Top 10 Foods That Fight Nausea During Pregnancy

Jun 01, 2024 | 7 min read

Question on this topic? Get an instant answer from AI Doctor.Instant answer from AI Doctor.

Morning sickness, triggered by hormonal changes, is a common challenge during pregnancy. Including foods like bananas, ginger, and peppermint in your diet can help fight nausea and maintain your well-being.

foods that fight nausea during pregnancy

Understanding Morning Sickness

What is Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness is a common symptom of pregnancy characterized by nausea and vomiting. Despite its name, it can occur at any time of the day or night. Typically, it begins around the 4th to 6th week of pregnancy and often subsides by the 14th week. However, some women may experience it throughout their entire pregnancy.

According to the Pubmed publication, approximately 70-85% of pregnant women experience morning sickness to some degree. For most, the symptoms are mild to moderate, but about 15-20% experience more severe symptoms that can persist into the third trimester.

Causes of Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is believed to be caused by several factors, primarily related to the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.

  • Hormonal Changes: The rapid increase in hormones such as human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), estrogen, and progesterone is thought to play a significant role. hCG levels peak around the time morning sickness is usually at its worst, while elevated estrogen and progesterone levels relax the muscles of the digestive tract, slowing down digestion and potentially leading to nausea.
  • Sensitivity to Odors: Pregnant women often develop a heightened sense of smell. Certain odors, even ones that were previously pleasant or neutral, can become intolerable and trigger nausea.
  • Excess Saliva: Increased saliva production, known as ptyalism, can be a response to nausea. This excess saliva can make swallowing more frequent, potentially exacerbating nausea.
  • Stress and Fatigue: Emotional stress and physical fatigue can also trigger or worsen nausea. The body’s response to stress includes the release of various hormones that can impact the digestive system.
  • First-Time Pregnancy: Women who are pregnant for the first time may be more likely to experience morning sickness. This could be due to their bodies adjusting to the new hormonal environment.
  • Genetics: If a woman’s mother or sisters experienced severe morning sickness, she might be more likely to experience it as well. Genetic predisposition plays a role in how the body reacts to pregnancy hormones.
  • Hot Weather: High temperatures can exacerbate nausea by making it harder to stay comfortable and hydrated.

Top 10 Foods to Fight Nausea During Pregnancy

1. Bland, Easy-to-Digest Foods

When you're dealing with nausea during pregnancy, bland and easy-to-digest foods can be incredibly soothing. The B.R.A.T. diet—bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast—is often recommended for its simplicity and effectiveness.

  • Bananas: Gentle on the stomach and provide quick energy.
  • Rice: Plain white rice is easy to digest and helps settle your stomach.
  • Applesauce: A smooth, comforting option that's gentle on your stomach.
  • Toast: Dry toast or crackers can help absorb stomach acids and ease nausea.

These foods are not only easy to keep down but also help maintain your energy levels without overwhelming your digestive system.

2. High-Protein Foods

Protein is essential during pregnancy, and it can also help combat nausea by stabilizing blood sugar levels.

  • Chicken: Grilled or baked chicken is a good source of lean protein.
  • Peanut Butter: Spread on toast or crackers for a quick and satisfying snack.
  • Beans: Rich in protein and fiber, making them a nutritious choice.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Easy to prepare and eat, providing a good source of protein.
  • Hard Cheeses: Cheeses like cheddar or gouda are easier to digest and provide calcium and protein.
  • Nuts: A small handful of nuts can be a convenient and nutritious snack.
  • Lean Beef: Incorporate lean cuts of beef into meals for extra protein.
  • Greek Yogurt: High in protein and probiotics, which aid digestion.

Incorporating these protein-rich foods into your diet can help manage nausea and ensure you’re getting essential nutrients.

3. Cold Beverages and Snacks

Cold foods and drinks are often easier to tolerate and can help reduce nausea.

  • Smoothies: Packed with fruits and vegetables, they are nutritious and soothing.
  • Almond Milk: A gentle alternative to dairy that’s easy on the stomach.
  • Sorbet and Frozen Yogurt: Refreshing and can help soothe an upset stomach.
  • Frozen Fruit: Frozen grapes or berries are a cool, hydrating snack.

These options are less likely to have strong odors, making them easier to consume when feeling nauseous.

4. Ginger

Ginger is well-known for its ability to relieve nausea and can be consumed in various forms.

  • Ginger Tea: Brew from fresh ginger root or ginger tea bags.
  • Ginger Snaps and Candies: Convenient for on-the-go relief.
  • Fresh Ginger: Add to soups or stir-fry for added flavor and relief.

Ginger contains natural compounds that help settle your stomach and reduce nausea.

5. Carbonated Beverages

Some women find relief from nausea with carbonated beverages.

  • Mineral Water: Flavored or plain, it can help with nausea without the added sugar of sodas.
  • Flavored Sparkling Water: A refreshing alternative to plain water.
  • Sugary Sodas: Drinks like ginger ale or lemon-lime soda can help, but consume in moderation due to their sugar content.

Sip these beverages slowly to help alleviate nausea without causing bloating.

6. Herbal Teas and Broth

  • Herbal teas and broth can be soothing and hydrating, making them great options for managing nausea.
  • Chamomile Tea: Known for its calming properties.
  • Peppermint Tea: Helps settle the stomach.
  • Ginger Tea: Offers the benefits of ginger in a warm drink.
  • Broth: Chicken or vegetable broth is hydrating and easy to digest.

7. Fruits and Vegetables High in Water Content

Staying hydrated is key, and these fruits and vegetables can help.

