Vitamin B6 For Morning Sickness: Is It Safe During Pregnancy

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Vitamin B6 for morning sickness in pregnancy helps reduce nausea and vomiting. A usual dose of 10mg to 25mg thrice a day is considered safe and effective. Hormonal fluctuations may usually cause morning sickness during pregnancy. Severe morning sickness may indicate a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. You should consult your doctor before taking vitamin B6 supplements as an overdose may cause temporary nerve damage (1) (2).

This post talks about the efficacy of vitamin B6 in managing morning sickness during pregnancy, its safety, and alternatives.

How Does Vitamin B6 Help In Alleviating Morning Sickness?

Vitamin B6 helps alleviate morning sickness

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Researchers are yet to confirm the exact mechanism by which vitamin B6 helps prevent morning sickness. Vitamin B6 has several forms, such as pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxal phosphate, which participate in various enzymatic reactions in the body. It is not known which form has antiemetic (anti-nausea and -vomiting) effects. A study suggests pyridoxal 5′ phosphate (PLP), a vitamin B6 metabolite, may be responsible for its antiemetic effects (3) (4). However, more research is needed to determine the exact mechanism through which vitamin B6 prevents morning sickness.

Is Vitamin B6 Supplementation Safe During Pregnancy?

Nausea and vomiting occur in about 74% of pregnant women. The treatment is initiated with dietary changes and vitamin B6 supplementation. Several studies have mentioned vitamin B6 to be safe for pregnant women. The usual prescribed dose may vary from 10 to 25mg every eight hours (5). When pregnant women were exposed to higher doses (50mg to 510mg per day of vitamin B6), no association with major malformations in the baby was found (6). However, the safe dose may vary from one woman to another. Therefore, consult your doctor before having vitamin B6 for morning sickness during pregnancy.

In What Forms Is Vitamin B6 Available?

You may be prescribed either vitamin B6 or pyridoxine supplement tablets alone or with doxylamine succinate. Here doxylamine succinate is an antihistamine drug approved for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Fixed-dose combinations may be available by different brand names, some of which are FDA-approved. Examples include:

  • Diclegis: Delayed-release tablets containing 10mg doxylamine succinate and 10mg pyridoxine hydrochloride (a form of vitamin B6) (7).
  • Bonjesta: Combination tablets of 20 mg doxylamine succinate and 20mg pyridoxine hydrochloride (8).
Bonjesta is an FDA-approved medicine

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The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and doxylamine as first-line agents when morning sickness does not respond to conservative treatment with dietary and lifestyle changes (9) (10).

What Are The Alternatives To Vitamin B6 Supplements?

You can improve your vitamin B6 intake by including natural sources of vitamin B6 in your diet during pregnancy. Rich sources of vitamin B6 include beef liver (and other organ meats), potatoes (and other starchy vegetables), and fruits (other than citrus) (4).

Some of the other sources of vitamin B6 include the following (11).

  • Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are a natural source of vitamin B6

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  • Fish such as tuna and wild salmon
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean meat of pork and beef
  • Dried fruits such as prunes, raisins, or apricots
  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
Spinach is a rich source of vitamin B6

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How To Get Relief From Morning Sickness Naturally?

You may consider the following natural ways to manage morning sickness during pregnancy (12).

1. Lifestyle and dietary changes

These changes may vary based on what provides you the most benefit. A few general changes include the following.

  • Maintain adequate hydration and electrolyte levels.
  • Have small, frequent meals. Avoid getting too full or having an empty stomach.
  • Avoid food items with strong tastes or odors since they may trigger nausea in some cases.
  • Eat simple dry carbohydrates, such as crackers or biscuits, first thing in the morning.
  • Talk to your doctor about changing your iron or prenatal vitamin supplements.
  • Get adequate rest and sleep to manage fatigue.

2. Ginger

Ginger can help alleviate morning sickness.

