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Top 15 Foods That Fight Nausea During Pregnancy

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Top 15 Foods That Fight Nausea During Pregnancy

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • While the cause isn’t always clear, many people feel nauseous while pregnant, especially during weeks 6–20. 
  • Certain foods such as ginger, peppermint, and lemon may help ease nausea, while other bland foods may help curb queasiness and provide nutrition.
  • To help ease nausea, try eating smaller meals throughout the day and eating a snack right before bedtime to avoid having an empty stomach for too long.

Pregnancy can be a joyful and transformative time.

However, many expectant people find themselves experiencing nausea and sometimes vomiting. 

While researchers don’t know the exact cause of morning sickness, knowing which foods may help ease this uncomfortable experience can be helpful.

As a rule of thumb, eating bland foods such as crackers, toast, or rice and easy-to-digest protein sources is a good idea.

Ginger and peppermint have also been shown to help ease mild nausea.

This article delves into what causes nausea during pregnancy, how long morning sickness may last, and a wide range of foods that may help ease nausea. 

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What Causes Nausea During Pregnancy?

Nausea, often called morning sickness, is a common condition that affects about 70% of people who are pregnant.

The severity differs for each person and may range from mild to severe nausea and vomiting that requires hospitalization.

This extreme nausea and vomiting is a condition healthcare providers call hyperemesis gravidarum. 

The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown and may relate to several factors:

  • Rising hormone levels: Some studies link the rise in estrogen or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) during pregnancy to feelings of nausea.
  • Digestive tract changes: During pregnancy, the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach relaxes, which can lead to symptoms of acid reflux and sometimes trigger nausea. 
  • Genetics: Hyperemesis gravidarum sometimes runs in families and may be related to two genes: GDF15 and IGFBP7.

How Long Does Morning Sickness Last?

Morning sickness typically starts between 6–8 weeks and gets better on its own between 16–20 weeks. 

While many people refer to nausea during pregnancy as “morning sickness,” more than 80% of people with nausea during pregnancy feel sick throughout the day. 

The silver lining is that most of the time, having nausea during pregnancy is related to positive outcomes for the fetus such as a lower risk of miscarriage.

There are times, however, when a person with severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is at risk for low birth weight.

Top 15 Foods That Fight Nausea During Pregnancy 

While you may not feel like eating, getting adequate nutrition while pregnant is important.

Eating certain foods may even help you feel some relief from your nausea. 

Here are 15 foods that may help you fight your nausea during pregnancy. 

1. Ginger

Ginger is the root of a flowering plant native to Asian countries.

It has scientifically been recognized as sometimes relieving mild nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy. 

Most studies confirm that ginger is safe to use while pregnant, but it’s always best to talk to your provider first. 

To make ginger tea, add fresh ginger slices to hot water and allow it to steep for several minutes.

Add some honey if you’d like.

You can also incorporate ginger into your cooking by adding it to stir-fries and soups.

Some people also like fresh ginger in their smoothies or to drink ginger soda. 

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2. Lemon

Researchers in 2014 found that lemon aromatherapy has promising results in alleviating nausea during pregnancy.

Another recent study also found that combining lemon and peppermint aromatherapy helps reduce nausea during pregnancy. 

Consider leaving a bowl of fresh lemons at your bedside or use a diffuser with lemon essential oil.

3. Crackers 

Crackers are an anecdotal remedy for easing morning sickness.

Some people find that eating plain crackers before getting out of bed helps reduce their nausea in the morning.

They’re also bland and non-odorous, so they’re easy to eat when you have a low appetite. 

Try keeping plain crackers by your bedside and a pack on hand to snack on if you start feeling nauseous during the day.  

4. Toast

Toast is an easy food to digest that may help ease your nausea.

The mild taste and smell can be comforting if you don’t feel well and have an aversion to some food smells. 

Try having toast in the morning for energy.

You can add a little honey or jam for added flavor. 

5. Bananas 

Bananas are nutritious and easy to digest, making them a good option when you feel nauseous during pregnancy. 

They have a mild flavor and texture and are a good source of potassium and natural sugars.

Have a banana in the morning with your toast, or take a banana with you as a portable snack. 

6. Oatmeal 

Oatmeal is a bland but nourishing option that may help lessen your nausea.

It's easy on the stomach but full of complex carbohydrates and fiber, which is especially important during pregnancy. 

