Motion Sickness in Pregnancy, Causes and Remedies

If you have suffer with motion sickness then do not be surprised to find that it worsens during pregnancy. In fact if were prone to motion sickness earlier in life but it has resolved in recent times, then it may start up again once you fall pregnant. This is not a cause for concern although it can make travel an unpleasant experience. There are simple remedies that could help in the meantime. Fortunately many women find that this pregnancy-related motion sickness eases or even resolves shortly after childbirth.

Reason for Pregnancy Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is a condition where nausea and even vomiting arises while traveling in a moving vehicle, be it a boat, plane or car. It occurs because the inner ear mechanism that detects movement and the eyes send conflicting signals to the brain. Some people are more prone to motion sickness than others. It also has a gender predilection – more women experience motion sickness than men.  The reasons why some women are more likely to suffer with motion sickness is not known but it seems to have a familial history in may instances.

The exact reason why pregnancy may worsen motion sickness is unclear. However, it needs to be differentiated from morning sickness which is largely due to the high levels of certain hormones in the bloodstream. Morning sickness is a typical pregnancy symptom where there is pronounced nausea and even vomiting in the morning in particular. The pregnancy hormones are often found at their highest level in the morning. Some degree of nausea may persist throughout the day.

Motion sickness in pregnancy may be related to morning sickness and the high levels of hormones. It is not uncommon for women who are experiencing morning sickness to find that it may worsen while in motion. However, this does not mean that it is motion sickness unless the nausea and vomiting arises with movement and settles when stationary. The pressure of the enlarged uterus on the bowels and stomach can also be a contributing factor apart from the hormone levels.

Remedies for Motion Sickness in Pregnancy

It is not advisable to use drugs that are normally prescribed for motion sickness when you are pregnant. Some could be safely used but most pregnant women would prefer to avoid unnecessary medication. There are some conservative measures and non-drug remedies that may be able to help.

  • Sip on chilled water during the course of your trip. The key is to take small sips on a frequent basis. Do not drink too much of water at one time.
  • Always eat before you travel. Try not to eat immediately before departure. Rather eat about an hour or so before. If it is a long trip then try to have small meals but do not try to manage on an empty stomach.
  • Get enough fresh air as you travel. In a car it may be as simple as opening a window but this is not always an option in all modes of transport. Sitting close to an air conditioning vent or turning up the fan that blows toward you seat may suffice.
  • Carefully choose where you sit in the vehicle. Try to sit in the front of the car and keep your eyes focused out of the window in front of you. It is often better to sit in the front of the plane or near the wings.
  • Avoid reading or writing while you are traveling. Instead put on some music, sit back and keep your eyes on the horizon in front of you.

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