Morning Sickness – What to Know and How to Treat it


Last updated on 17 May 2024

In the first trimester of pregnancy, the child grows faster and more intensively than at any other time in its life. The pregnant woman's metabolism is easily overwhelmed by the rapid growth in this phase. For many women, this results in morning sickness. On the one hand, this is a sign of an intact pregnancy, on the other hand, it is a very unpleasant condition.

Learn why morning sickness occurs and what you can do about it. This article was written by Melanie Serret, a certified homeopath for babies, children and adults. Together with her partner Sina she has a practice for osteopathy and homeopathy for children and adults and for body therapy in Berlin.

Morning Sickness – The Why

During pregnancy, hormone levels rise and the pregnancy hormone hCG in particular increases. This can stimulate the vagus nerve and lead to nausea and vomiting.

The vagus nerve is the 10th cranial nerve. It is a parasympathetic nerve and is responsible for good sleep, rest during the night and digestion. Pregnant women's bodies become more “vagotonic” during pregnancy to ensure that they are well nourished. 

Nausea and vomiting are therefore hypervagotonic states, meaning the vagus nerve is irritated.

Nausea alone is a sign of an intact pregnancy and very common (4 out of 5 pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness). 

However, if nausea is accompanied by vomiting, there is a need for treatment, especially if the vomiting increases and the pregnant woman can no longer eat (hyperemesis gravidarum), as the recurring vomiting can lead to exhaustion and dehydration.

The first trimester of pregnancy is a very sensitive phase as this is when the embryo develops its organs. Hence, it is very susceptible to disruption during this time.

It is therefore very important, especially during this time, to avoid chemicals and relevant foods such as raw meat, raw fish, shellfish, too much coffee, unpasteurized dairy products and raw milk cheese. This has to do with the risk of infection although some pregnant people may also feel disgusted by these food groups.

I experience time and again that the foods that trigger nausea during pregnancy are no longer eaten after this phase. It is therefore a good opportunity for the pregnant woman to find out for herself what is good for her and what is not.

Symptoms typically start during the fifth week of pregnancy, peaking around the ninth week. Nausea and vomiting usually stop after 12 weeks. If the symptoms persist for longer, treatment is advisable. Do speak to your gynaecologist or seek treatment with for homeopathic remedies.

Morning Sickness – The Mental Aspect

The psyche and the subconscious also have a major influence on how the pregnant woman experiences her pregnancy.

It plays a role how the pregnant woman experienced her own time in the womb, what childhood experiences shaped her, what phase of life she is in and also how she is integrated into her family and partnership.

It may be that the pregnant woman has difficulties accepting the pregnancy, even if she previously had a great desire to have children.

There may be conflicts in the partnership or in the family, or problems in the professional or other environment may play a role.

Fears of complications or life changes can also lead to increased vomiting.

Practical Tips

Pregnant women need plenty of sleep and rest, even during the day. It is important for the pregnant woman to rest, recuperate and reduce stress as much as possible. To this end, it can be useful to take the pregnant woman out of the workplace and, if necessary, hire a domestic help. This can be covered by your insurance (see our article on insurance-covered postpartum care, which can also be applied for during pregnancy)

Also, it is important that the pregnant woman allows herself to sleep as much as she needs.

For self-treatment, she can drink teas made from peppermint, hops, lemon balm or ginger, for example, which can have a positive effect on the symptoms.

Kietzee partner, OBGYN Dr. Christine Krämer put together some more tips on how to manage the systems of morning sickness:

  • Starting your day with a little something to nibble on while you're still in bed can be a great way to ease into the morning without feeling queasy. Consider reaching for a slice of crisp bread or some dry biscuits – they're gentle on the stomach and can help stave off any morning nausea.

  • During pregnancy, it's wise to be mindful of what you're consuming. Some ingredients and drinks might not sit well with your stomach, such as caffeine, carbonated beverages, overly sweet or fatty foods, and heavily spiced dishes.

  • Instead of large meals, opt for smaller, more frequent portions throughout the day. This can help keep your energy levels steady without overwhelming your digestive system.

  • Staying hydrated is super important. Sip on water, tea, and certain fruit juices to replenish fluids, especially if you're experiencing regular bouts of vomiting. Ginger is known to offer relief – whether you're chewing on candied ginger or sipping on ginger tea, it can help ease nausea.

  • For some extra comfort, try inhaling the scent of a freshly cut lemon – this can have a calming effect.

  • And don't forget to carve out some time for yourself. Fresh air and gentle exercise, like soft sports sessions, can work wonders for both your physical and mental well-being. If you're open to alternative therapies, consider exploring foot reflexology, acupressure, or acupuncture for additional relief.

Oftentimes, homeopathic remedies can also help alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness and are worth exploring. Learn more about how homeopathic remedies can help relieve nausea during the early weeks of pregnancy in our follow-on article.

If homeopathic and herbal remedies don't quite do the trick for you, you can get medication from your gynecologist that can significantly reduce nausea. One such medication is Cariban, though it can cause drowsiness as a side effect. It's best to consult your gynecologist for detailed advice and information.

For an over-the-counter option, you might consider a vitamin B preparation, like Nausema, to help with nausea. Your local pharmacy can provide more guidance on this.

We hope you will feel better soon!

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