How Common is Morning Sickness?

Apr 10, 2023

a woman lays across her bed with her hands over her head looking unwell
Morning sickness is common in the first trimester

Morning sickness affects 8 out of 10 mamas-to-be. That’s pretty darn high if you ask me. But knowing that a bunch of other people are experiencing the same symptom as you doesn’t help when you feel green in the gills. 

This, unfortunately, common pregnancy symptom includes mild nausea and vomiting. 

While morning sickness rates are pretty stinkin’ high, some people are just more susceptible, including those who are …

  1. Pregnant for the first time
  2. Pregnant with a girl
  3. Pregnant with multiples
  4. Pregnant women who have migraines and motion sickness prior to pregnancy 

So what can you do to lessen or (dare I say?) eliminate the chances of spending your mornings hanging over the toilet bowl? 

How to Avoid Morning Sickness 

Here are a few habits to implement now to get your body ready for pregnancy and put you in that blessed 2% that somehow avoids nausea altogether. 

Remember to Eat

How can anyone forget to eat? I know it sounds wild, but when your body is busy growing a whole other human, it’s funny what you forget. An empty stomach is very acidic and makes a perfect storm for triggering nausea (and that burning feeling in your esophagus, yuck!) 

So try to eat 5 or 6 small meals instead of 3 larger ones. That way, you always have a little something in your stomach. Smaller meals are easier to digest, and you can grab a protein bar or trail mix in between sit-down eating times to keep that stomach acid at bay. 

Plus, frequent snacks will keep your blood sugar balanced. This will not only help with nausea but will do wonders for your hormones and mood, AND (here’s the really exciting part!) you’ll have to use the bathroom less (because of mineral balance). Whaaaaaat? Yep, you read that right! But that’s a different post altogether! 

Eat More Protein! 

Protein-rich foods are the best to prevent nausea because they increase the production of a hormone called gastrin, which aids in digestion. Foods like chicken, peanut butter, and beans are nutrient-rich to help your growing baby. 

Beef liver and shellfish (especially oysters) can also be helpful (if you can’t stomach them, try desiccated capsules) because they are high in zinc, iron, copper, and other essential vitamins.

One popular approach is the Brewer Diet. The Brewer Diet is really just a nutrition guide, closely associated with the Bradley Method, that helps to ensure a healthy pregnancy and postpartum recovery. This program recommends 80-100g/day of protein. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re eating enough protein, track it for a few days! I can almost guarantee that you aren’t! 

Once you have a good handle on the minimum 80 grams of protein per day, try to push it a bit further and see how your body (and brain…and Baby) feel about 1.1 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Remember, protein is the building block of growing a human, so eat up, friend!

Best Snacks for Morning Sickness

What’s the best snack to combat morning sickness? Try incorporating foods that are yummy and easy (because you KNOW I’m all about fast, simple meals … this girl doesn’t need more work in her life), like 

  1. Hard-boiled eggs (no judgment if you get them pre-boiled and pre-peeled because busy moms gotta Mom)
  2. Greek yogurt (look for options made with whole milk to boost that protein intake even more)…try it frozen for a protein-based treat
  3. Nuts and trail mix + Bananas and avocados (easy to throw in your bag on the go)
  4. Watermelon, Cucumbers, Citrus fruit (basically anything with high water content is going to help you stay hydrated while getting at least some calories into your body when everything else seems to just come right up)

Keep these on hand for a quick snack whenever you need them … because, mama, you’re gonna need them!

Stay Hydrated

If you are vomiting, it’s suuuuper important to sip on fluids like clear fruit juice or water throughout the day. Ice chips are nice, too (I’m looking at your Sonic ice pellets). My blog post The Importance of Hydration During Pregnancy gives more information on what good hydration can accomplish. It also gives you more suggestions on how to uplevel your water to replace those essential minerals you might otherwise flush out. 

Herbs for Morning Sickness 

You might use them when cooking or in the form of tea, hydrosols, or essential oils. 

More and more women are finding relief in diffusing essential oils during pregnancy. 

Which herbs work best for morning sickness treatment? I say the ones you love the most! But if you’re not sure where to start, the following are highly recommended for nausea of all sorts, including morning sickness. 

  1. Peppermint
  2. Spearmint
  3. Ginger

Make a hot cup of tea, spray a hydrosol on your pillow, or wear essential oil on a diffuser necklace or clay diffusing earrings. 

If you diffuse oils into the air, just make sure if you share your home with others (like children or pets), you are using blends that are safe for everyone. You can check safety at or hit up my amazing sister-in-law for a consult with a certified aromatherapist. 

When Should I Be Worried About Morning Sickness? 

Morning sickness is common. What isn’t expected is Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Only 3 in 100 women experience this extreme condition. 

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

This weird-sounding name is defined as “severe or prolonged vomiting leading to weight loss and dehydration.” If you’re among the few unlucky, your body feels thirsty, tired, dizzy, and lightheaded. And the bad news is it usually does not subside until the baby is born, making for a verrry looong nine months.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is characterized by the following: 

  1. Extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting
  2. Weight loss of 5% or more of your body weight.
  3. Salivating a lot more than usual.
  4. Not peeing much.
  5. Urine is dark yellow and strong-smelling.

It’s important to seek medical help if you are experiencing any of these conditions. Your provider may prescribe some medications to help ease symptoms, such as B-vitamin complex and sleep aides. In extreme cases, you may require hydrating IV fluids or vitamin infusions.

Combating Morning Sickness in the First Trimester

While morning sickness might seem like an inevitable part of pregnancy, it doesn’t have to be. 

Some things definitely make morning sickness worse – like not eating often enough, especially foods high in protein. 

For most, morning sickness is one of those nagging, annoying pregnancy symptoms that, other than making you feel like garbage, is more or less harmless. However, for a few, this symptom develops into a severe condition, hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that should not be ignored. 

Hopefully, the suggestions here will help you feel a little better as you care for yourself and the life within you. 

If you’re ready to dive deeper into all things nutrition, have I got the goods for you! My signature course, “The Comprehensive Birth & Baby Preparation Program,” guides you through important nutrition concepts from those very early first-trimester symptoms (like morning sickness) all the way through your postpartum journey. 

And that’s not all…this course is more than just a birth class- it’s a fully-holistic, completely comprehensive approach to birth classes in Spokane and online. You get nutritional guidance, learn about your powerful body, train for the birth you desire (physically, mentally, and emotionally), prepare your birthing partner for all the skills they will require to support you, and gain support from other new and expecting families just like you! Check it out!

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