Dealing with Morning Sickness

Reviewed on : 11 July 2016

One of the most predictable signs of pregnancy is “Morning Sickness”, even though the irksome feeling may afflict the mother-to-be at any time of the day and in some cases even last throughout the day. Some pregnant women may experience morning sickness as a strong feeling of nausea and an urge to throw-up while others may actually experience vomiting.

The rapidly changing hormone levels in the first trimester is usually the culprit behind the sickness one feels. While in most cases, the symptoms may vanish by the end of the third month of pregnancy, some women may continue to vomit and/or feel nauseated for a longer duration, even after week 20.

Nausea, vomiting and fatigue are the most common symptoms during pregnancy. Almost 80% of pregnant women feel nauseated in the initial 12 weeks and almost 50% go through the never-ending visits to the toilet for vomiting.

Usually considered as a petty inconvenience faced during pregnancy, in some cases, this can have a disastrous effect on the everyday activities and quality of life of the mom-to be.

Morning sickness does not put the baby at any increased risk, though for some women a critical level of vomiting and nausea, can cause the condition hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which is serious and requires the immediate intervention of a specialist.

Contributing factors

Countless diverse factors may contribute to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Some of these are –

  • Vomiting and nausea in a preceding pregnancy
  • Tendency of vomiting and nausea in the family
  • History of motion sickness, like while travelling or going up a hill
  • Use of contraceptives that have oestrogen leading to vomiting in the past
  • Obesity or a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more
  • Stress
  • Multiple pregnancies, such as twins or triplets
  • First pregnancy

Countering through diet and lifestyle changes  

To counter morning sickness, experts initially recommend a number of changes in the diet plan and daily lifestyle, which include:

  • Getting as much rest as possible
  • Getting up slowly and eating something light before getting out of bed
  • Sipping on lots of fluids and not gulping large amounts
  • Eating proportioned, regular meals that are high in complex carbohydrates and low on fats
  • Substituting hot meals with cold ones and to avoid the smell that hot meals emit
  • Staying away from the foods or smells that make one feel sick
  • Refrain from having excessively cold or sweet drinks
  • Seeking additional support and help from near and dear ones including cooking meals
  • Thinking of the sickness as little as possible
  • Wearing comfortable clothes that have loose fit and do not have tight waistbands

Short-Term courses

If one has reached a critical level of vomiting and nausea and no amount of changes in diet and lifestyle seems to make the situation better then consult your healthcare professional for short-term courses of medications that help pregnant ladies deal with it.

Use of Ginger

Evidence suggests that ginger supplements are helpful in reducing vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. Further no studies as of now have reported any ill effects of consuming ginger during pregnancy. Some women have described how ginger biscuits, ginger beer and other items containing ginger has aided them in reducing nausea.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Opting for acupressure on the wrist might prove to be beneficial in diminishing symptoms of nausea during pregnancy. Many women have reported reduction in symptoms after wearing special acupressure bands or bracelets on the forearm. Researchers state that applying pressure on specific body parts causes the brain to excrete particular chemicals that help in reducing morning sickness.

When to visit a doctor

When morning sickness assumes such proportions that one is unable to eat or retain anything eaten, be it a food item or a drink, then there is a risk of getting dehydrated or remaining malnourished. It is important to contact a healthcare professional immediately, in case of :

  • Urine being a little too dark or no urination for more than eight hours
  • Inability to keep down food or fluids for a whole day
  • Extreme weakness, dizziness or fainting when trying to stand up
  • Experience of abdominal pain
  • Fever of 100.4F or higher
  • Blood in vomit

In some cases, urinary tract infections (UTIs) may also be the reason for nausea and vomiting. In case the attending healthcare professional considers it necessary to medicate you then it is possible to prescribe from various available categories that are safe for consumption during pregnancy.

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