pop up box and click on "I have read and understood the information above ..." before you can search for "Metoclopramide". TGA only uses generic drug names. If you go and look at a current MIMS - it has Maxolon listed as a category A drug. The article above is accurate. This article was reviewed before posting by a midwifery professor who teaches pharmacology. If you have any questions about drugs in pregnancy or lactation another excellent source of accurate information is Mothersafe www.mothersafe.org.au

Dec 5, 2013 5:05pm [ 5 ]

Amanda is correct. You need to review the information that has been provided In regards to the safety of Maxalon to unborn babies.

Dec 7, 2013 3:34pm [ 6 ]

From what I have just read Maxolon is Cat A Au and Cat B US?? But im confused because of the conflicting comments.
Can this be clarified?

Aug 18, 2014 9:13am [ 7 ]

My MIMS states that Maxolon is catagory A in Austrailian MIMS...

Sep 11, 2014 1:58pm [ 8 ]

It is important to remember doctors and midwifery prescribers DO NOT or SHOULD NOT use MIMS as their reference as it is developed by the pharmeceutical pharmacies, the Australian Medicines Handbook is the evidenced based reference for drugs....the mothertobaby website is also an excellent source of unbiased evidenced based information and the pharmacists at WCH recommend it, there are easy to access/print information sheets cheers

Nov 17, 2014 3:18pm [ 9 ]

lol i typed the name on my maxolin box into the site provided , www.tga.gov.au/hp/medicines-pregnancy.htm , Catagory A.

Dec 14, 2015 12:15pm [ 10 ]

In Australia maxolon is category a. It is a category b in US.

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