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A number of human studies have shown the effectiveness of ginger in treating morning sickness. A study has demonstrated it to be superior to vitamin B6 and had minor side effects even at high doses (13). You may keep chopped ginger handy to chew when you feel nausea or vomiting.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can B6 cause miscarriage?

No. Vitamin B6 is known to lower the chances of miscarriages. Poor levels of vitamin B6 can contribute to early pregnancy loss (14).

2. Can I take B6 alone for morning sickness?

You can take vitamin B6 alone or combined with doxylamine to treat morning sickness during pregnancy (15).

3. What are the side effects of taking vitamin B6 for morning sickness?

The probable side effects of taking vitamin B6 include headache, fatigue, and paresthesias (5).

Vitamin B6 is a common remedy for morning sickness among pregnant women. Human studies have shown up to 70% reduction of nausea and vomiting and lower hospitalization when using a combination of vitamin B6 and doxylamine. The vitamin is safe for most women, and sleepiness is usually the only side effect (4). Nevertheless, you should consult your physician before taking supplements to ensure correct doses of vitamin B6 during pregnancy. Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medications, dietary supplements, or herbal products that you are taking to avoid any drug interaction or overdose of vitamin B6.

Key Pointers

  • Though no research supports this hypothesis, Vitamin B6 effectively reduces morning sickness during pregnancy.
  • ACOG recommends vitamin B6 and doxylamine for women who find no improvement in symptoms of morning sickness even after treatment and lifestyle changes.
  • However, it is best to take a doctor’s opinion before consuming this vitamin while pregnant.
  • You may further include vitamin B6-rich foods such as spinach, potato, avocado, chicken, and beef liver in your pregnancy diet.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Vitamin B6 for Morning Sickness.
    https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tn9126
  2. Morning Sickness.
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000604.htm
  3. Ilan Matok et al.; (2014); Studying the antiemetic effect of vitamin B6 for morning sickness: Pyridoxine and pyridoxal are prodrugs.
    https://accp1.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcph.369
  4. Vitamin B6.
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
  5. Howard Earnest Herrel et al.; (2014); Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy.
    https://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0615/p965.html.
  6. A. Shrim et al.; (2006); Pregnancy outcome following use of large doses of vitamin B6 in the first trimester.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17130022/
  7. Diclegis.
    https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2013/021876s002lbl.pdf
  8. Bonjesta.
    https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/209661lbl.pdf
  9. Nina Nuangchamnong and Jennifer Niebyl; (2014); Doxylamine succinate-pyridoxine hydrochloride (Diclegis) for the management of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: an overview.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3990370/
  10. Nathan R. Brott et al.; (2021); Doxylamine.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551646/
  11. Natural Sources of Vitamin B During Pregnancy.
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/natural-sources-of-vitamin-b-during-pregnancy/
  12. Neda Ebrahimi et al.; (2010); Optimal management of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2990891/#b28-ijwh-2-241
  13. Porndee Chittumma et al.; (2007); Comparison of the effectiveness of ginger and vitamin B6 for treatment of nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a randomized double-blind controlled trial.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17621727/
  14. Alayne G. Ronnenberg et al.; Preconception B-Vitamin and Homocysteine Status Conception and Early Pregnancy Loss
    https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/166/3/304/116752?login=false
  15. Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy.
    https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/morning-sickness-nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy
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Dr. Joyani Das

Dr. Joyani Das did her post-graduation from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and PhD in Pharmacology. Previously, she worked as an associate professor, faculty of Pharmacology, for two years. With her research background in preclinical studies and a zeal for scientific writing, she joined MomJunction as a health writer. Her research work was published in international journals and publications, such...
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Dr. Pamela Adhiambo Muga

(MMed)
Dr. Pamela Adhiambo Muga is a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist at the Nairobi Hospital and Willows Clinic for Women. She is registered with the Kenya Medical and Dental Practitioners Council and is a member of the Royal College of Obstetrician Gynecologists UK (MRCOG). A trainer in the Advanced Life Support courses run by the Kenya Red Cross (American Heart Association), Dr. Pamela...
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