Pregnancy is such a joyous event, but if you have ever suffered from morning sickness, you know it can put quite a damper on your joyous celebration. About 50 percent of women suffer from morning sickness. Some women actually vomit, while others complain of severe nausea.
The name morning sickness can be misleading because it can occur at any time of day, not just in the morning. Unfortunately for some women, it can last all day.
Morning sickness usually starts in the first trimester of pregnancy, during the first nine weeks, and tends to peak around the tenth week. In most cases, it subsides between weeks fourteen and sixteen at the beginning of the second trimester of pregnancy.
Let's take a look at what causes morning sickness, eating with morning sickness, some tips for managing it during your pregnancy, and when to be concerned.
WHAT CAUSES MORNING SICKNESS?
Doctors don't know exactly what causes morning sickness and who will get it however an increase in pregnancy-related hormones is thought to be a common cause. One hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is thought to be a major contributor to morning sickness.
Studies show that women with higher hCG levels in their blood are more likely to suffer from morning sickness. The good news, hCG plays a key role in sustaining pregnancy, so the higher levels of hCG in your blood mean that you are less likely to miscarry.
You are at higher risk for morning sickness if you have one or more of the following factors:
- If you had morning sickness during a previous pregnancy
- If you are pregnant with multiple babies (twins, triplets, etc.)
- If you have a history of nausea and vomiting before pregnancy
- If other women in your family had morning sickness during pregnancy
TIPS FOR MANAGING MORNING SICKNESS
The thought of drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water may not sound like something you can do when experiencing morning sickness. However, being dehydrated can actually make your nausea worse. Experiment by adding cucumber slices, fruit, honey, or apple cider vinegar to your water to make it more appealing. Sucking on ice cubes made with water or fruit juice is also a good way to increase your hydration during pregnancy morning sickness.
Keep in mind, if you are vomiting while experiencing morning sickness you are losing electrolytes and hydration. You must replace what you are losing. Find a healthy electrolyte drink and drink a good amount of it daily.
Get Plenty of Rest
Getting plenty of rest is essential during pregnancy. If you aren't sleeping well at night, try to get a nap in during the day. Avoid lying down right after eating, though, as this can increase feelings of nausea.
Get Physical and Mental Activity
Although you may not feel like it, try to get some gentle physical activity like taking a walk or several short walks throughout the day. Physical activity has been found to decrease symptoms of morning sickness in some women. Also, try and engage in reading, puzzles, or any other activities to keep your mind busy.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
If your clothes are starting to feel tight around your stomach, it might be time to invest in some maternity clothes. Having tight, restrictive clothing, especially around your stomach, can increase morning sickness symptoms.
Practice Good Oral Care
Be sure to rinse out your mouth after vomiting as the acid from your stomach can damage your teeth. If brushing your teeth makes you vomit, then try rinsing your mouth with a solution of one cup water and one teaspoon baking soda to neutralize the acid.
EATING FOR MORNING SICKNESS RELIEF
Some women find that having an empty stomach tends to make the symptoms of morning sickness worse. Try eating some dry toast or saltine crackers before you get out of bed in the morning. Here are some other tips for eating with morning sickness during pregnancy:
- Eat more carbs
- Avoid spicy or greasy foods
- Salty foods are sometimes helpful
- Snack often during the day instead of eating bigger meals
- Foods and drink that contains ginger can help with nausea
- Hot tea, soups, and broth can also be soothing to your stomach
- If the smell of a certain food makes you queasy, stay away from it
- Drink electrolyte water or coconut water if you are vomiting a lot
- Try cold foods like melons, citrus fruits, veggies, shakes, and smoothies
- Try bland foods that are easy to digest like bananas, applesauce, rice, and toast
These are just some guidelines. If you find something that works well for you, whether it's eating at a certain time of day, eating ten times a day, or drinking ginger-ale with every meal, then do it. It's more than likely, only going to be for a few weeks of your pregnancy, and you will have plenty of time to focus on proper health and nutrition for your body and your baby.
WHEN TO BE CONCERNED
As you have read here, morning sickness during your pregnancy is a completely normal occurrence. While it isn't pleasant by any means, vomiting in pregnancy is something that a lot of women experience. However, about 3 percent of pregnant women experience an extreme morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum, which requires treatment to avoid potential complications for mother and baby. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor:
- weight loss
- dark-colored urine
- decreased urination
- unrelenting vomiting
- light-headedness or dizziness
- fainting or feeling like you’re going to pass out
Some of these symptoms can be caused from dehydration. Remember to hydrate and replace your electrolytes daily while you are experiencing morning sickness.
Pregnancy is a miraculous time of life. Morning sickness is just a little bump in the road along the way. Just remember that the majority of the time, morning sickness ends after early pregnancy. It can start to feel like it is never-ending but try to be patient and experiment with some of the tips listed above. Talk to your doctor to see if he or she has any other tips for combating pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting.
Morning sickness often disappears just as quickly as it starts. One day you will realize that you haven't felt nauseous for a whole week. It's a wonderful feeling when you can relax and celebrate all the little joys that come with being pregnant.