Morning sickness during pregnancy

Morning sickness. Ugh.

Morning sickness, characterized by nausea, vomiting, food aversions and fatigue, among a number of other symptoms, is one of those icky conditions that just about every pregnant mom (about 75%) will experience, so don’t worry – you’re in good company.

What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness is an umbrella term used to describe some symptoms commonly felt by new moms-to-be during their first trimester of pregnancy. When most women refer to “morning sickness” they’re probably talking about their nausea and vomiting (often, but not always, occurring in the morning, hence the name), but morning sickness can encompass a wide array of other symptoms as well.

When does morning sickness strike?

Contrary to what you might think, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day. Morning sickness can appear as few as three weeks after conception, and often lasts until about week 12. Morning sickness symptoms will fade by the end of the first trimester for most women, but some may be affected by nausea and vomiting throughout their pregnancy. This is a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, and can lead to dehydration, so it’s important to let your healthcare provider know if your nausea and vomiting seem to be hanging around a bit longer than you’d like.

What causes morning sickness?

Experts still aren’t quite sure exactly why morning sickness happens, but they have some pretty good ideas. Many believe elevated levels of hormones like hCG and estrogen may play a role in the symptoms, in that sneaky, unpredictable way that hormones do. Other possibilities include a heightened sense of smell, and a sensitive stomach.

Women who experienced nausea on the birth control pill are more likely to experience morning sickness, as are women with a history of migraines, and those carrying multiple babies.

Other theorists suggest that morning sickness is an evolutionary adaptation designed to protect you and Baby, but this is very much unproven.

How can you treat morning sickness?

Because certain medications can be dangerous to take while you’re pregnant, it’s important to check with your healthcare provider before taking any medicine meant to treat your morning sickness, and in general. However, there are definitely some more natural ways to treat your morning sickness:

  • Try avoiding fatty, processed foods in favor of fresh fruits and veggies
  • Start the day with a couple of plain crackers before getting out of bed, it could help your stomach for the rest of the day
  • Avoid any foods that you have an aversion, or negative reaction to
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Try some ginger, or ginger ale. Ginger has natural anti-nausea properties that can be wonderful for women experiencing morning sickness
  • You could also try other remedies like sea-bands, or acupuncture, as well as eating frequent, small meals far removed from bedtime

Morning sickness is something that most moms-to-be battle with, for at least a little while, so it might be a good idea to ask your friends, family, co-workers, and strangers on the street who have children how they coped with their morning sickness. Just remember to make sure with your healthcare provider that whatever remedy you select is pregnancy-safe!

Read more
  • G V Pepper, S C Roberts. “Rates of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and dietary characteristics across populations.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 273(1601): 2675-2679. Web. 10/22/2006.
  • E Ernst, MH Pittler. “Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.” British Journal of Anaesthesia. 84(3):367-71. Web. Mar-00.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Morning sickness.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 9/18/2014. Web.
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Morning Sickness: FAQ126.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 10/12/2015. Web.

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