Try your oatmeal with a drizzle of honey or some sliced bananas for added flavor.

Have a bowl for breakfast or as a midday snack. 

7. Dry Cereal

Whole-grain dry cereal low in sugar can be a practical and easy snack when you have nausea during your pregnancy.

Dry cereal is easy to digest and provides an easily digestible source of carbohydrates and iron, an essential nutrient during pregnancy. 

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8. Chicken Broth 

Chicken broth can be a warm and nourishing option to ease nausea related to pregnancy.

The flavors are gentle, and the broth is easy to digest while also hydrating. 

Try putting some in a thermos you can sip on throughout the day to ease nausea and stay hydrated. 

9. Plain Rice

Plain rice is a mild and easily digestible food you can try while feeling poorly.

The bland taste is typically well-tolerated and may soothe your stomach. 

Plain rice provides simple carbohydrates for energy.

Try pairing it with other gentle ingredients or cook it in chicken broth for added flavors. 

10. Dairy-Free Protein Shakes

Dairy-free protein shakes are a smart and convenient way to get protein while easing your nausea.

Protein is an important nutrient that is essential during pregnancy. Full-fat dairy can sometimes be hard on the stomach, so look for low-fat or dairy-free options. 

11. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is known for its soothing properties on the digestive tract, including easing nausea related to pregnancy. 

Opt for the caffeine-free peppermint tea and try sipping on it between meals. 

12. Baked Chicken

Baked chicken is a healthy source of protein, which is important during pregnancy.

Eating baked chicken without the skin is easier to digest than fried chicken and may help ease your nausea.

Incorporate chicken into small and frequent meals or snacks throughout the day.

Try eating it with some rice or adding some pieces to some chicken broth.

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13. Applesauce

Applesauce is a gentle snack for your stomach that’s easy to digest.

It's mild and sweet flavor may be appealing if you are having a queasy stomach. 

Applesauce is also a convenient way to incorporate some vitamins, hydration, and fiber into your diet. 

14. Bland Cooked Vegetables

Cooked vegetables that are bland may help ease some nausea during your pregnancy while also providing you with essential vitamins and minerals. 

Avoid vegetables that are difficult to digest and may cause gas (cabbage, cauliflower, and other cruciferous options).

Instead, eat steamed or baked bland veggies such as carrots, potatoes, green beans, and spinach. 

15. Plain Eggs

Plain eggs are a good source of protein during pregnancy and are an easy food to digest that may help ease morning sickness. 

Try having a supply of boiled eggs on hand for a quick protein snack, or enjoy some scrambled eggs for a meal.

Finding Relief from Nausea During Pregnancy

Other ways you may be able to relieve some of your nausea during pregnancy include:

  • Eat a small snack before bed.
  • Eat small meals every couple of hours throughout the day.
  • Get some fresh air when feeling queasy.
  • Take your prenatal vitamins at night.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Try acupressure wristbands or acupuncture treatment.

Takeaway

Hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy lead to many people feeling nauseous, especially during the first trimester.

Eating foods that are bland and easy to digest may help ease some mild nausea during pregnancy.

Ginger, lemon aromatherapy, and peppermint tea are also known for helping mild nausea. 

It’s also a good idea to avoid larger meals and instead eat small meals every couple of hours throughout the day.

Be sure to stay hydrated and try taking your prenatal vitamins at night right before bedtime. 

How a Dietitian Can Help

A dietitian can play an important role in helping ease your pregnancy-related nausea.

They can provide personalized nutrition advice based on your dietary preferences and intolerances or aversions while helping you meet your nutritional needs. 

Find a prenatal dietitian who can help you manage nausea during pregnancy.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What foods stop pregnancy nausea?

While no food can stop nausea during pregnancy, eating bland foods like toast, crackers, plain rice, and cooked bland vegetables may help ease feelings of mild nausea.

What relieves nausea fast while pregnant?

In scientific studies, ginger has helped relieve nausea related to pregnancy.

Try making ginger tea, adding ginger to your cooking, or drinking a ginger soda.

What drinks stop nausea?

Ginger tea, peppermint tea, ginger soda, or sipping on chicken broth are several drinks that may help ease the nausea you are experiencing during pregnancy.

References

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Nourish has strict sourcing policies and prioritizes primary sources, including medical organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more about our medical review process and editorial guidelines.

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