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Dealing with Morning Sickness

Updated on August 22, 2010

Having a baby is supposed to be a joyous time, but it's hard to celebrate when you constantly have that feeling of nausea that leads to trips to the bathroom. When your pregnant there are a number of things that can be the actual cause of morning sickness.

Morning sickness really doesn't mean that it happens just in the morning. It is something that can occur any time of the day. Many women no longer have to worry about morning sickness after about their 12th month of pregnancy, but others may have it persist through their whole pregnancy. It poses no actual threat to the pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms of Morning Sickness

Some women have a higher risk of developing morning sickness than others. If they have experienced nausea or vomiting from: motion sickness, migraines, some tastes or smells, or birth control pills before their pregnancy then they are more apt to have it. Past pregnancy symptoms are also a sign. If a woman experienced morning sickness before it is likely that she will again. Also, if multiple babies are expected the woman is at a higher risk of morning sickness.

Morning sickness is basically just nausea and vomiting, but not every woman has both of those symptoms. It is possible to have both nausea and vomiting, or just to suffer from the nausea.

Some women may overlook the signs of something more severe as nothing more than morning sickness.

The Mayo Clinic, USA, says that it is important to CALL YOUR DOCTOR if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Severe nausea and vomiting (especially because this impaires your ability to function/eat)
  • are passing only a small amount of urine
  • your urine is dark in color
  • can't keep any liquids down
  • feels very dizzy when you stand up
  • faint when you stand up
  • your heart races
  • you vomit blood

Causes of Morning Sickness

So what is morning sickness?  Many women never really think to ask what morning sickness is.  Their main concern is ways to get rid of it, or to at least ease the symptoms.

Morning sickness is thought to be caused by a variety of changes that take place in a woman's body when she becomes pregnant.

  • Estrogen and progesterone hormones rise during pregnancy
  • Hypoglycemia - low blood sugar caused by the placenta draining energy from the mother's body. (no scientific studies done to support this)
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone being released during pregnancy to help maintain the levels of progesterone, which is vital to the pregnancy.
  • Increase in sensitivity to odors may overstimulate normal nausea triggers
  • Some experts believe it to be an evolutionary adaptation that protects mothers and their babies from food poisoning.  They feel it is an evolved trait that protects the fetus against toxins that are ingested by the mother.

Some scientists have actually found a good correlation between toxin concentrations in foods, and the tastes and odors that cause revulsion.

Ways to Alleviate Symptoms

 In most cases, treatment from a doctor is not necessary.  There are a number of things that women can do at home to help alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness.

  • Get plenty of rest - Being tired can make nausea worse.
  • Drink liquids (water) in more frequent and small amounts instead of every so often through the day in large quantities may reduce vomiting.  Sucking ice cubes made from water/fruit juice, or trying lollipops may help.
  • Food that you eat. - Eating more smaller meals throughout the day may help, especially if they are high-carbohydrate meals.  Dry foods such as crackers or crisp-bread are usually better tolerated than sweet or spicy foods.  Cold food is also found to be better than eating hot as it has less odor.
  • Keep food in your stomach all day. - Many women who have morning sickness notice an improvement in their symptoms when they avoid an empty stomach throughout the day.  Keep healthy snacks handy to keep the nausea at bay.
  • Finding what triggers it throughout the day and trying to avoid it.

The next step if all else fails would be to talk to your doctor.  If you have followed all of those steps and your nausea and/or vomiting is still severe there are medications that your doctor can prescribe to you.  The doctor may prescribe anti-sickness medication that is by itself, or even some that come in prenatals.

Ginger supplements have been something else that has been used to sooth the stomach.  There are many places to buy ginger from, and it comes in many forms.  A popular one is ginger candys or chews.  If you buy ginger supplements make sure to buy them from a reputable source.

Accupressure has been another way that women have been trying to take care of their morning sickness.  It is the application of pressure on specific points on the body to control a variety of symptoms. It involves wearing a special band on the forearm. There is some limited evidence suggests that this may help improve nausea and vomiting symptoms in pregnant women.


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