How is nausea and dehydration linked

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy: where ginger and co help

The causes of the typical and most common pregnancy symptoms - nausea and vomiting - especially in the first trimester. pregnancy, are still unclear.

Various physiological, genetic, psychosocial, and biological causes are suspected. There is a clear connection between the high level of the pregnancy hormone (HCG) and the symptoms. But changes in thyroid hormone production and other hormones (progesterone, etc.) are also strongly linked to the severity of the symptoms.

When to the hospital

Even if nausea and vomiting are practically “normal” pregnancy complaints - especially in the first 3 months - the complaints can have a strong influence on the everyday life of the pregnant woman herself and also of the next of kin.

It is important to know that nausea and vomiting usually do not have a negative influence on the development of the child.

It becomes dangerous if the mother is unable to absorb enough fluids in the event of persistent vomiting. Severe form of vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum) affects 1% of all pregnancies. Typical characteristics: Vomiting at least 5 times a day, weight loss of more than 5% compared to pre-pregnancy weight, dehydration (dehydration). Signs of dehydration and consequently a lack of vital electrolytes: Severe exhaustion, changes in consciousness up to fainting attacks, dry skin, almost no urine leakage.

In this case, it is an emergency, the pregnant woman must be brought to medical care immediately, ideally to the hospital. There the patient is given the necessary fluids, electrolytes and vitamins by infusion.

What does the family doctor do

Even if the pregnancy sickness stays within the "framework", it can become very annoying and severely restrict the woman's quality of life. This leads to unnecessary and sometimes very severe stress. Some women reported that they even considered terminating the pregnancy because of the nausea. Women should therefore not hesitate to contact their family doctor.

It is very helpful if the family doctor can reassure the patient with the prospect that the symptoms will usually disappear again in most women after the 20th week of pregnancy.

The family doctor will first carry out examinations to rule out other diseases:

  • Gastrointestinal infection
  • migraine
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Side effects of medication (e.g. iron substitution)
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • eating disorder
  • Pre-eclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure); however, this occurs more likely after the 20th week of pregnancy.

First treatment measures

Adequate rehydration - fluid return - is central. Because: Women who drink too little or vomit up the fluids immediately usually feel even worse.

Ginger extract, chamomile and peppermint as well as vitamin B6 supplements have proven effective against pregnancy sickness - which studies have also proven. Acupuncture and acupressure also seem to bring some relief.


Often there is a change in diet of its own accord, as the pregnant woman does not feel like eating certain foods at all, or at all. In general, smaller and more dry, lightly seasoned foods are better tolerated by the pregnant woman. There is evidence that a high-protein diet is better tolerated than a high-carbohydrate and high-fat diet. Feeding via gastric tube (parenteral nutrition) is recommended in some countries, but it has not yet been scientifically verified.


If these measures do not help, the family doctor can use an antiemetic (active ingredient against nausea) as a single substance or in combinations.

So far there is no evidence as to whether one or the other drug works better for vomiting. Side effects: Almost all antiemetics make you tired.

In the severe form of pregnancy sickness, cortisone is also often used in hospitals: This works very well against nausea, but can lead to considerable side effects and should only be used from the 4th month of pregnancy.

more on the subject

Rosenfluh Publications Arst Medici No. 8 2012