  • Watermelon: Hydrating and refreshing.
  • Cucumbers: High in water content and soothing.
  • Apples: Can be consumed fresh or as applesauce.
  • Strawberries: Another hydrating fruit option.

These foods not only hydrate but also provide essential vitamins and minerals.

8. Citrus Fruits

While acidic for some, citrus fruits can help reduce nausea for others.

  • Lemons: Sniffing or sucking on a lemon can help with nausea.
  • Oranges: Fresh or as juice, they can be refreshing.

9. Peppermint

Peppermint is another natural remedy known for its calming effects on the stomach.

  • Peppermint Tea: Easy to make and very soothing.
  • Peppermint Candies: Convenient for on-the-go relief.
  • Fresh Mint: Add to water or food for a refreshing taste.

Peppermint helps relax the stomach muscles and reduce nausea.

10. Foods High in Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 can help reduce nausea and is crucial for fetal development.

  • Salmon: A rich source of protein and vitamin B6.
  • Avocados: Nutrient-dense and high in healthy fats.
  • Sunflower Seeds: A convenient snack high in vitamin B6.
  • Dried Fruits: Such as prunes and raisins can be good sources of vitamin B6.

Other Tips for Relief

Lifestyle Changes

Implementing specific lifestyle changes can help manage and reduce the severity of morning sickness symptoms.

  • Eat Small, Frequent Meals: Keeping the stomach from being empty can prevent nausea. Aim to eat every 1.5 to 2 hours. Small, frequent meals are easier to digest and can keep blood sugar levels stable, which helps in managing nausea.
  • Separate Liquids from Solid Foods: Drinking and eating at the same time can be overwhelming for the stomach. Try to drink fluids 30 minutes before or after eating solids to make digestion easier.
  • Avoid Triggers: Identify and avoid foods, smells, and environments that trigger nausea. Common triggers include strong perfumes, cooking odors, and spicy or greasy foods.

Hydration Tips

Staying hydrated is crucial, especially if vomiting is frequent.

  • Importance of Staying Hydrated: Dehydration can worsen nausea, so it’s essential to drink enough fluids throughout the day.
  • Best Fluids to Consume and Avoid: Opt for clear, cold fluids that are easy on the stomach. Good choices include water, electrolyte drinks, ginger ale, and herbal teas like peppermint or chamomile. Avoid high-acid drinks like orange juice and caffeinated beverages, which can irritate the stomach.

Additional Tips

Incorporating these additional tips can further help in managing morning sickness effectively:

  • Using Motion Sickness Bands: These bands apply pressure to specific points on the wrist and can help reduce nausea for some women.
  • Keeping Snacks by the Bed: Having plain snacks like crackers or dry toast next to your bed can be helpful. Eating a small amount before getting up can prevent morning nausea.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Practices such as deep breathing, meditation, and prenatal yoga can help reduce stress levels, which can in turn help manage nausea.
  • Wear Loose Clothing: Tight clothing can be uncomfortable and exacerbate nausea. Opt for loose-fitting clothes that do not put pressure on your abdomen.
  • Get Fresh Air: Spending time outside or in well-ventilated areas can help reduce nausea. Fresh air can be particularly soothing and can help to avoid triggering smells.
  • Avoid Lying Flat After Meals: Sitting upright after eating helps digestion. If lying down, use pillows to keep your head and shoulders elevated.
  • Take Vitamin B6 Supplements: Vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce nausea in pregnant women. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.

If nausea and vomiting are severe, causing dehydration, weight loss, or the inability to keep any food down, seek medical advice. Persistent symptoms may require medical intervention or prescription medication.

Remember, while these tips can help manage morning sickness, it’s always important to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice and treatment options.

For further assistance in understanding your pregnancy symptoms, you can use our Symptom Checker tool, but it is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Docus AI Symptom Checker

Docus AI Symptom Checker

Just 3 simple steps to efficiently understand and manage your health symptoms online.

Foods and Drinks to Avoid

Greasy and Processed Foods

Greasy and processed foods can worsen nausea as they are hard to digest and can lead to stomach discomfort.

These foods often contain high levels of fats and additives that slow digestion and increase nausea. They can also lead to heartburn, another common issue during pregnancy.

High-Fat and Spicy Foods

Foods that are high in fat or heavily spiced can trigger nausea and exacerbate digestive issues.

High-fat foods take longer to digest, leading to an overfull stomach and increased nausea. Spicy foods can irritate the stomach lining, causing discomfort and nausea.

Acidic and Gaseous Foods

While some pregnant women find relief with citrus fruits, others may experience increased nausea from acidic foods.

  • Citrus Fruits: These can cause heartburn and stomach upset in some individuals. Monitor your body’s reactions.
  • Carbonated Drinks: These can lead to bloating and gas, increasing feelings of nausea. Consume in moderation and observe how they affect you.

Avoiding these foods can help minimize nausea and keep your digestive system functioning smoothly. Remember, everyone’s body reacts differently, so it's important to find what works best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions?Ask AI Doctor


Managing nausea during pregnancy can be challenging, but with the right dietary choices, you can find relief and maintain your health. Remember, everyone's experience is different, so it's essential to find what works best for you and consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

AI Assistant

Have Questions?

Have a question on this topic? Submit it here and get an instant answer from our AI Doctor.

Please Note!This tool is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a professional before taking any actions.

Make Informed Health Decisions

Talk to Docus AI Doctor, generate health reports, get them validated by Top Doctors from the US and Europe.

Make Informed Health Decisions

You’re only one click away from a life-changing journey

Virtual health assistant powered by AI
350+ world-renowned Doctors