An Introduction To Morning Sickness
Are you pregnant or just trying to conceive? Unfortunately, if you are looking to become a parent, it’s very likely that morning sickness could be in your near future. Morning sickness is one of the most common and unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy. It affects more than half of all pregnant women during their first trimester and can last into the second and possibly even third trimesters for some too. Feeling nauseous, having stomach pains, and even vomiting are signs of morning sickness and it is all too common for women in their first trimester of pregnancy. Morning sickness can be quite unpleasant and uncomfortable, but there are ways to reduce its effects or help prevent it from occurring.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness, which is also known as nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP), affects many women during their first-trimester pregnancy. Common signs and symptoms include nausea, sudden sick feeling, retching, but not actually vomiting increased salivation, and mild stomach cramps. While it usually occurs in the mornings when you wake up, it can happen at any time throughout the day.
Define what you Can and Cannot Eat
Making food choices based on the foods that do not aggravate your morning sickness like complex carbs and protein-rich foods, rather than focusing on what you cannot eat. Complex carbs such as bread and pasta are digested more slowly in the body keeping blood sugar steady and providing longer-lasting energy throughout the day. Protein also helps with stabilizing blood sugar levels so stick to food sources such as nuts, eggs, seafood, tofu, tempeh, legumes, dairy products, and lean meats when possible.
Why Does Morning Sickness Occur?
The exact cause of morning sickness isn’t well understood, but there are several theories as to why pregnant women may experience nausea. It could be due to hormonal changes associated with the beginnings of your baby’s development, changes in your body’s sensitivity level, or a combination of both biological factors and psychological influences. Although some people associate morning sickness with potential health risks for the baby developing inside you, research has not been able to establish any links between morning sickness and fetal health risks beyond obstetrical complications seen in extreme cases.
Ways to Combat Morning Sickness
While morning sickness can’t be cured completely, there are ways to manage it so that you can at least make it through each day with minimal discomfort:
- Eat small meals frequently throughout the day: This can help stave off hunger-induced nausea or an empty stomach-induced queasiness. Be sure to avoid anything that is heavy in grease or fat content as this will make symptoms worse!
- Avoid smells that trigger nausea: Most people find that certain smells set off their morning sickness so try to stay away from them whenever possible! Some examples include smokey barbecues or strong spices like curry powder and garlic powder.
- Try ginger tea: Ginger has been used for centuries for its natural anti-nausea properties so having a cup of ginger tea before bed or directly after waking up may just do the trick!
- Get plenty of rest: Being sleep deprived puts your body into an exhausted state which could honestly worsen any type of nausea feelings you’re experiencing due to your pregnancy hormones levels fluctuating constantly!
- Take prenatal vitamins: Taking prenatal vitamins regularly can help reduce some of your morning sicknesses since they contain folic acid and other essential nutrients for fetal development!
- Eat foods that settle your stomach: Foods high in carbohydrates such as crackers or cereal can help soothe an upset stomach as well as foods rich in protein like eggs or nut butter which helps reduce acidic levels in the stomach that can cause burning sensations and other gastrointestinal discomforts.
- Avoid spicy or greasy foods: Avoiding foods that are spicy or greasy may help eliminate feelings of nausea as these types of food often aggravate an already sensitive digestive system.
- Change positions gradually: Moving around or getting out of bed too quickly when you have morning sickness can make it worse; try sitting up slowly first before standing up.
- Get fresh air: Taking slow walks outdoors may also help ease those queasy feelings by breathing fresh air and providing distraction away from any triggers causing your symptoms.
Risks of Morning Sickness
Expecting mothers should be aware of the risk factors for morning sickness. Below are some of the main risk factors for morning sickness.
- Age: Morning sickness is more likely to occur in younger women who are pregnant for the first time.
- Previous History: Women who suffered from morning sickness during their last pregnancy tend to experience it again.
