How to Treat Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

When it comes to treating nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, making certain changes in your eating habits is fundamental. Read more to find out how!
How to Treat Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy
Sara Viruega Encinas

Written and verified by the pharmacist Sara Viruega Encinas.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are the most common symptoms that women experience. This is especially true during the first months of pregnancy, or the first trimester.

In fact, experts estimate that up to 80% of pregnant women experience these symptoms to one degree or another. In general, they’re more common during the morning and women begin to feel better over the course of the day. Just the same, each women’s experience is unique.

In general, by the time a woman reaches 20 weeks of gestation, these uncomfortable symptoms go away. However, in some exceptional cases, women can even come to experience them throughout the entire duration of their pregnancy.

One of these extreme cases is known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). This is a serious disorder characterized by the presence of intense and persistent vomiting, leading to possible dehydration and weight loss. In these situations, medical treatment is essential to restoring the body’s electrolyte balance.

Why do women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy?

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy have to do with hormonal changes that occur during this stage of gestation. While the exact causes are unknown, experts attribute them, mainly, to an increase in the concentration of two hormones:

How to Treat Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

Other hormones also play a part in these unpleasant symptoms. One example is the slowing down of peristaltic movements in the intestine as a result of an increase in progesterone. This also has an influence on the onset of gastrointestinal symptoms.

How to treat vomiting and nausea during pregnancy

In order to deal with these issues and relieve symptoms, it’s important to implement certain changes in your eating habits. For example:

  • Eat smaller meals several times throughout the day. In other words, rather than eating 3 large meals per day, cut down the portion size and eat 5 or 6 times throughout the day. The objective is to keep the stomach from becoming completely empty at any point.
  • Don’t wait until you’re hungry to eat.
  • Eat light foods that are easy to digest. For example, rice, bananas, apples, toast, cereal, etc.
  • Avoid heavy foods and those that are greasy or spicy.
  • Chew your food well and sit down after eating, before you lie down.
  • Eat a light snack before getting out of bed in the morning, such as a few salty crackers.
  • Don’t drink a lot of liquid at once, rather, drink small amounts frequently throughout the day.
  • Drink carbonated drinks or lightly sweetened drinks, as these tend to be more tolerable.
  • Stay away from coffee, as well as tobacco and alcohol.
  • Avoid strong and unpleasant smells.

Pharmacological treatment

Currently, in more serious cases of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, a specialist may consider prescribing a pharmacological alternative: Cariban. 

According to specifications, this medication is indicated for “the symptomatic treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) in adults who do not respond to conservative management.”

Not all women can take Cariban. Therefore, doctors will only prescribe it when necessary, and when the benefits outweigh the risks. Women with the following issues are especially at risk when it comes to taking Cariban:

  • Asthma and respiratory problems.
  • Cardiovascular alterations.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Alterations in their liver or kidney function.
How to Treat Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

The composition of this medication combines two different compounds in the pharmaceutical form of modified-release capsules. These compounds are:

  • Doxylamine succinate: This is a derivative of ethanolamine, a first-generation antihistamine. Its main action mechanism is to block the central cholinergic receptors and H1.
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride: This is vitamin B6, a hydrosoluble vitamin that acts as an enzymatic cofactor in many of the body’s reactions.

The side effects of Cariban

Generally, the adverse effects of this pharmaceutical are similar to those that habitual treatment with sedating antihistamines causes. The most frequent side effects of treatments with Cariban are the following:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Anticholinergics, such as:
    • Dry mouth.
    • Constipation.
    • Urinary retention.
    • Blurry vision.
    • An increase in bronchial secretion.

Studies involving this medication assure its effectiveness and safety in the treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Widespread clinical experience demonstrates the same.

Just the same, it’s essential that it’s a pharmaceutical medication and you should take it exactly as your doctor prescribes. Under no circumstances should you resort to self-medicationPregnancy is a process that should be controlled by a specialist in order to avoid undesirable complications.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Francés, L. (2010). Náuseas y vómitos en el embarazo. Matronas profesión, (1), 26-28.
  • Giraldo, S. M., Awad, D. V., Serralde, J. A. B., Aramendiz, J. M., Zapata, G. A. V., & Leal, M. B. (2016). Manejo de las naúseas y vómitos en el embarazo. consenso de la federación colombiana de asociaciones de perinatología (FECOPEN). Bogotá, 2016. Medicina38(2), 169-186.
  • Haro, K. D., Toledo, K., Fonseca, Y., Arenas, D., Arenas, H., & Leonher, K. (2015). Hiperemesis gravídica: manejo y consecuencias nutricionales; reporte de caso y revisión de literatura. Nutrición Hospitalaria31(2), 988-991.
  • Orueta Sánchez, R., & López Gil, M. J. (2011). Manejo de los fármacos en embarazo en las patologías más frecuentes. Información terapéutica del Sistema Nacional de Salud35(4), 107-113.
  • Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos sanitarios. (2018). Ficha técnica. Cariban. [Online] Disponible en:

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.