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Foods Pregnant Woman Should Eat When They Can't Keep Anything Down

by
author image Bridget Coila
Bridget Coila has been writing professionally since 1998 and specializes in health, nutrition, pregnancy, pet and parenting topics. Some of her articles have appeared in "Oxygen," "American Fitness" and on various websites. Coila has a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati and more than 10 years of medical research experience.
Foods Pregnant Woman Should Eat When They Can't Keep Anything Down
Pregnancy brings on severe morning sickness in some women. Photo Credit luamduan/iStock/Getty Images

Pregnancy can be an exciting experience but also can cause plenty of unpleasant side effects. For some women, severe nausea and an inability to keep down food dampens the enthusiasm a mom-to-be normally feels. According to American Family Physician, about 80 percent of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, and about 10 percent continue to feel bad after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Severe Morning Sickness

For most pregnant women, nausea and vomiting are temporary and mild, so waiting it out and eating something later in the day is a viable option. About one in 100 women get a more severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum, explains American Family Physician. If you truly cannot keep food down, it could put you at risk for dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and malnutrition. Contact a doctor for evaluation if you suspect hyperemesis gravidarum.

Dietary Changes

Because medication for morning sickness could have side effects that impact the developing baby, dietary changes are the first line of defense against persistent vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. Consume small, frequent meals instead of larger meals two or three times a day. Bland foods that are low in fat, such as white toast, white rice and crackers, work best to provide calories that won't induce nausea. Drink tart liquids, such as lemonade, instead of water, because they are easier to keep down. Salty foods, such as salted crackers, could help relieve nausea and vomiting in the early morning. Eat a few while still in bed and rest for 20 to 30 minutes before getting up to help them digest. It is OK to focus on one or two foods for a few days until nausea subsides, even if this means not having a balanced diet for a few days.

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Ginger

Ginger is a popular and effective remedy for morning sickness that is used in various cultures all over the world. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you should use 1 g of ginger every day for up to four days. Do not use ginger for longer than this without the approval of your doctor. Sprinkle ground ginger over your food or add slices of fresh ginger to stir fries or clear soups. Ginger tea, ginger candy and ginger cookies are other ways to add ginger to your diet. You also can take ginger in capsule form.

Alternatives

In some cases, diet might not be enough to relieve symptoms of vomiting during pregnancy. If you find yourself unable to keep down even bland foods, lemonade or ginger for more than 24 hours, contact a doctor as soon as possible. You might be able to get symptoms under control using medication such as corticosteroids or anti-nausea drugs. A woman who does not respond to drugs might need intravenous fluids or a feeding tube to ensure enough nutrition for her developing baby.

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