Can you take medication for morning sickness?

Pregnant women with morning sickness, nausea
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Medication for morning sickness is usually the last resort. There are many non-medicinal things that you should try before looking at medication for morning sickness. When these fail, you should talk to your midwife or doctor about using medication for morning sickness to help you through the worst of it.

"You always hear about morning sickness," remembers Jane. "It sounds kind of cute. You feel a bit queasy, eat a healthy breakfast and go about your day.

I couldn't even brush my teeth without getting sick to my stomach and gagging."

Amanda remembers the triggers, "Everything. Smells particularly. I would pick up my boy friend from work, and the factory smell I'd never noticed just clung to him and his clothes. It made me violently ill. Food smells. The road. Even flowers."

The good news is that there is help available for women with extreme sickness. In fact, there are two types of medication for morning sickness: over the counter medication and prescription medication. The one medication for you is one that you and your practitioner decide on.

Over the Counter Medications for Morning Sickness

Over the counter medications don't require a prescription. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't use the guidance of the practitioner you're seeing for your prenatal care. There isn't just one morning sickness pill you can take and have your nausea and vomiting disappear, but some of these have been helpful to some people.

  • Vitamin B6
  • Reflux medications (Pepcid, Zantac)
  • Emetrol
  • Unisom Nighttime Sleep Aid (not the SleepGels) combined with vitamin B6
  • Some herbal substances with the help of your practitioner

Prescription Medication for Morning Sickness

If you are really struggling and other over the counter morning sickness pills haven't helped, your practitioner may decide that prescription medication is the best option for you.

  • Diclegis
  • Zofran (expensive, not always covered by insurance)
  • Phenergan (pill and suppository form)
  • Compazine

There are also IV medications and other medications used to treat hyperemesis gravidarum, severe morning sickness, often requiring hospitalization.

"Without the medication, I couldn't have continued," explains one mom. "It was really a life-saver. I was just within hours of being hospitalized."

Medications are not used for the entire pregnancy unless symptoms persist that long. You and your practitioner can talk about what the best plan is for your pregnancy.

Medications are a last line of defense for most mothers and practitioners. The first trimester, when most morning sickness occurs is a very delicate time in terms of fetal development. You want to avoid as many medicinal interventions as possible, while still being able to maintain your life and employment in a way that is manageable to your family. If medication winds up being the right path for you, try not to stress about it once the decision is made.

Try to relax, knowing you've done your research and hope that you get some sweet relief from the morning sickness medication.

Koren G, Maltepe C: Pre-emptive therapy for severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Aug;24(5):530-3.

Magee LA, Mazzotta P, Koren G: Evidence-based view of safety and effectiveness of pharmacologic therapy for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP). Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2002 May;185(5 Suppl Understanding):S256-61.

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