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Dealing With Morning Sickness While at Work

Hannah Chow |18, April 2015


Let's face it, morning sickness for expectant mothers is not always in the morning and doesn't always end with the first trimester. For most women, pregnancy sickness starts at six weeks, peaks by nine weeks, and tapers off by the end of the first trimester. For others, pregnancy sickness and nausea can last the entire day and throughout the entire pregnancy. According to Christian Nordqvist from Medical News Today, "Morning sickness affects over half of all pregnant mothers. It is generally related to an increase in estrogen levels, low blood sugar counts, and a greater susceptibility to some smells." For expectant mothers that still need to show up for work everyday, morning sickness can be difficult to endure.

Is preventing morning sickness possible? There are a few things to keep in mind once you see that positive pregnancy test: food, liquids, getting a good night's rest, and telling your boss (maybe even before you tell your family).


The last thing an expectant mother wants to do is eat when she is feeling nauseous. Don't allow your body to get to that point though. Eat frequently and try not to get too full. Prevent the nausea before it hits. While you cannot eliminate it entirely, there are a few dietary choices you can make to help reduce nausea and prevent vomiting. Pack your lunches for work so you are not allowing yourself to go hungry. When one is hungry, the blood sugar dips which contributes to feelings of nausea. Many expectant mothers experience nausea in the morning because they haven't eaten in hours. Try to keep some crackers near the bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night for those lovely bladder-relieving sessions, eat a cracker or two before going back to bed. This way, your body's blood sugar doesn't have a chance to drop. By morning time, you will be feeling like yourself again and ready for a complete day at work.

Try to eat five to six small meals a day instead of two or three big meals. This prevents your blood sugar from spiking. Try to eat bland foods. Avoid spicy foods, fatty foods, and foods with strong odors. Most sickness and nausea in expectant mothers is caused by hunger. Pack your lunches with foods high in vitamin B6, magnesium, and folic acid. Brown rice is a great source of vitamins like B6 and magnesium. Napa cabbage is a great source of folic acid. Folic acid is important because it prevents neural tube defects. Vitamin B6, magnesium, and folic acid helps to reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.


Drink water throughout the day. There are a few things one can do for fast relief of nausea and vomiting. Make sure you stay hydrated. Divide your body weight in half to determine how many ounces of water you should be drinking each day. For example, at 140 pounds, you should be consuming a minimum of 70 ounces of water or approximately nine glasses of water each day. If you do not like water plain, try adding some lemon or even ginger root to add some flavor. Elizabeth Lyster, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Holtorf Medical Group in Foster City, California says, "Don't get behind the eight ball—don't try to tough it out. A baby is fine if the mother can't eat food, but the baby won't be fine if mom can't stay hydrated."

Bring tea to work with you. Decaffeinated ginger or peppermint tea helps prevent nausea. Not a tea enthusiast? That's okay. Ginger can be purchased in its authentic root form at the grocery store and peeled or shredded onto your meals. Peppermint can be found in plant form or if you have a sweet tooth, try peppermint candies.


Remember to get lots of sleep. Nausea and fatigue can sometimes be triggered by lack of sleep. Dr. Howard Sharp, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah says, "a lot of women get a good nights sleep with body pillows. Try sleeping on your left side with a body pillow to increase the amount of blood and nutrients reaching the placenta." Pregnancy can be uncomfortable. Getting a good night's sleep may not be as easy as when you weren't pregnant. Set yourself up for success though.

Purchase a body pillow or simply position pillows around you to create a comfortable cocoon. Avoid drinking too much liquid right before bedtime. And don't forget to keep a box of crackers next to the bed so when you do wake up, you can balance the acidic levels in your stomach with a cracker or two and wake up the next morning free from nausea symptoms and ready for work.

Tell Your Boss

As long as your pregnancy symptoms are not demobilizing or affecting your electrolytes, speak with your doctor at your next appointment about what he or she might suggest to make you feel more comfortable at work. In the meantime, talk to your boss and let them know what's going on. Most women want to wait until after the first trimester to share the exciting news. Informing your boss of the pregnancy early can help that first trimester be less stressful knowing that someone is at work, considering your circumstances, and understanding that you may not be at your best capacity for a few weeks.

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