Morning sickness is a common symptom experienced by many women during early pregnancy. Although the name suggests that this problem only happens in the morning, it can occur at any time during the day or even the night.
According to some estimates, as many as eight out of every ten women who are pregnant will feel nauseated at some time in the duration of their pregnancy, and up to six out of every ten women will have experienced pregnancy-related vomiting. A quarter of pregnant women end up suffering from morning sickness so severe that they have difficulty going to work and completing other daily activities (myDr, 2018).
Typically, morning sickness begins during the sixth week of pregnancy and lasts up until the beginning of the second trimester. Unfortunately, one in ten women suffers from nausea and vomiting throughout their pregnancy (myDr, 2018).
Causes Of Morning Sickness
The exact cause of this pregnancy symptom is unknown. It has been suggested that because pregnancy is associated with hormonal changes, that hormones could be to blame. Other possible causes include fluctuations in blood pressure, changes in carbohydrate metabolism, or simply the enormous physical and chemical changes to the body that are triggered by pregnancy.
Women who are pregnant with more than one child, have a family history of morning sickness, or have suffered from morning sickness in their previous pregnancies are more likely to suffer from the same condition again.
Morning sickness cannot cause any complications for the unborn baby. Although the physical act of vomiting and retching can strain and cause aching and soreness of the abdominal muscles in the mother, the foetus remains perfectly cushioned inside the amniotic fluid sac. Studies have even shown that a moderate amount of morning sickness is associated with a lowered risk of miscarriage.
Self-Care Tips To Cope With Morning Sickness
Some of the following methods are thought to help pregnant women cope with morning sickness;
- Getting plenty of sleep and physical rest.
- Eating small, yet frequent meals throughout the day. This is so that the stomach is never too full or empty – both which can worsen feelings of nausea.
- Consuming foods which are dry, salty, or high in carbohydrates can help to relieve morning sickness.
- Some women also suggest eating high protein snacks between main meals.
- Avoiding foods which aggravate nausea. Commonly spicy and fatty foods can intensify feelings of sickness.
- Eating cold foods, as these have less of an aroma than hot foods. This is useful for women whose nausea is triggered by the smell of food.
- Increase fluid consumption between meals instead of during meals. Some fluids such as sports drinks and diluted juices may be easier to drink.
- Opt for foods or drinks which contain ginger as ginger has been shown to relieve nausea.
- Take vitamin B6 supplements, as these have also been shown to reduce nausea.
- Wear acupressure wristbands. These are usually used to combat motion sickness by stimulating an acupressure point on the inside of your wrist, and some women find these wristbands reduce symptoms of morning sickness.
If none of the above self-coping tips helps morning sickness, or feelings of nausea and vomiting are severe, then medicines are available.
Severe morning sickness is clinically referred to as hyperemesis gravidarum and is estimated to affect up to one in every thousand pregnant women. The condition is accompanied by repeated vomiting, weight loss, and even dehydration. The treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum involves hospitalisation where the patient is then administered intravenous liquids and extra nutrition (Betterhealth, 2018).
If you are pregnant and are suffering from morning sickness, then try the above self-care tips to relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting. If you have lost weight quickly or are feeling depressed during your pregnancy, speak to your doctor about your medicinal options.
Medical information published on this website is of a general nature only and not intended to be a substitute for informed healthcare professional advice or clinical care. If you have specific healthcare concerns or issues you should consult with a qualified health care professional such as your own GP.