According to any story you read or TV show you watch, pregnancy and morning sickness always go hand in hand.
It is certainly true that some 75% of women do get morning sickness. But that still leaves some 25% who do not!
So it is definitely not certain that if you are pregnant, you will get nausea.
The symptoms usually disappear by the 4th month
The term morning
sickness can be a bit of a misleading title as many pregnant women can actually have nausea all day long. For some, the symptoms are worse first thing in the morning but for others they can come and go throughout the day.
Several factors that may cause morning sickness
- Being highly strung.
- The build up of the hormone human chorionic gonadotopin (hCG) in your system during the first trimester.
- The rapid rise of the hormone estrogen during early pregnancy.
- An enhanced sense of smell as well as a sensitivity to certain smells during this time.
- A more sensitive stomach caused by the hormone progesterone. This hormone relaxes the workings of the whole digestive track which makes the elimination of bodily wastes slower, which can in turn lead to a slow emptying of the stomach causing excess stomach acids.
- The carrying of twins or higher multiples.
- A history of morning sickness in a previous pregnancy.
- A history of nausea and vomiting as a side effect from taking birth control pills.
- Your mother or sisters suffering from morning sickness.
- A history of migraines.
- If you are carrying a girl! It is said that morning sickness means you have a 50% greater chance of having a girl but I doubt if this has been scientifically proven!
Many doctors feel that morning sickness is a good thing because it indicates a healthy pregnancy and that the placenta and fetal membranes are developing well. But I also think doctors might say this to make the nauseas mom-to-be feel a bit better!
How to help overcome morning sickness?
- Avoid warm or hot places, as heat can increase the nausea, and open windows or turn on an extractor fan when cooking and after meals.
- Carry an old fashioned handkerchief on which have been sprinkled drops of peppermint oil so that you can breathe through the hanky. A few drops of the same can be added to a bowl or cup of boiling water next to your bed or a drop can be placed on your pillow at night.
- Eat something salty before a meal and avoid foods and smells that trigger your nausea by sticking to a more bland diet. Avoid spicy and fried food. Food served cold or at room temperature is often easier to eat. Eat small frequent meals and snacks throughout the day (say every 2 hours) so your stomach is never empty and of course do not skip meals.
- Eat more carbohydrates such as a plain baked potato, brown rice or dry toast.
- Other foods you can try are gelatin desserts, chicken broths, slightly sweetened decaffeinated or herbal teas, and pretzels.
- Keep simple snacks next to your bed so that whenever you wake up, you can eat a small amount. Crackers or dry cereals are good snacks to try.
- Rest about 20 minutes before getting up, and climb out of bed slowly.
- Drink fluids between meals in frequent small amounts so that you have 1.5 to 2 liters per day.
- Try to rest and relax as much as possible and avoid any stress. Take naps during the day and make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
- Ginger ale made with real ginger will settle the stomach as will peppermint tea.
- Take any vitamin supplements later in the day rather that in the morning. Some moms-to-be find the iron in prenatal vitaimin supplements causes nausea, so check with your doctor.
Just be aware that there is another level of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum
and while it is estimated that this extreme type of morning sickness only occurs in a very small percentage (under 2%) of pregnant women, it can be very unpleasant and if untreated, lead to life threatening complications for the mom-to-be and her unborn baby.
This condition causes severe nausea and vomiting that prevents the adequate intake of food and fluids and can lead to dehydration, weight loss and nutritional deficiencies as well as other complications. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room. The early intervention and treatment is critical.
Another theory about morning sickness is that in pregnancy, nausea protects you from eating the wrong foods. If something makes your feel unwell, it is your body’s way of telling you that you should not have it.