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Q&A: How can I deal with morning sickness?

Tuesday March 17, 2020
Q&A: How can I deal with morning sickness?

•      What is morning sickness and why does it happen?

Morning sickness, a combination of nausea and vomiting, is common during early stages of pregnancy. Many women experience this during their first trimester, usually beginning around week 6.


Although it varies from person to person, morning sickness usually peaks at around week 9/10 and subsides by week 16/181,6. Despite the name being misleading, morning sickness can happen at any time of the day. It is often unpleasant and affects 80% of pregnant women in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy1.


It is not known what causes morning sickness, although some researchers believe it could be linked to stress and emotions. Morning sickness is a healthy sign of pregnancy. However, some women may experience a more severe morning sickness (also known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum). Hyperemesis Gravidarum usually occurs during a woman’s first pregnancy, but usually subsides after week 201,6.


Women who are carrying twins/triplets, have a history of motion sickness, or who have experienced it before, are more likely to develop Hyperemesis Gravidarum, but the condition only affects 1-2% of pregnant women.

•      Does everyone get it? 

Not every woman will experience morning sickness. However, 80% of pregnant women will  experience morning sickness in their pregnancy. Morning sickness can differ from person to person, and reactions to hormonal changes are different in everyone, so morning sickness may affect some more than others. 

•      What nutrients can support with this?

Ginger has long been known for its use in traditional Chinese medicine. The antispasmodic effect of ginger has been shown to reduce digestive discomfort2; however, research has shown ginger to reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.


The reasoning behind this is most likely due to its 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol compounds, which are the main bio-actives believed to exert the known pharmacological benefits3. In a review of 6 trials, ginger supplementation of 0.5g-1g help relieve the symptoms and severity of morning sickness.


Alongside this, ginger has also shown to help with severe morning sickness (Hyperemesis Gravidarum). 1g of ginger was given per day, for a total of 8 days and significantly reduced severe vomiting4. Ginger has also shown to increase breast milk volume. In one study, women were supplemented with 1g of ginger per day for 7 days and were shown to have higher breast milk volume after 3 days of supplementation with the ginger, compared to those that did not have the ginger supplementation5


Ginger root

•      What’s the best way to consume these nutrients for best impact? 

As ginger can come in numerous forms such as fresh, dried powdered and ground, and is processed in a variety of ways, concentrations of active ingredients vary quite considerably.


A recent methodological analysis demonstrated that dried ginger powder products contained the highest quantity of gingerol-related compounds, followed by fresh ginger and powdered ginger tea products6. Gingerols are thermally labile, therefore different preparation processes will have an impact on the bioavailability of the active compounds. 

Author: Amy Hipwell is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc in Nutrition.


1. NHS. Vomiting and morning sickness in pregnancy. March 2018. Available at  

2. Keng-Liang Wu;Christopher Rayner;Seng-Kee Chuah (2008) Effects of ginger on gastric emptying and motility in healthy humans. European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 20(5):436-440, MAY 2008

3. Ernst E1, Pittler MH. Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Br J Anaesth. 2000 Mar;84(3):367-71.

4. Karen E. Willetts, Abie Ekangaki, John A Eden (2003) Effect of a ginger extract on pregnancy-induced nausea: A randomised controlled trial ANZJOG 

5. Monazzami Vazifeh Dost, Maryam. (2017). The Effect of Ginger on Breast Milk Volume in the Early Postpartum Period: A Randomized, Double-Blind Controlled Trial.

6. Lete, I & Allue, J. 2016. The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy, Integrative Medicine Insights, (11), 11-17.

This article is for information purposes and does not refer to any individual products. The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Pregnancypregnancy


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