You know you should eat, but you have morning sickness. The nausea is overwhelming, and you have spent more time vomiting than you think could possibly be good for the baby. You are suffering from the same misery the majority of pregnant women experience during the early weeks of pregnancy.
Morning Sickness Causes
No one knows exactly what causes morning sickness. It could be caused by any of the following or a combination of all three:
- Sensitivity to odors
- Physiologic changes
- Increased hormone levels
Emotions, stress, and travelling can make morning sickness worse. Women who are pregnant with twins or triplets also may have more morning sickness than other pregnant women.
When Does Morning Sickness Start?
Morning sickness typically starts around the 6th week and is more common during the first trimester. For many women, the symptoms improve by the 14th to 16th week. It is also important to remember that nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is not just confined to the morning. It can hit during any time of the day.
Unfortunately on top of it all, some women have this nausea, vomiting, and queasiness throughout the pregnancy. There is no way to tell ahead of time if a woman is going to have morning sickness during a pregnancy or how long it may last. Having morning sickness in an earlier pregnancy does not necessarily mean that you are going to either have morning sickness or the same type of morning sickness in a subsequent pregnancy.
Managing Morning Sickness
Women have been suffering from nausea and vomiting in pregnancy for centuries. Although medical treatment is not always needed for this condition, many women still look for relief.
Relieve the Symptoms
Many remedies have been passed down through the generations. Here are just a few tips for relief:
- Eat small meals or snacks every two to three hours, rather than relying on three heavy meals a day.
- Avoid dehydration by drinking at least eight eight-ounce glasses of liquids a day.
- Avoid strong odors.
- When you wake up, eat a few dry crackers before trying to get out of bed.
- Avoid getting overheated.
- Get plenty of rest. Include naps into your schedule if needed.
- Avoid greasy and spicy foods.
- Drink non-caffeinated herbal teas, like peppermint, to relieve the nausea.
- Take your prenatal vitamin during or after you have eaten, rather than on an empty stomach. You can also take them at night.
There are also sea bands which are wristbands that use accupressure to fight nausea as well as a band device (Relief Band) used for motion sickness that can also ease nausea and vomiting. Some women use flavored lollipops or vitamin B6 to help. You should check with your doctor before using these products.
In general, listen to your body, eat when and what seems palatable, and get ample rest. For every suggestion you receive from family or friends on how to relieve the symptoms of morning sickness, there are fifty more that have worked for different women over the ages.
Your OB provider can prescribe medications to help with the morning sickness, but he or she will complete an examination to look for signs of dehydration first. The doctor may also get some blood work, urine tests, and an ultrasound to make sure there are no other problems. For some women, medications may be a necessary option, but most providers are reluctant to prescribe them unless your nausea and vomiting are severe. Remember, this is the time when the pregnancy is very susceptible to any outside influences, and some medications can be harmful to a growing fetus. Discuss your concerns with your health care provider.
Is Morning Sickness Risky for Your Baby?
In most cases, nausea and vomiting in pregnancy will not hurt your baby. However, if you experience the following, you may be suffering from more than common morning sickness. You may be experiencing hyperemesis gravidarium (HG). HG can be life threatening to you and your baby, and you should be under medical supervision. The symptoms of HG are:
- Severe nausea
- Persistent vomiting of more than three times a day
- Weight loss or failure to gain weight
- Headache and confusion
- Pale, dry skin
- Decreased urination
Treatment of HG can range from dietary changes for mild cases to hospitalization for more severe cases. Remember do not take any medications on your own to treat your nausea without your physician's approval.
Having a Healthy Pregnancy
Morning sickness can be miserable, but making it more manageable can improve your mood. As the morning sickness subsides, you can enjoy your pregnancy and the possibilities it brings.