Nausea and vomiting, also known as Morning Sickness is experienced by most pregnant women in their first trimester. Morning Sickness is a rather misleading term which indicates that a pregnant woman can get sick only in the morning.
Does a pregnant woman experience Morning Sickness only in the mornings?
NO. It can happen anytime during the day. For some pregnant women, nausea and vomiting show up in the morning and subsides by the evening. For some pregnant women, it shows up in the afternoon or evening and subsides gradually. And for some pregnant women, nausea and vomiting don’t show up at all!
The medical term for Morning Sickness is Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy (NVP). Doctors estimate that at least 75% of the pregnant women experience this at least for a few days during their pregnancy.
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There is no specified time on when nausea or vomiting has to start. Some women experience nausea as early as 4 weeks and for some, it starts at around 6 weeks.
Usually, morning sickness lasts until the end of the first trimester. So, a pregnant woman might have to deal with it for around 6-8 weeks. However, for many women, it subsides after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
For many women, the queasiness doesn’t subside at all. They continue to experience it till the second trimester and for some women, it does not end until they deliver.
Researchers have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy until now. It is generally assumed that it could be due to multiples of physical changes happening in a pregnant women’s body.
Some of the possible reasons of morning sickness are:
Though it has not been established how hCG contributes to nausea, it has been observed that nausea peaks at the same time when hCG levels peaks in the expecting women’s body.
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High levels of estrogen hormone is also a possible cause of morning sickness as it is present in high levels during pregnancy.
Another possibility is that women who have sensitive digestive tracts are more likely to experience nausea as their stomachs can become sensitive to the numerous physical changes in pregnancy.
Image Source: pregnancypillows.org
Nausea and vomiting in the first trimester do not affect your baby. Though you may feel bogged down by fatigue and may not feel like eating food, it is still fine as your baby is still the size of a bean.
However, if nausea and vomiting continue even in your second and third trimester making you feel worse and is keeping you away from food, it is a cause of concern.
You are expected to consume a well-balanced nutritious diet in your second and third trimesters and gain weight. If you are unable to consume nutritious food due to nausea, your baby might not get all the nutrients, it needs thus affecting its growth.
However, if you get nausea sometimes and not everyday, you are gaining weight and the fetal growth is as expected, you need not worry. But if your nausea and vomiting are severe with repeated vomiting and dehydration, you should contact your doctor immediately.
This severe condition is known as hyperemesis gravidarum. It is usually treated by administration of intravenous fluids and nutrition. If untreated, it can lead to malnourishment of the fetus, cause strain on the vital organs like liver, kidneys and brain of the mother and depression caused by electrolyte imbalance.
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Like many other myths associated with pregnancy, morning sickness also comes with its own fair share.
Myth: Morning sickness indicates a healthy pregnancy.
Fact: It doesn’t necessarily indicate a healthy pregnancy. Though a number of studies have proved that women who had miscarriages experienced less morning sickness, the other way is not true. There are many women who have had healthy pregnancies without a single bout of morning sickness.
Myth: If you suffer from Morning sickness, you should get nausea and vomiting only in the mornings.
Fact: You can have nausea and vomiting any time in the day and it is perfectly alright to vomit in the middle of the night too.
Myth: Morning sickness reduces the nutrition supplied to your baby.
Fact: A few bouts of vomiting does not reduce the nutrition supply to your baby. However, a severe form called hyperemesis gravidarum can affect you as well as your baby. It has to be treated immediately by your doctor.
Myth: You should not take medication to ease Morning Sickness.
Fact: If nausea and vomiting are draining you out and affecting your daily routine, talk to your doctor and ask her to prescribe medicines that are safe for a pregnant woman. There is absolutely no harm in taking prescribed medicines during pregnancy, but over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are to be avoided at all cost.
Myth: Morning Sickness will start by 6 weeks and end by 12 weeks.
Fact: Always be aware that our bodies don’t work according to the clock and calendar. Morning sickness might start anytime after you are pregnant and may end only at the time of delivery. The duration of morning sickness varies from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy.
Image Source: fitpregnancy.com
There are some simple tips you can follow to ease morning sickness. Though it doesn’t really “cure” it, it provides ease and comfort to bear it.
An empty stomach can make your nausea worse. Have small frequent meals throughout the day, which not only keeps you energized but also keeps the blood sugar stable.
Include complex carbohydrates and proteins in your diet as they not only provide good nutrition but also make you feel full with a lesser quantity. Take Vitamin B6 after consulting your gynecologist which is known to help in reducing nausea.
Ginger, when used in moderation can reduce nausea. Drink ginger tea or keep ginger candies handy in your bag or add it to your curries/salads or just smell a piece of freshly cut ginger to make you feel better.
Many women feel better if they eat something before getting up in the bed. Try eating plain crackers or Marie biscuits before you get up.
Always sip water frequently to keep yourself hydrated and never take the water in gulps. This way you can ensure that you never get dehydrated if you vomit.
When you have nausea and vomiting, the best thing you can do is to rest! A small nap can do wonders in putting you to ease.
Try acupuncture or aromatherapy or acupressure or foot reflexology to reduce nausea.
Many women feel better by smelling a piece of lemon or any citrus fruits. Soak a few slices of lemon in water and sip it whenever you feel nauseated.
Yes. Many women find their own unusual remedy to battle morning sickness. Some find that eating a few salted potato chips before getting up from bed helps in reducing nausea. Some find that smelling a particular fragrance eases nausea. For some women, involving themselves in their favourite hobby reduces nausea. So, there is no harm is finding your own remedy as long as it does not harm you or your baby.
Dear Moms-to-be, nausea and vomiting are an unavoidable part of pregnancy for most women. Yes, it can tire you or may even frustrate you but it is something you have to undergo to give birth to another life and experience the joy of being a mother.
Whenever you feel nauseated, take complete rest and follow the tips to ease your queasiness. If you face severe vomiting, talk to your doctor immediately. Never allow yourself to feel weak because of dehydration. Have a happy pregnancy!
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