What To Eat If You Have Morning Sickness

Sometimes the first inkling that you may be pregnant comes from an overwhelming feeling of nausea and an overt need to vomit – thus providing the perfect combination of what is commonly labelled morning sickness. What to eat if you have morning sickness, and are feeling so sick that food is the last thing on your mind, is what we are discussing in this article.

Conservatively, about 70% of women suffer morning sickness in their pregnancies and they can have varying levels of nausea. The following information can help manage even the smallest amount of morning sickness symptoms. Morning sickness usually occurs in the first trimester and hopefully starts to ease by the second trimester. Sometimes it can unfortunately also be all-day sickness for some women.

A really low percentage of women will develop a more severe condition (hyperemesis gravidarum) and require hospital admission. Hyperemesis gravidarum generally appears as severe nausea and vomiting with weight loss and dehydration. Medical attention is required.

Some Reasons Why Morning Sickness May Occur
  • Because you are pregnant and you have different hormones running around in your body
  • Family History
  • High levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body
  • Increased demands on the woman’s body (you are growing a little human)
  • Extra stress in your life

What To Eat if You Have Morning Sickness?

Increase the Potassium in your Diet

Increasing dietary intake of potassium can help some women feel less nauseous. Foods rich in potassium are bananas, avocadoes, dates, cantaloupes/rockmelon, figs, watermelon and vegetables such as broccoli, potatoes, spinach, and dark yellow squash.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin b6 can help relieve some symptoms of morning sickness for some women. Sometimes a supplement is needed but if you are able to eat then food sources include;

  • Poultry and fish
  • Potatoes and other starchy vegetables
  • Fruit (other than citrus)
Increase the Magnesium in your Diet

Sometimes increasing dietary intake of magnesium can help some women feel less nauseous. Foods rich in magnesium are avocadoes, broccoli, spinach, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, beans, whole wheat bread, wheat germ, and whole-wheat cereals.


Ginger tea, ginger ale or raw ginger and ginger tablets etc can help some women to decrease nausea symptoms. Make sure they are made from real and pure ginger.


Mint can sometimes help women feel less nauseous – peppermint tea for example or sucking on a mint, or fresh mint in your tea. These are small things that are worth a try to see if they are helpful.

Have Small Meals Often

Not skipping meals is very important. If you do skip meals in the day it is likely to make the nausea worse. Every 2 -3 hours try to nibble on some food source – you may even have to set an alarm to remind you to try and eat. Eating often will help to maintain blood sugar levels as well. If you do find something that you can eat easily- avoid overeating as it can cause an upset stomach.

Small Amount of Bland Carbohydrate Foods

Small amounts always appear easier for our minds to digest- we do first eat with our eyes.  Try and have a few bites of a plain carbohydrate food like plain biscuits, or bread or pasta.

what to eat if you have morning sickness
Ask Yourself

Sometimes asking yourself “Do I feel like sweet or salty” can help. It can help you decide on what to try. Often the thought of having to eat something can just seem to big so to simply ask “Do I feel like salty or sweet” and then act on your answer can take out the overwhelming feeling of it all being too hard.

Small Drinks Between Meals

Definitely try not to drink whilst you are eating. You really want your food and drink separately. This way you can aim for some nutrition from your food and hydration from your fluid. Sipping small drinks can be beneficial, even trying to drink with a straw can slow the process down. Maybe put your drink in a lovely wine glass with some ice to make it feel more special.

Eat Protein Foods

Try to increase your intake of protein foods. For example, if you are having a dry cracker maybe you could try a little cheese on it to increase your protein intake

Reduce Fatty and Spicy Foods

Heavily spiced or fatty foods can increase feelings of nausea, so be careful what you may order if it’s takeaway or if someone is cooking for you – maybe ask for bland and low fat option. Fatty foods can take longer to digest and spicy foods can actually make acid reflux worse – best to stay away from them.

Food Aversions

Pregnancy certainly can be a strange time – your body is functioning very differently from previously. Obviously, if a food makes you feel overly nauseous then avoid it. It may be important, depending on what that food is, to keep trying it over the length of your pregnancy. The general principle at this time is to try and eat what you feel like eating.

After Vomiting

If you do experience vomiting it is often beneficial to have an ice block to help to hydrate yourself afterwards. It may be the last thing you feel like doing – but it may help your recovery. Remember a really low percentage of women will develop a more severe condition (hyperemesis gravidarum) and require hospital admission. Hyperemesis gravidarum generally appears as severe nausea and vomiting with weight loss and dehydration. Medical attention is required.

Before You Go To Bed

Sometimes women can have some success to reduce their morning sickness if they have a snack just before they go to bed. Just remember to choose plain, carbohydrate food.

Before You Get Out of Bed

Before you jump out of bed have a dry biscuit (maybe put it by your bedside the night before) and maybe a cup of tea to eat/drink. Sit up slowly in bed, nibble away at the biscuit and slowly arise to your day.

A Note About Nutrition

Being pregnant and having morning sickness is a difficult time. To try and balance what you may know you need to eat in pregnancy and what you are physically able to eat is a balancing act. If you are worried about your nutrition your country may have a list of registered or accredited dietitians for example or your midwife or your GP.

A Word About Fluids

Fluids are really important so if you are vomiting it is extra important that you try to stay hydrated. If you cannot keep fluids down and you are dizzy and weak you need to seek medical attention right away.

TIPS to increase fluids

  • Small drinks/sips often
  • Sip through a straw and have it in a nice glass – makes it more enjoyable
  • Most women find cold drinks are more palatable
  • Try a variety of fluids – lemonade, clear soups, crushed ice, slushes, ice blocks etc
  • Sometimes it is worth measuring how much fluid you have actually consumed in a day (this can help if you need to report to medical personnel)
  • You may need some oral rehydration solution – talk to your GP and your pharmacist

Non-food Tips to Help Morning Sickness


It is hard to juggle life, work, maybe other babies, family, taking the dog for a walk, shopping etc the list is endless but to prioritise your rest, when you can, is encouraged. Accepting help or asking for help so you can rest is a wonderful art to start practicing now before your little one actually arrives.


Try and find the routines or activities that actually help to relax you – and do more of them! Pamper sessions, skincare routine, bath time, reading, sitting in the shade outside, movies etc. Bliss!

Sometimes Keeping Busy

This is personal and will work for a small group of women. Some women find that having a list of things (not too big) “to do” that requires leaving the house or meeting with people actually helps to take some focus off their morning sickness symptoms.

Light Exercise

Sometimes light exercise can help to reduce nauseous symptoms. Fresh air, focussing on something else and moving your body can be very beneficial. There are also exercise physiologist and physiotherapists that can direct you in this area as well – talk to your midwife and GP.

Remove Yourself from Smells

If possible, remove yourself from the cooking smell of food and food preparation. Food smells, especially heating of the food, can make nausea worse. Can you ask someone else to prepare meals, or cook the BBQ outside for example?   

Avoid Brushing Your Teeth After Eating

Some people find cleaning their teeth nauseating on a full stomach – if this is you then let your dinner settle well before cleaning your teeth. Pregnancy is an important time to look after your dental health so do not stop cleaning your teeth.

Talk to your midwife or Doctor if your morning sickness is worrying you – they are there to help you.

  • Gilbert E: Manual of High Risk Pregnancy & Delivery, 2011
  • Pairman et al; Midwifery Preparation for Practice, 2015
  • Davey L, Houghton D; The Midwife’s Pocket Formulary, 2013
  • Raynor M, Catling C; Survival Guide to Midwifery, 2017

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