Morning Sickness

Morning sickness refers to symptoms of nausea and vomiting that are experienced by pregnant women. They can occur during any time of the day, but may be aggravated in the mornings. Morning sickness varies in intensity. The condition is known to occur in three quarters of women during the first trimester of pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting are experienced by nearly half of all pregnant women. The symptoms usually begin during the sixth week of pregnancy, but may even begin as early as the fourth week. The symptoms then tend to increase over the following month. Many women find that the symptoms subside and even disappear completely by the fourteenth week of pregnancy. But for others pregnancy symptoms may continue to act up for a lot longer. Bouts of morning sickness may also come and go sporadically through the pregnancy, with no particular pattern. The experience of morning sickness can leave you feeling fatigued, but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms.

Symptoms of Morning Sickness

The main symptoms of morning sickness include nausea, vomiting and tiredness. In addition many women also experience constipation, back pain, swelling of the breasts and darkening of the areola. Symptoms of morning sickness are not a cause for concern. They occur because the body is adjusting to the progressing pregnancy. It is a sort of defense mechanism which enables you to accept the changes taking place in your body. Each women adapts differently to pregnancy and hence morning sickness may occur in some women and may be completely absent in others. This too is not a cause for worry. There is no evidence that links lack of morning sickness with problems in pregnancy. In case there are still doubts regarding the matter, it is advisable to discuss it with your doctor.

Morning sickness is not likely to affect the baby in any way. Due to nausea and vomiting, many women lose their appetite and are not able to gain weight easily. If weight gain does not take place in the first trimester, it is not a cause for concern. However it is important that the body is not starved. Good hydration must also be ensured. Mostly, women are able to regain their appetite soon and weight gain starts occurring properly. In cases where nausea and vomiting is severe and continuous, there may be a risk of premature birth and low birth weight.

Causes of Morning Sickness

The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown, but it is likely to be due to a combination of factors. One possible cause of morning sickness is the increase in levels of the hormone, hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin. HCG levels increase quickly during the early stages of pregnancy and this is also the time when nausea is experienced. Women with higher hCG levels, owing to multiple pregnancies tend to suffer from increased nausea and vomiting. The hormone, estrogen, could also contribute to morning sickness as its levels increase rapidly in early pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to become sensitive to various odors, and exposure to particularly strong smells may trigger nausea. The changes that occur during early pregnancy lead to increased sensitivity of the gastrointestinal tract and this could be associated with symptoms of nausea. Findings from some studies and research suggest that some women are more prone to nausea and vomiting because of the manner in which they respond to stress.

Some pregnant women are more vulnerable to symptoms of nausea and vomiting due to certain factors. Women carrying twins or multiples experience a greater increase in hormonal levels and this could cause morning sickness to intensify. Women who have experienced nausea and vomiting in previous pregnancies are also likely to experience it in subsequent ones. The intake of birth control pills in the past does tend to cause nausea and vomiting in some women and these women may also experience the symptoms during pregnancy. This may have something to do with how they respond to rising estrogen levels. Women whose mothers or sisters experienced morning sickness are likely to be genetically predisposed to it. Symptoms of morning sickness may also occur in women who have a history of motion sickness.

Remedies for Morning Sickness

If you do have trouble with morning sickness symptoms, you needn’t wait impatiently for them to abate, although the anticipation of your child is probably already getting the better of you. For mild cases of morning sickness, there are several simple remedies that are helpful. Firstly it helps to eat smaller meals frequently through the day instead of keeping to just three large meals. This will ensure that your stomach is never empty. Some women obtain relief after eating carbohydrate rich foods while others experience improvement after eating protein rich foods. It is best to experiment to figure out which foods suit you the best. But ensure that whatever you eat is healthy and good for you and your baby. Nausea and vomiting is usually more intense in the mornings and a good way to deal with this is to keep some light snacks by your bedside. You can eat a little when you wake up and then rest for about 20 minutes. This will ease the symptoms and make you feel better when you finally get out of bed. Snacks such as crackers work best for most women and you can also nibble on them when you experience nausea at night. When you’re pregnant its quite unlikely that you would leap out of bed at the break of dawn, but take it easy. Don’t get out of bed as soon as you wake up. Instead laze and loll about for a bit. This isn’t advice that you’d normally receive, so enjoy it while you’re pregnant. Getting out of bed in this manner, will in most cases help to prevent dizziness. Certain foods are likely to trigger nausea and it is best identify and avoid such foods. It is better to stick to a bland diet as these are less likely to result in vomiting. Hot foods have a stronger aroma and therefore it is advisable to have your meals at room temperature or cold. Nausea and heartburn generally occur when you eat fatty foods that are harder to digest. Also avoid spicy and fried foods as these can affect digestion. Avoid drinking a lot of fluid at a time, to the extent that you feel full. Have your fluids between meals or sip on them throughout the day. If there has been excessive vomiting, you need to stay hydrated. Drinks that help to replace depleted salts and electrolytes are beneficial. Some women find that eating protein rich foods just before going to bed is helpful as it keeps the blood sugar levels balanced.

Nausea and vomiting may sometimes be triggered by other factors as well, such as perfumes, a stuffy room or even flickering lights. Stay away from such triggers as much as possible. Tiredness can also make you feel more nauseated and hence getting adequate rest is imperative. To prevent digestive problems, take prenatal vitamins just before bedtime or along with your meal. An excellent cure for queasiness is ginger. Sip on some ginger tea or chew on ginger candies for relief from morning sickness. Some women use acupressure to ease their symptoms. There are acupressure bands available in drug stores that can be strapped on the wrist. The band exerts pressure on a certain point and this helps to ease symptoms of morning sickness. Peppermint oil is also known to relieve feelings of nausea due to its aroma. A few drops of the oil may be added to a bowl and kept near the bed. The oil may also be used in a diffuser. Apple cider vinegar is believed to help in reducing queasiness as well. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water and consume whenever there is nausea. Some pregnant mothers experience nausea and discomfort when anything exerts pressure around the waist, neck and abdomen. Therefore it is important to dress comfortably. Also try to stay upright or lie on the right side after eating as this will prevent heartburn. Lying on the back often worsens nausea and abdominal discomfort.

Women who are not able to obtain relief through these natural remedies should speak to their doctors regarding medications. Doctors usually recommend vitamin B6 supplements as this is known to alleviate symptoms and is also safe for pregnant women. It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully with regard to the dosage. In case you experience continuous vomiting that prevents you from keeping any food or fluids down make sure that you consult a doctor immediately. Medical attention is also necessary in case other symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, blood in the vomit and fever occur are observed.

Diet for Morning Sickness

Making certain dietary changes helps in relieving symptoms of morning sickness. It is also important to ensure that your diet supplies all the essential nutrients needed for the healthy development and growth of your baby. Drinking cold or frozen fluids helps in alleviating nausea and vomiting to a large extent. Avoid foods that have too much seasoning in them and also avoid acidic foods. A minimum of 8 to 10 glasses of water are necessary every day. It is best to avoid being hungry as much as possible as morning sickness is aggravated when the stomach is empty. Not eating will cause acidity in the stomach and will also bring down blood sugar levels.

Suggestion for Morning Sickness

Fish such as sword fish and shark fish have very high mercury levels and hence must be avoided completely by pregnant women.

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