Morning sickness is a very common pregnancy symptom that pertains to nausea with or without vomiting. Most pregnant women will experience some form of nausea from as early as the first month of their pregnancy and an approximate one third of all cases will experience vomiting. Morning sickness usually ends through the 14th to 16th week (3rd or 4th month) but may linger throughout the pregnancy. Moreover, the amount of morning sickness experienced during one pregnancy does not necessarily correlate to morning sickness in future pregnancies. It is generally true for nausea and vomiting to worsen pregnancies with twins or triplets.
There is generally no need to be concerned over the baby’s health if one has morning sickness. It does not affect the growing baby’s health unless there is severe morning sickness, also called hyperemesis gravidarum. Other than that, mild to moderate symptoms are not harmful to the baby. Slight weight loss may also be considered in cases of moderate morning sickness.Contrary to belief, it may occur at any time of the day, thus its name morning sickness is a misnomer.
Causes of Morning Sickness
The exact cause of morning sickness remains unknown, although there are some factors that are known to increase chances of morning sickness:
- Hormonal changes in the body, such as increase in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and oestrogen
- Decrease blood sugar level
- Blood pressure fluctuation
- Increased sense if smell and sensitivity to odours
- Change in carbohydrate metabolism
- Sensitive stomach
- Emotional stress
- Certain foods
Symptoms of Morning Sickness
The intensity of symptoms will vary from woman to woman. The following are symptoms of morning sickness:
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Psychological effects including anxiety, depression, etc.
Management for Morning Sickness
There is typically no need for treatment in cases of morning sickness, however, there are several home remedies available that are known to somehow alleviate nausea and vomiting.
- Upon waking up, eat a few soda crackers or dry toast.
- Eat a small snack at bedtime and when going to the bathroom at night.
- Prefer to eat meals high in protein and complex carbohydrates and avoid meals high in fat and salt.
- Take products with ginger.
- Increase vitamin B6 in the diet. Take necessary prenatal vitamins
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Do not take antiemetic medications unless approved by the doctor.
Prevention of Morning Sickness
Although there is no way to completely guarantee prevention of morning sickness, there are several ways to reduce chances of developing morning sickness:
- Avoid eating large meals. Eat small frequent snacks and meals every one to two hours.
- Avoid smoking or even second-hand smoke.
- Avoid lying down after eating.
- Identify the foods, smells and other triggers that can activate nausea and avoid these.
Morning sickness is no generally considered a medical emergency. With sufficient home care, morning sickness can be effectively managed. To learn more about how to manage morning sickness and other conditions that may occur during pregnancy, enrol in First Aid Courses with workplace approved Training.
Morning Sickness.(2012). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003119.htm