Feeling queasy and vomiting when you’re trying to sleep is no fun. But nausea at night is a common complaint during pregnancy. Read on for tips to manage morning sickness that strikes in the evening or overnight.
Morning sickness is a misleading name. Pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting can strike at any time of day or night. For many women, queasiness peaks in early pregnancy but lingers on and off into the second and third trimesters. And some unlucky ladies deal with nausea their entire pregnancy.
If you’re struggling with waves of nausea keeping you from getting your zzz’s, know that you’re not alone. Here are some practical tips to minimize discomfort and help you get the rest you need.
Snack Before Bed
Eating small, frequent meals is key to controlling pregnancy queasiness. Low blood sugar levels can trigger nausea. So having a light snack before bed and when you first wake up helps keep blood sugar steady overnight.
Keep crackers, cereal, nuts, applesauce, and other easy-to-digest foods on your nightstand for middle-of-the-night nibbling. Cold foods like yogurt and fruit may be more appealing than hot foods when you’re already feeling yucky.
Pack snacks to take with you wherever you go — to work, running errands, etc. Hunger pangs can hit at any time when you’re pregnant. Carry peanut butter crackers, trail mix, and other portable snacks in your purse, glove box, or backpack.
Dehydration makes nausea worse. Sip water, herbal tea, ginger ale, soup broth, and other fluids throughout the day. Set a reminder to drink a glass of water every hour or two.
Keep a water bottle on your nightstand so it’s right there when you wake up parched and queasy in the night. Some women suck on ice chips or frozen fruit to quench thirst.
Avoid drinking too much liquid right before bed to minimize middle-of-the-night bathroom runs. But do drink a glass or two in the evenings — you need fluids to stay hydrated overnight.
Inhaling essential oils may help minimize queasiness. Peppermint, spearmint, ginger, and lemon oils are top choices. You can:
- Diffuse oils in your bedroom at night
- Massage diluted oil on your wrists, temples, chest, and belly
- Add a few drops to a warm bath before bed
- Inhale from bottle lids or soaked cotton balls
- Spritz pillowcases and sheets with an oil-water mix
Experiment to find which scents you like best and the method that works for you.
Avoid Food Triggers
Pay attention to which foods worsen your nausea — then avoid them. Greasy, spicy, and heavy foods are common culprits. But everyone has different triggers. Keeping a food diary can help identify yours.
Some women have luck eating several small bland meals a day versus three large meals. Stick to simple foods like broth, toast, oatmeal, applesauce, potato chips, and crackers.
Don’t force yourself to clean your plate or overeat, which can lead to regurgitation. Stop eating when you feel satisfied, even if you’ve only had a few bites.
Acupressure wristbands apply gentle pressure to acupuncture points on your wrists. This stimulation is believed to relieve nausea.
Studies show acupressure bands reduce morning sickness by about 50% for some women. They’re drug-free and economical, so worth trying. Wear them whenever you tend to feel queasy.
There are also acupressure beads and bracelets designed specifically for pregnancy nausea relief. You can even buy acupressure mats to lay or sit on.
Experiment with Lifestyle Adjustments
While morning sickness is considered a “normal” part of pregnancy, that doesn’t make it any easier to endure. Don’t just resign yourself to suffering. There are lifestyle tweaks that may ease your discomfort:
Get fresh air. If smells trigger nausea, get outside for fresh air after eating and upon waking. Open windows to air out stuffy rooms.
Rest and relax. Fatigue can worsen nausea. Nap during the day as needed. Do relaxing hobbies like reading, yoga, or listening to music before bed.
Exercise gently. Light walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga can boost energy and relieve stress. But take care not to overexert yourself.
Try ginger. Ginger may minimize nausea. Sip ginger tea, ginger ale (the real kind), or flat ginger beer. Eat gingersnaps. Take ginger supplements only under medical supervision.
Wear loose clothing. Tight waistbands put pressure on your abdomen. Opt for loose, comfortable clothes.
Get support. Having someone rub your back or bring you ice chips can be comforting. Consider hiring help for chores if nausea has you run down.
Keep a positive attitude. Remind yourself the nausea means your baby is growing and this too shall pass. Some women feel it’s reassuring that their body is responding “normally” to pregnancy.
See Your Doctor About Severe Vomiting
While nausea and vomiting are common in pregnancy, severe symptoms may signal a more serious condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. It’s characterized by:
- Persistent vomiting
- Weight loss
- Electrolyte imbalances
This severe morning sickness impacts up to 3% of pregnancies. Symptoms usually start before week 12 and peak by weeks 16-20. It requires medical treatment to prevent complications.
See your doctor right away if you:
- Vomit more than 3-4 times per day
- Can’t keep down food/fluids for 24 hours
- Lose weight
- Have dark urine or infrequent urination
- Feel dizzy or faint
With IV fluids, medications, and support, most women overcome hyperemesis and go on to have healthy babies. But it’s crucial to seek help so you and baby stay nourished and stable.
When Does Nausea End?
For most women, morning sickness starts around week 6 of pregnancy. Symptoms typically peak between weeks 8-10, then subside around weeks 12-14. Some women continue having bouts of nausea later into pregnancy though.
A few unlucky souls deal with nausea their entire pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if nausea persists beyond week 14 or severely impairs your quality of life. There are treatment options that can help.
The good news is morning sickness tends to go away soon after delivery. You should start feeling better within a few days of giving birth. Enjoy eating normally again once baby arrives!
Coping with Pregnancy Nausea
Nausea and vomiting can really take a toll during pregnancy. It’s hard to rest, work, and keep up energy levels when you feel miserable. But know that you’re not alone in battling the queasies.
Try the tips above to minimize discomfort:
- Eat frequent small snacks
- Stay hydrated
- Use aromatherapy
- Avoid foods that trigger nausea
- Try acupressure bands
- Experiment with lifestyle adjustments
While annoying, nausea is often reassuring since it means hormones are at work and baby is developing. Focus on taking the best care of yourself possible. And remember — this too shall pass. You’ve got this mama!