Take your vitamins
Vitamin B 6 is one of eight B vitamins. All eight play an important role in helping the human body to convert food, especially fats and proteins, into energy. They are also necessary for healthy skin, hair, and eyes, and are critical for the proper functioning of the liver and the nervous system. The body also needs vitamin B6 to make hemoglobin, a molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body’s cells.
B6 has also been used since the 1940s to prevent morning sickness. Many women find that taking extra B6 during the early months of pregnancy greatly reduces the nausea of morning sickness. Several studies have found B6 to be an effective treatment for morning sickness. However, it is very hard for researchers to determine whether B6 is helpful for treating morning sickness, since almost all morning sickness goes away on its own if it is given time, and researchers cannot always tell whether the morning sickness is reduced because of B6 or because it was already going away on its own. Still, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology announced in 2004 that it considers B6 to be highly effective and the first line of defense against morning sickness. The ACOG combines B6 with an antihistamine, but many women have found that B6 alone was very helpful.
Using Vitamin B6 to Prevent Morning Sickness
- Take a daily dose of vitamin B6. Some studies recommend a supplemental dose of 30 mg per day. Others suggest a range of 10-25 mg. The American Pregnancy Association recommends 50 mg. Check with your doctor or midwife to find out how much B6 is right for you.
- Alternatively, switch to a prenatal vitamin that includes a supplemental dose of B6.
- Alternatively, eat foods that are rich in vitamin B6, such as whole grains, fish, meat, bananas, beans, peanut butter, soy, seeds, peas, potatoes, squash, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, avocado, okra, seaweed, figs, raisins, watermelon, elderberries, or juice made from tomatoes, oranges, or prunes.
Why It Works
No one is certain why vitamin B6 prevents morning sickness.
Be careful not to overdose on vitamin B6. Add up the amounts of B6 that are in your B6 supplement and in your prenatal vitamins, and make sure that the total is no more than 100 mg per day. Check with your midwife or ob/gyn to find out what amount of B6 is appropriate for you personally. Bear in mind that pregnant women only need 1.9 mg of B6 per day in order to meet their own needs and those of their developing babies. If you overdose on B6, you could develop numbness or nerve damage, or even become paralyzed, and the baby could develop birth defects.