Foods to help with morning sickness

It’s horrible feeling sick, but try these tips to help you cope:

  • Ginger helps some women; try ginger biscuits, tea or cake
  • Sucking peppermints, or eating peppermint flavoured chocolate or drinking peppermint tea may help
  • Try acupressure bands (first developed to help with seasickness). You can find them at chemists and health food shops

About 70 per cent of expectant mums suffer with morning sickness in pregnancy. Find out why you could be feeling sick and which foods can help.

Your sense of smell and taste may have changed

You may find your sense of smell is more sensitive now you are pregnant, and that strong food smells make you feel sick. You could go off spicy and oily foods you normally enjoy too.

What may help:

  • Avoid foods with strong smells, such as curries and fry-ups – go for bland foods instead
  • If you find cooking smells make you feel nauseous, opt for cold foods like salads and sandwiches for a while (or get someone else to cook!)

Foods to try:

  • Low-fat yoghurt
  • Currant bun
  • Banana
  • Rice cakes
  • Rice pudding

Your digestive system slows down

The hormone progesterone gets your womb ready for pregnancy. It also relaxes the muscle walls of your digestive system. That means food passes more slowly through your stomach and gut, increasing your risk of nausea and vomiting.

What may help:

  • Eating little and often will stop your stomach getting too full and reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting
  • Avoid fatty foods as these take longer to digest
  • Base meals around starchy foods like pasta, rice and potatoes
  • Getting plenty of fibre in your diet will help food to move through your gut quicker

Foods to try:

  • Dried apricots
  • Wholegrain cereal with semi-skimmed milk
  • Jacket potato with baked beans
  • Brown rice salad
  • Homemade vegetable soup

Your blood sugar level may be low

Your blood sugar level can dip if you haven’t eaten for a while, and this can make morning sickness worse. That may be why lots of women feel especially sick in the morning, when they haven’t eaten anything all night.

What may help:

  • Eat small regular meals with healthy snacks in between to keep your blood sugar level up
  • Having a snack before bedtime may help to keep your blood sugar up overnight
  • Eating a piece of toast or some plain biscuits before you get out of bed may help to ward off nausea
  • Try to eat a proper breakfast each morning

Foods to try:

  • Fruit salad
  • Cereal bar
  • Handful of dried fruit and nuts (unless allergic to nuts)
  • Homemade smoothie
  • Wholemeal toast

You could be lacking vitamin B6

It’s thought that a lack of vitamin B6 may be linked to nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Low levels have also been linked to severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum).

What may help:

  • Try getting more vitamin B6 from your diet (see Foods to try, below). It isn’t a good idea to take a vitamin B supplement in pregnancy unless your doctor suggests it

Foods to try:

  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals
  • Tinned red salmon (limit portions of oily fish to 2 per week)
  • Avocado pear
  • Pork
  • Mango

Discover more top tips for coping with morning sickness