Since it has been arranged by Mother Nature, morning sickness (nausea) is regarded as a normal part of pregnancy. However it should not be called morning sickness since it can happen at any time of the day and, for some it can carry on all day. Not every pregnant woman goes through this inconvenience but to some degree all pregnant woman suffer some form of morning sickness (nausea) most often in the first trimester. From slight queasiness to proper vomiting, it subsides once the second trimester begins but there are those unlucky few whose morning sickness persists till the end of the pregnancy term.
What causes this morning sickness (nausea)
The cause has not been properly determined and it varies from one pregnancy to another; the few probable reasons include:
- High levels of the hormone HCG
- Diet rich in saturated fats in the prepregnancy days
- Blood vessel dilation caused by progesterone which in turn causes blood pressure level to drop
- Inefficient digestion caused by insufficient stomach juices
- An increase in oestrogen causes the liver to work overtime
- Altered senses which makes some smells and tastes unbearable
You are more prone..
- If you have a history of nausea from taking birth control pills
- If you have suffered from motion sickness
- If you have suffered from migraines
- If you are carrying twins or multiples
- If your mother or sisters had it
What you can do about it..
- Eat small frequent meals a day instead of the three biggies (breakfast, lunch, dinner with nothing in between)
- Snack healthily in between meals to keep the tummy full and prevent blood sugar level from dipping
- Snack before bedtime
- If you can eat, eat foods that you like for now; you can pay attention to nutrients later on. This way you are able to keep your blood sugar up and keep that sick feeling at bay
- Try taking your prenatal vitamin with food or just before bed and not first thing in the morning; also check with your doctor if you can switch to a vitamin with less iron as this mineral can be hard on your system
- Avoid stress and fatigue as a pregnant woman tires very easily anyway
- Before getting off your bed in the mornings, eat a cracker, dry toast or something equally bland with some water
- Try taking short naps in between to avoid being tired
- Ginger tea mixed with a little honey or lime juice helps
- You can try sniffing on a lemon; it didn't do anything for me but it just might work for you
- Foods and smells that bring on the queasy feeling should be avoided at all cost
- Maintain your protein intake (chicken soup) and complex carbohydrates (potato, rice)
- If you cannot eat, concentrate on drinking plenty of fluids; it is important to stay hydrated
- Evidence suggest Vitamin B6 taken in right dose helps in lessening the effects of sickness; seek your doctor's advice
- If nothing else works ask your doctor for antinausea medications that are safe during pregnancy
When to alert your doctor..
In its severe form, morning sickness can cause dehydration since you are not able to keep food or fluids down and the possibility of your baby missing out on nutrients. If you suspect your sickness is not 'normal', inform your doctor right away. Look out for the following:
- if you continue to throw up for days with few episodes per day
- if you are not able to hold down water
- if you develop a temperature
- if your sickness starts suddenly after being fine (it could be food poisoning of stomach flu so it is worth checking out with your doctor)
- if you have diarrhea in addition to vomiting
Ways to help keep water down...
- Keep a glass of water nearby at all times
- Change the water temperature to suit the mood; try icy cold water or warm drinks such as fruit teas, warm water with lemon
- Drinks with fizz may settle the nauseas feeling
- Don't drink and eat at the same time; leave some gap
- Experiment with flavors to find one that pleases you
Hyperemesis gravidarum or HG
This condition is when your vomiting is so often and severe that you are not able to hold down anything; forget food, you are not even able to keep liquids, prenatal vitamins and medication down for 24 hours. HG causes dehydration, malnutrition that could eventually harm both baby and mother. Sufferers of HG often require hospital treatment to rule out other possibilities.
On the flip side...
Nausea is regarded as a good sign by some as it shows the hormones are working properly and there is therefore no risk of miscarriage. But for the fortunate lot who do not go through typical pregnancy symptoms and still go on to deliver healthy babies, the question then arises that how can nausea account for a healthy pregnancy. So while it is true to some extent that women who end up with miscarriages are less likely to feel nauseated, a lack of nausea doesn't mean your pregnancy is not going right.