What to Eat When You’re Pregnant and Nauseous

A bowl of chicken noodle soup and a side of crackers what to eat when you're pregnant and nauseous main header image.

Wondering what to eat when you’re pregnant and nauseous? As a mom of two, I get it! While we want to make sure we are providing for our growing fetus, the nausea along with the many other symptoms that arise can make it very challenging. Still, it’s very important to make sure you’re at least eating something even when you don’t feel like it. 

In fact, most women find that if they go too long without eating it can actually make symptoms worse. Let’s discuss what strategies to try to improve nausea and vomiting symptoms, what foods to prioritize, and easy recipes to try. 

What Causes Nausea During Pregnancy?

Nausea and vomiting affects up to 70% of pregnant women, and typically begins around 6-8 weeks gestation. I experienced both with my second child and one study found it is more common if this isn’t your first pregnancy! 

As much as it sucks, it’s actually a good sign – and has been associated with a decreased risk of miscarriage. 

Did you know the true etiology of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is still unknown? A recent study came out recently that theorizes it might be related to a protein made by the fetus – while other experts have said it’s probably due to a rise in our hormones.

What Eating Strategies Can Help With Nausea?

  • Eating small meals throughout the day: Try to eat as soon as you feel hungry to avoid eating on an empty stomach, which has been shown to aggravate nausea. Eat smaller, more frequent meals at a slow pace instead of skipping meals.
  • Know Your Triggers: Try to figure out which foods or situations exacerbate your symptoms – and avoid them. Even further, recognize what foods you can tolerate and try to prioritize those.
  • Small Sips of Liquids: Even drinking too much at once can cause distress! I remember I tried drinking a smoothie first trimester – only to throw it right back up. If this is you, take frequent, small sips of liquids throughout the day. You might even want to avoid drinking while you’re eating to prevent that feeling of fullness or too much in your stomach at once. 

What to Eat When You’re Pregnant and Nauseous

It’s important to remember that everyone’s pregnancy journey is different. These are just recommendations – some might be able to stomach ginger, while others may not. 

Foods with Vitamin B6

A 2023 meta-analysis confirmed that vitamin B6 has the potential to reduce nausea and vomiting symptoms. Vitamin B6 is found in a variety of foods, like chickpeas, dark leafy greens, bananas, papayas, milk, salmon, eggs, beef, and carrots. 

I actually took a vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) supplement, along with Unisom, to help with my nausea – but make sure to discuss with your OB before trying this!

Foods to eat when you're pregnant and nauseous: ginger, lemon, tea, and dark leafy greens.

Ginger

A recent study analyzed if ginger actually reduces the severity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, and you know what they found? That it can significantly relieve general nausea/vomiting symptoms – possibly even more so than vitamin B6. 

Many people rely on ginger drops or lozenges to help relieve their symptoms so that they can tolerate eating – but some complain that the effects are not long-lasting.

Ginger Products and Recipes

  • Sweet Ginger Pear Tummy Drops: I actually used these during my pregnancy. Formulated by a board-certified gastroenterologist, these lozenges have a little bit of sweetness to counteract the spiciness of the ginger.
  • Traditional Medicinals Morning Ease Lemon Ginger LozengesAnother popular option with many reviewers stating they love the taste.
  • Ginger Tea from Ovia Health
  • Lemon Ginger Popsicles from the Harvest Kitchen: These are a great idea because there is research that shows cold foods are more tolerable than hot foods when nauseous. Not only that, lemon has been shown to help with symptoms as well. Popsicles also provide additional fluid if you feel like you’re not consuming enough. 

As an Amazon affiliate, this post does contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small compensation when a purchase is made. However, I only promote products I love and feel would be useful to you!

Related Posts:

Foods Higher in Protein

Some research studies have found that meals with a higher protein content, as compared to fat and carbohydrates, can reduce nausea and help to regulate stomach activity. Stick to smaller meals with a protein source – an appropriate serving size is about 4 ounces, or the size of a deck of cards. 

Broth-Based Soups

Broth-based soups are typically bland and contain sodium – which can help prevent electrolyte imbalances if you’re vomiting. The vegetables and meat that accompany a broth-based soup are softened and this makes them easier to digest. 

For example, a simple chicken noodle soup with diced chicken and carrots or any of these soups for an upset stomach.

Peppermint

Peppermint has long been a treatment approach for nausea and vomiting relief, specifically in cancer patients. This study found that 40 drops of peppermint extract mixed in water improved symptoms for patients with breast cancer. Further studies are needed, but peppermint candies or candy canes might help if you’re pregnant and nauseous. 

Bland, Easily Digestible Foods

You’ve probably heard of the “BRAT” diet – which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. It is often recommended for the stomach flu because these foods are bland and easily-digestible. 

Other foods that follow the same principles: well-cooked fruits or vegetables, diced chicken or salmon, eggs, grains made with white flour like bread, oatmeal, and yogurt. 

Electrolyte Drinks

If you experience more severe nausea with vomiting, a goal should be preventing electrolyte abnormalities. This might mean that taking small sips of electrolyte drinks would be a better option than drinking water throughout the day.

Oral rehydration solutions provide additional glucose, potassium, and sodium, and help to rehydrate quicker due to the sodium-glucose cotransporter. 

Pedialyte and Liquid IV are great options to drink in moderation if you’re having difficulty keeping any fluids down – but discuss with your OB first. Coconut water is another idea because it’s tasty and often contains electrolytes!

Recipe Ideas

Small, bland, easily digestible recipe ideas for when you’re pregnant and feeling nauseous – with some of the above recommended strategies included. Remember to eat slowly and chew thoroughly. 

Breakfast/Snack Ideas

  • Eggs on Avocado Toast.
  • Hard-boiled Eggs and Saltine Crackers.
  • Quick and Easy Banana Muffins by The Baking Addiction.
  • Watermelon and Mixed Nuts.
  • Apples/Bananas and Nut Butter
  • Coconut Water Smoothie by Tori Avey.
  • Cereal with Banana Slices.
  • Oatmeal with Canned Peaches.
  • Stewed Meat and Mashed Potatoes.
Cottage cheese avocado toast on a white plate for a high protein breakfast idea.

Lunch and Dinner Ideas

Figuring Out What Works For You

It’s hard trying to prioritize nutrition when you’re pregnant and juggling all of the never-ending symptoms that seem to be associated with it! The good news is – usually nausea symptoms start to improve around 12 weeks. 

Remember to eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and aim for smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. What works for you might be a little different than what works for someone else. 

Peppermint, lemon, and ginger might help reduce the severity of your symptoms. While taking a B6 supplement could be a helpful option, make sure to run it by your doctor first.

I hope some of these tips help you out, but each person is different – and it’s fine to eat whatever it is you can tolerate! Feel free to check out my other pregnancy resources to help you on your journey. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *