Morning Sickness Medicationsby A. Elizabeth Freeman
Morning sickness may be one of the most unpleasant aspects of pregnancy. You wish for a magic pill that you could take to keep the nausea and vomiting at bay, without harming your developing baby. While some women are extra cautious about taking any medication during the first trimester, some medicines are considered safe for your baby and will most likely help quell your nausea.
Types of Medications
Pregnant women have few options when it comes to treating morning sickness. The only anti-nausea drug considered safe for the first trimester is a dextrose/fructose/phosphoric acid solution, according to both BabyCenter and Dr. Marjorie Greenfield of the Dr. Spock website. Antihistamines, such as doxylamine, may also help prevent morning sickness. Another drug, metoclopramide, commonly used to treat heartburn, may also treat nausea and be safe for pregnant women, although the FDA has not yet approved it for treatment of morning sickness.
In the 1980s, a prescription medication that combined the antihistamine doxylamine with vitamin B6 was often prescribed to pregnant women to treat morning sickness. According to Greenfield, the product was pulled in the United States because of liability costs and concerns. You can attempt to make your own medication by combining certain sleeping pills that contain doxylamine -- and only doxylamine -- with a vitamin B6 pill. Talk to your doctor before doing so, though.
In 2009, the "New England Journal of Medicine" published the results of a study about the use of metoclopramide in the United States to treat morning sickness. It is a common treatment in Europe and other parts of the world. The study examined the risk of birth defects in babies whose mothers took the medicine during the first trimester. It found that metoclopramide was generally safe to take, as the number of birth defects was only a small amount higher in women who took the pill compared to women who did not. It will take further studies for the drug to come under consideration as an effective treatment for morning sickness.
Side Effects and Risks
Women who have diabetes should avoid dextrose/fructose/phosphoric acid solution, as it is made primarily of sugar. Women with fructose intolerance should also avoid the medicine. Signs of intolerance include swelling, fainting and yellowing of the skin and eyes, according to MayoClinic.com. Antihistamines commonly make people feel drowsy. A women who take doxylamine should take it easy and avoid driving or doing any activity that requires focus and attention.
If the idea of taking an antihistamine, anti-nausea medication or an unapproved medicine does not appeal to you, you have several other options for treating and coping with morning sickness. Ginger is effective at treating nausea. Try sipping ginger tea when you feel ill. Eat small meals through out the day to stave off nausea. You may want to have a stash of crackers on your bedside table to eat just before you first get out of bed in the morning. Try to avoid strong odors, such as perfume and cigarette smoke. Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or motion sickness wristbands, may help, according to MedlinePlus.
- MedlinePlus: Morning Sickness
- BabyCenter: Are There Safe Medications for Morning Sickness?
- Dr. Spock: Morning Sickness in Pregnancy
- New England Journal of Medicine: The Safety of Metoclopramide Use in the First Trimester of Pregnancy; June 11, 2009
- MayoClinic.com: Fructose, Dextrose and Phosphoric Acid Solution