Nausea Medicine for Pregnancy: Vitamins, Drugs and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Medicine for nausea exists, so surely they exist for a reason? But, are nausea remedies really safe for use during pregnancy? Let’s take a look at medicine – Western and traditional Chinese medicine – and then you can give it some more thought.

Nausea medicine for pregnancy: Western medicine


Nausea caused by morning sickness isn’t exactly an illness, so there isn’t a way to be able to completely “cure” it. Medicine can help make you feel better, though. Remember not to self-diagnose – talk to your practitioner about what you can consider taking, what are the risks or things that you should take note of, how to take the medicine, and how much you should take at a time or in a day. The following are medicine used to fight nausea during pregnancy:


Vitamin supplements (Vitamin B6)

Vitamin B6 is a recommended supplement that has been shown to help expectant moms. Vitamin B6 has displayed the ability to improve nausea, and stop morning sickness from worsening.

If you take vitamin B and it’s not effective for you, consult your practitioner and if your practitioner agrees it is safe, add doxylamine to the vitamin B that you’re taking. You can add doxylamine to your vitamin B or you might want to get a prescription drug that combines both vitamin B6 and doxylamine.



Pyridoxine/pyridoxal-5-phosphate (vitamin B6) is the active form of vitamin B. Usually taken as vitamin tablets, vitamin B6 can be obtained through your meals and so there isn’t a need for you to eat vitamin B6 supplements if you monitor your diet carefully.


“Antiemetic” drugs

Many antiemetics have been shown to be safe for use during pregnancy. The ACOG, however, warns that there is conflicting information about the safety of this drug. You should talk to your practitioner in detail if you’re considering using this drug.



Metoclopramide isn’t a widely used drug in the U.S. as it is in some European countries, but it is sometimes prescribed. Metoclopramide is a drug that is able to help improve bowel movements and can help fight nausea, vomiting, changes in appetite and heartburn. It is usually prescribed when morning sickness is serious. Metoclopramide can be administered in the form of an IV.

Note that metoclopramide has been assigned a category B by the FDA. (Category B: Animal reproduction studies were done but there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.)



Assigned a Category C by the FDA, this drug should only be taken if the potential benefits justify the risk to the fetus.


Phenergan (promethazine)

Phenergan acts as an antihistamine and is used to treat allergy symptoms and prevent nausea and vomiting. Phenergan has many side effects that can impair thinking and reaction. It isn’t known if it will harm an unborn fetus, so it’s best to only take it if the benefits outweigh the potential risks to the fetus.



A carcinostatic agent that can stop nausea and vomiting, olanzapine isn’t recommended unless the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks to the fetus. This drug is assigned a Category C by the FDA.

Nausea medicine for pregnancy: Traditional Chinese medicine

traditional Chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese medicines might be the last thing on your mind, but if you know of a licensed practitioner, then you might want to get some advice on certain medicines. “Sho-hange-ka-bukuryo-to” is a Chinese medicine that is widely used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by morning sickness. According to research papers, Sho-hange-ka-bukuryo-to has a modulatory effect on the autonomic nervous system.

Nausea medicine for pregnancy: Think about the choices you have carefully

woman doctor

You might not be able to think straight after all that vomiting, but remember that your baby’s life might hang in the balance if you take the wrong drug. Don’t depend on word-by-mouth information or your own judgment. Talk to your practitioner and make sure you understand the potential risks before using any drug.

Nausea remedies aren’t only limited to drugs, so you might want to consider alternatives, or just hang in there and see if your condition improves in the second trimester. It’s your choice to make, so make the best one you can for both yourself and your baby!