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Up to 90 percent of women experience nausea beginning at about the fourth week of pregnancy. Simple lifestyle and diet changes can sometimes alleviate the discomfort of morning sickness.

Despite its name, morning sickness can occur at any time, and its cause is unknown. No drugs are available for the nausea, but altering your eating habits can help. Doctors recommend foods high in protein and carbohydrates, such as cheese, crackers and milk. Try not to eat fatty foods, as they have been shown to exacerbate morning sickness. It's best to eat before you become hungry, and be sure to drink enough liquids.

Changes to your daily routine can make a difference, too. Avoid smoking for the health of both you and your baby. Some women find that being less active in the morning helps with nausea. Increasing sleep and decreasing stress also have been found to decrease nausea.

If your morning sickness doesn't abate after taking some of these steps, talk to your doctor. Be sure to call your doctor if you have more serious systems, such as severe vomiting for several days in a row.

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If you're trying to get pregnant, you can be ready by making healthy lifestyle choices before conception. Being prepared can help avoid complications later in your pregnancy.

Address any health concerns. Manage any health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or epilepsy, before becoming pregnant. If you have an ongoing condition, talk to your doctor before conception.

Know your family's history. Some conditions can be inherited, so be sure to tell your doctor about medical problems in your family, such as cystic fibrosis or multiple sclerosis.

Stay active. Exercise helps you stay healthy during pregnancy, and it can make labor less difficult.

Eat healthy. Start on a nutritious diet before you conceive. Focus on eating proteins, fruit and vegetables, whole grains and dairy products, while trying to reduce sugar and caffeine.

Take a folic acid supplement. Folic acid reduces the chances of birth defects that affect the spinal cord and brain, such as spina bifida.

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In Great Health online archive.