Morning sickness during pregnancy

Morning sickness. Ugh.

Morning sickness, characterized by nausea, vomiting, and food aversions, is one of those tough conditions that just about every pregnant person (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 a set of symptoms commonly felt during the first trimester of pregnancy. When most people refer to “morning sickness,” they’re probably talking about their nausea and vomiting. Although the name implies you’ll only have symptoms at a certain time of day, these symptoms can strike at any time–day or night.

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 early as three weeks after conception, and often lasts until about week 12. Morning sickness symptoms will fade by the end of the first trimester in most cases, but some may be affected by nausea and vomiting throughout their pregnancy. When severe, this is a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, and it can lead to dehydration or other complications. It’s important to let your healthcare provider know if your nausea and vomiting are making it impossible to eat or drink or if they seem to be hanging around a bit longer than expected.

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 theories suggest that morning sickness is an evolutionary adaptation designed to protect you and your baby from unsafe foods, but this is very much unproven. Research has recently found a root cause for hyperemesis, and the hope is that newer treatments may follow this discovery.

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. However, there are some definitely other ways to treat your morning sickness:

  • Try avoiding large and heavy meals in favor bland frequent small snacks. Grazing can help you avoid hunger and related nausea.
  • 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. Focus on any food that’s appealing to you, you can focus on a balanced approach when you’re feeling better!
  • Drink plenty of water, or try hydrating fruit if water is tough to drink.
  • Try some ginger, giner candies or ginger ale. Ginger has natural anti-nausea properties that can be helpful. Some people find sour candy or lemon equally effective.
  • You could also try other approaches like sea-bands, or acupuncture.

Morning sickness is something that most parents-to-be battle, for at least a little while. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers how they coped with their morning sickness and for some additional support. 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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