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
Help for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

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