- Frequency of Pregnancies: Studies have shown that women who have closer pregnancies without enough recovery time between births tend to experience morning sickness more severely.
- Stress Levels: Stressful situations can contribute to an increase in nausea symptoms during pregnancy.
- Dietary Habits: Eating large meals late at night or consuming unhealthy snacks right before bed can worsen symptoms of morning sickness. It’s also important to eat frequent, small meals throughout the day rather than skipping breakfast or lunch and going all day without food until dinner.
- Medication Use: Certain medications can make you more prone to nausea, such as birth control pills or antidepressants taken during pregnancy. If this is the case for you, talk to your doctor about alternative treatment options that may better suit your needs and reduce your chances of feeling nauseous.
- Underlying Medical Conditions: Some conditions like thyroid disease or celiac disease can make you more vulnerable to bouts of nausea during pregnancy.
Complications of Morning Sickness
While nausea and vomiting are fairly common among pregnant women, there are some more serious complications of morning sickness.
- Dehydration: Morning sickness can cause excessive nausea and vomiting which may lead to dehydration or electrolyte imbalances. Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, decreased urination, dry skin or mouth, dizziness, or confusion.
- Malnutrition: Morning sickness can lead to malnutrition if not adequately managed. Malnutrition during pregnancy increases the risk of inadequate fetal growth and nutrient deficiency in newborns. Additionally, low-weight babies tend to experience more health complications including respiratory illness in infancy and an increased chance for chronic conditions as they age such as obesity and hypertension.
- Gastrointestinal Issues: Excessive vomiting associated with morning sickness might cause stomach acid to erode the protective lining of your esophagus leading to heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder). It’s important to speak with your doctor if you’re experiencing acid reflux or other GI problems related to morning sickness for proper diagnosis and treatment options.
- Increased Risk for Depression: Severe cases of morning sickness increased the risk for depression in new mothers after the birth of their child due to changes in hormones during early pregnancy that affect mood regulation centers in the brain. In some cases these depressive symptoms resolve after delivery; however many women continue to struggle with depression throughout pregnancy if left untreated so it’s important to talk about how you’re feeling with your healthcare provider.
Here’s what you need to know about when to see a doctor for morning sickness.
- You Should See a Doctor if the Symptoms Are Severe or Prolonged: Morning sickness can be severe in some cases, leading to vomiting more than four times per day or dehydration from excessive fluid loss through vomiting. If your symptoms significantly interfere with your daily activities and/or your ability to eat and drink normally, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
- Consult Your Doctor If You Vomit Blood or Have Abdominal Pain: If you experience vomiting blood (also known as “hematemesis”) or abdominal pain along with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, this is an indication that something isn’t right. You should contact your doctor right away so they can investigate further and rule out any underlying conditions that may be causing these symptoms.
- Call Your Doctor if You Experience Unusual Cravings or Weight Loss: Although food cravings are normal during pregnancy. If you start experiencing unusual cravings such as wanting to eat dirt or clay, this could be a sign of something more serious – known as Pica. This requires medical attention. In addition, if you find yourself losing weight instead of gaining it during pregnancy, it’s important that you contact your doctor for proper guidance on how best to manage the issue before it becomes too serious.
- Contact Your Doctor Immediately If You Experience Severe Headaches: One should never ignore severe headaches along with blurry vision during pregnancy. Seek medical advice immediately if you experience these symptoms at a level where they start interfering with daily activities such as driving or reading. Furthermore, headaches along with fever tend to indicate an infection. Again requiring immediate medical attention. So consult your doctor right away if this happens.
For most women suffering from morning sickness during their pregnancies, making lifestyle changes such as eating small meals throughout the day instead of three big ones is enough to get some relief. However, in some cases, it might not be enough and it may require medical intervention. As such, always pay close attention to how severe your symptoms are and take action accordingly – i.e., discuss them with your doctor in order for them to make the appropriate recommendations on how best to manage them effectively throughout the duration of your pregnancy.