Coping With Morning Sickness During Pregnancy

Medications That May Help You Cope

If your symptoms are more on the moderate or severe side, or if the previously mentioned strategies simply aren't cutting it, your healthcare provider may recommend a medication. Here are some of the medications that are more commonly used to help relieve nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy:
  • Certain antihistamines. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®, Sominex®, and many others), doxylamine (Unisom® and others), and meclizine (Antivert®, Bonine®, Dramamine® Less Drowsy Formula) may help relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting. These medications can cause significant drowsiness, which is why they're often found in over-the-counter (OTC) sleep products. Diphenhydramine is also found in several allergy and cold medicines.
  • Pyridoxine. Pyridoxine is a form of vitamin B6. While it isn't likely to help reduce vomiting, pyridoxine may help relieve mild-to-moderate nausea. You can find it in most drug stores in the vitamin aisle. Pyridoxine is often given with doxylamine.
In fact, a prescription medication containing 10 mg of doxylamine and 10 mg of pyridoxine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat nausea and vomiting of pregnancy that has not adequately responded to dietary and lifestyle changes. It is marketed under the brand name Diclegis®. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) considers pyridoxine with doxylamine a first-line medication for treating nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
  • Other prescription medicines. If you have severe nausea and vomiting that hasn't responded to other remedies or treatments, your healthcare provider may recommend a prescription antinausea medication. These drugs will probably make you sleepy to some extent, so be prepared to get some rest if you take them -- which might not be such a bad thing -- and avoid driving. Some of the more commonly used prescription antinausea medications include:
    • Promethazine hydrochloride (Phenergan®) belongs to a class of drugs called phenothiazines. It is also considered an antihistamine and, like many other antihistamines, can cause significant drowsiness. ACOG considers promethazine a safe and effective option for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy when other treatments have failed to work.
    • Metoclopramide (Reglan®) is a prescription medicine commonly used to treat gastric esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Metoclopramide blocks the action of a brain chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine can stimulate an area of the brain that triggers nausea and vomiting. By blocking dopamine, metoclopramide helps to alleviate nausea and vomiting symptoms. ACOG considers metoclopramide a safe and effective option for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy when other treatments have failed to work.
    • Ondansetron (Zofran®, Zuplenz®) is a prescription medication approved to prevent nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Although it isn't specifically approved to prevent nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy, it is sometimes used off-label for this reason. Ondansetron works by blocking serotonin, a chemical produced by the body that is associated with nausea and vomiting.
    • Acid-reducing medications, such as ranitidine (Zantac®) or other H2 blockers, may help if heartburn or acid reflux are contributing to your nausea.
Just remember -- you should always check with your healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, even an over-the-counter one. Although the medicines mentioned here are generally considered safe for pregnant women, you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your unborn child.
Pregnancy and Pain

Pregnancy and Other Medical Conditions

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