5 Foods to Fight Nausea During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman feeling nauseas

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The moment you see a positive pregnancy test can be exciting. You may experience a surge of energy and feel both nervous and eager for the upcoming new chapter in your life. But after a few weeks, you might also feel like throwing up.

Pregnancy nausea, often called morning sickness, generally hits after about six weeks of pregnancy and can last through the first trimester. You might experience food aversions, or you might find that the only thing that settles your stomach is eating saltines.

Although you might not feel like eating anything at the peak of your morning sickness, know that there are some foods that can actually help fight nausea. Let's go over a few things to eat that might help you feel better if pregnancy has your stomach turning.

Why Does Pregnancy Cause Nausea?

Most people experience some degree of nausea while pregnant. Although the exact cause is unknown, it is thought to be caused in part by rising hormone levels in the body.

"Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy may be caused by the effects of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone generated by the placenta," says Katherine Gomez, a registered dietitian and medical reviewer at Psychemag. "HCG is produced by pregnant women immediately after a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining."

HCG levels peak around 12 weeks—the same time that morning sickness is generally at its worst. Data has been mixed, but some studies show that people with higher levels of hCG experience more intense nausea. "We see this in the case of multiple pregnancies, where there is more hCG produced," says Kim Langdon, MD, an Ohio-based OB/GYN at Medzino with over 20 years experience. "Women with molar pregnancies—where there is no fetus—also have elevated hCG levels and tend to experience worse nausea."

A heightened sense of smell and aversions to certain foods may also contribute to nausea during pregnancy. However, nausea is generally not a cause for a larger medical concern—in fact, it could be a good sign. Rising hCG levels indicate a healthy pregnancy.

That said, if you experience extreme nausea that affects your ability to function, you can't keep food down, or you vomit multiple times daily, be sure to reach out to your OB/GYN or healthcare provider. You may have a severe form of pregnancy-related nausea called hyperemesis gravidarum, which can potentially impede your ability to take in the nutrients that you and your baby need.

Foods That Help Reduce Nausea

Nausea during pregnancy is generally not indicative of a worrisome health problem, but it can still be a pain. Ahead are some foods that might help alleviate or reduce nausea.


Eating one banana a day could help keep your nausea away, or at least reduce it. "When you eat bananas, your body produces a mucus along the stomach lining that can help protect it from stomach acids," notes Gomez.

If you get tired of eating bananas, try blending them into smoothies with milk, walnuts, and berries. You can also make a banana and peanut butter sandwich, or chop them up and eat them with Greek yogurt.


Keeping dry, plain food like crackers in your stomach can help with morning sickness. The idea is that the crackers absorb some of the acids that can make you feel nauseated.

Bland foods can also replace sugary and high-fat foods in your diet. "These are the common flavor profiles that trigger nausea," notes Dr. Langon. "Toast, saltines, and plain bagels are great choices for this diet."

You might not feel like eating your crackers with anything else, but if you do, try spreading cream cheese over them or dipping them in hummus. You can also try some mildly-flavored crackers, such as rosemary and sea salt or olive oil. Just stay away from anything spicy or acidic.


Ginger has been used throughout history to relieve nausea, and studies prove that it is quite effective. You can eat or drink it in any form, whether that's pickled ginger, ginger chews, ginger ale, or ginger tea. Consider keeping a pouch of ginger candies in your bag, right next to your stash of saltines.


There is some evidence that smelling lemons can help reduce nausea. "A lemon's neutralizing acid produces bicarbonate chemicals in the stomach, which help relieve an upset stomach," notes Gomez.

Try adding a splash of lemon to your salad or fish, or squeeze half a lemon into some hot water along with ginger and honey.


Staying hydrated can help you feel less nauseous, but sometimes even plain water tastes gross when you have pregnancy-related aversions. Watermelon's sweet taste and its texture may make it easier to swallow than water, but it's just as hydrating. "Watermelon's high water content and natural sugars can help with morning sickness and dehydration," says Gomez.

Chop your watermelon small, or buy it pre-cut and snack on the pieces. You can also add watermelon to a salad, or blend it into juice.

A Word From Verywell

Nausea during pregnancy is common and generally not a cause for concern. Rising hormone levels may be the reason you feel like throwing up while pregnant, but those hormones are also a good sign that your pregnancy is progressing well.

Eating plain foods and anything with ginger in it may help you find some relief. If you have any concerns about your nausea or you are unable to keep food down, reach out to your OB/GYN, midwife, or healthcare provider.

9 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Elisa Cinelli
Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families. She has written for well-known sites including POPSUGAR and Scary Mommy, among others.