What to do if your prenatal is making you nauseous

What to Do If Your Prenatal Vitamin Is Making You Nauseous

4 min read

Morning sickness? All-day sickness is more like it. Nausea is an incredibly common early pregnancy symptom affecting up to 70% of all pregnancies. And the real kicker is that the nutrients found in prenatal vitamins can sometimes make it worse. The good news is that pregnancy-related nausea typically resolves by weeks 16 to 20 of pregnancy. While this isn’t much comfort during those early stages of pregnancy, we've got tips that can help if your prenatal is making you nauseous. 

Why do some supplements make me feel nauseous? 

Nutrients like Vitamin B12, Zinc, and Iron, commonly found in prenatal vitamins, can cause or worsen nausea, whether pregnant or not. These vitamins can irritate the gut lining leading to common gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, abdominal pain or cramping, and constipation or diarrhea. Gut symptoms are the most commonly reported side effects of oral Iron and often cause people to stop supplementing. But, for your prenatal to work as intended, you should be taking it every day—which is hard when you can’t keep it down. To help you get the nutrients you need every trimester, our Gentle Prenatal Gummies and The Gentle Prenatal are both tailored specifically for nauseous times. They pack more of the good stuff (like B6 for queasiness) and skip the stomach-upsetting stuff. And because gut symptoms tend to worsen when supplements are taken on an empty stomach, we always recommend taking your prenatal vitamins with a meal.

I Forgot to Take My Prenatal While Pregnant →

What can I do if my prenatal is making me nauseous? 

Always take your supplements with food, ideally within the first few bites of a meal. This reduces the risk of nutrients irritating the gut lining and causing or worsening symptoms of nausea. Plus, taking your prenatal with food supports the absorption of essential nutrients, especially fat-soluble ones, like Vitamin D.
If you’re pregnant and finding your prenatal hard to tolerate, here are a few quick tips to make it go down (and stay down) easier. 

  • Take your prenatal at the time of day that you typically feel best
  • Try making it a part of your nighttime routine, and take it with a good-sized snack (remember, never on an empty stomach)
  • Consider reducing the dose of certain nutrients (like B12 and Iron) through the first trimester or until the nausea resolves 
  • If you struggle with swallowing pills or find this triggers your gag reflex, try switching to a chewable or gummy

Bird&Be Gentle Prenatal Gummies are formulated with pregnancy nausea in mind—they still have all the essentials needed to support a healthy pregnancy, but with less Iron, more B6 (a vitamin found in morning sickness meds), and they come in a tasty sour-sweet gummy.

What else can I do to reduce my pregnancy nausea? 

1. Don’t let yourself get hungry and don’t eat too much—it’s a fine balance

Eating too much in one sitting and going too long without eating can both worsen nausea in pregnancy. Instead eat small meals, consistently throughout the day and prioritize eating shortly after waking. The goal is to eat 5 to 6 meals or snacks per day and choosing foods high in protein (eggs, fish, chicken) may reduce your risk of severe nausea and vomiting. An easy way to ensure you always have access to food that sits well in your stomach is to plan ahead. Make little snack bags of food you tolerate well (crackers, nuts, cereal) and pop them in your most frequented locations; the car, your desk, your purse, and your nightside table. If you need to, set a timer every 2 hours as a reminder to have a quick bite. 

2. Avoid triggers

Often these are simple things like strong food odors, fragrances, heat, and driving or motion sickness. Foods that are fried, fatty, or spicy can worsen nausea directly or trigger heartburn, which is commonly associated with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Once you know your triggers, eliminate them until your nausea has resolved. 

Foods to Avoid While Pregnant →

3. Try Ginger

Ginger significantly improves symptoms of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and relieves the severity of nausea. Ginger chews, tea, and yes, even ginger ale can be helpful for mild nausea (bonus: having these after eating can support digestion). If these aren’t doing the job, Ginger Gravol or ginger supplements are safe and effective in pregnancy to help reduce symptoms of nausea.

4. Increase your Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (or Pyrodxoine) significantly improves symptoms of nausea in pregnancy—it’s found in morning sickness meds for this reason. While many prenatal vitamins include B6 in their formulas, you’ll likely need more to effectively combat morning sickness. It’s why we include 40 mg of B6 in The Gentle Prenatal and Gentle Prenatal Gummies.  

5. Rule out nutrient deficiencies

We know taking certain nutrients (ahem, Iron) can cause nausea, but the opposite is true, too. Not having enough of key nutrients, like Vitamin B1 or Thiamine, can make nausea worse. Vitamin B1 deficiency can even cause nausea, vomiting, and reduced appetite, and the requirement for Vitamin B1 increases by 45.5% during pregnancy. It’s never a bad idea to check that your supplements and diet are meeting the recommended daily intake of these key nutrients.  

While nausea is typically a temporary symptom of pregnancy, it can be overwhelming during those first few months. Luckily there are simple and effective tools to support your body, and your growing baby while reducing nausea.