Motion Sickness during Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Motion Sickness during Pregnancy – Reasons and Remedies

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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Morning sickness and nausea are some common pregnancy symptoms and problems. However, sometimes you may experience these feelings of nausea and sickness during travelling too. If you have been experiencing motion sickness before, then it may get aggravated during pregnancy. It is a very commonly faced pregnancy problem. Here in the following article, we shall discuss everything that you need to know about motion sickness during pregnancy, its causes and what various remedial measures you can adopt.

What Is Motion Sickness?

The feelings of nausea, vomiting, and dizziness that arise when you are travelling are called motion sickness. Where some women may experience motion sickness only during pregnancy, for others the symptoms may become severe during pregnancy. Motion sickness is also known as travel sickness, sea sickness or car sickness, etc.

What Causes Motion Sickness in Pregnancy?

As the name suggests, motion sickness is caused when you travel long distances by various modes of transport. However, following are some of the reasons that cause motion sickness during pregnancy:

  1. You may experience motion sickness when you travel after eating a big or heavy meal.
  2. The inner balance of your ears gets disrupted when you are travelling constantly at a slow speed.
  3. When the air around you is stuffy or smoky, it may make you feel extremely nauseous.
  4. The most common cause of motion sickness during pregnancy is the confused signals received by the brain. This happens due to the disparity between actual motion and expected motion that is perceived by the balance-sensing system.
  5. If the two neurotransmitters fail to function properly, you may experience motion sickness during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Motion Sickness When Pregnant

If you are wondering, how you can know if you are suffering from motion sickness, here we have some commonly experienced motion sickness symptoms during pregnancy:

  1. You may experience dizziness, fatigue, and weakness.
  2. You may experience nausea along with a mild headache and a general feeling of discomfort.
  3. You may feel dehydrated after continuous bouts of vomiting.
  4. In some cases, you may feel extremely anxious and may sweat or salivate excessively.
  5. You may keep feeling sick even after the motion stops, though in most cases the motion sickness may subside as soon as the motion stops.

Pregnant woman feeling sick in car

How Is Motion Sickness Treated?

There are many options available for treatment for motion sickness during pregnancy. Here’s what to take for motion sickness while pregnant.

  1. Vitamin B6 supplements can be taken to keep motion sickness at bay.
  2. You may take antihistamines half an hour before you begin your travel.
  3. It is a good option to sit in the front seat in the car or plane to avoid the bumpy ride, which may aggravate your symptoms.
  4. There are some acupressure bracelets available in the market, which may help in reducing your motion sickness.

Though the above-mentioned methods may be helpful in warding off motion sickness during pregnancy, it is strictly recommended that you seek your doctor’s permission before adopting any treatment method.

Is It Safe for Pregnant Women to Take Medications for Motion Sickness?

You may take medications to cure your symptoms of motion sickness during pregnancy; however, it is advised that you must do thorough research before opting for medicine. It is safe to take medicine but you must exercise caution. Also, it is best to get your gynaecologist’s approval before you take any medicine.

Precautions for Taking Medicines During Motion Sickness While Pregnant

Here are some precautions that you need to exercise before taking medicines during motion sickness during pregnancy:

  • Refrain from taking Scopolamine during pregnancy. This may not cause harm to your unborn baby but it may cause severe nausea, tremors or dizziness to the would-be-mother.
  • You may safely take over-the-counter medicines which contain dimenhydrinate in them.
  • Medicines such as Dramamine is safely used to cure the symptoms of motion sickness for a long time by many pregnancy specialists.

Though these medicines can be safely taken it is recommended to take any of the above-medicines in consultation with your doctor. Every pregnancy is different and your doctor knows what is best for you.

How to Prevent Motion Sickness Without Medicines?

Motion sickness can be a very discomforting and tiring experience for you and thus the best you can do is adopt various ways to prevent it. Here are some measures that you may safely adopt to prevent motion sickness during pregnancy:

  • Keep sipping water throughout your travel to ward off the symptoms of motion sickness.
  • It is suggested to refrain from eating heavy meals before your travels. You should eat a light meal at least an hour before you begin your journey. You may carry light home-made snacks with you also.
  • Do not sit on the rear seat of the car or bus. If you are travelling by air, you can request a seat near the wings of the plane.
  • It is advised that you sit in a place that is well-ventilated and where you can get some fresh air.
  • Refrain from indulging in activities that may trigger motion sickness, such as reading. Instead, you can listen to some music and feel calm and relaxed.

It’s not harmful to the mother or baby to travel during the first trimester, even if she has motion sickness. If you have any concerns regarding motion sickness during pregnancy, you should get in touch with your doctor.

Also Read: Travelling during Pregnancy

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