During the early stages of pregnancy, nausea and vomiting have commonly been observed in most ladies. This can occur during any time of the day or throughout the day and can make the lady feel unpleasant and significantly affect her day-to-day life. This nausea experienced especially during pregnancy is known as morning sickness.
Morning sickness is usually experienced from week 6 to week 12 of the pregnancy and the symptoms of nausea go away by the third month of the pregnancy. Morning sickness is also one of the primary indicators of pregnancy and is generally not a cause of concern medically unless it causes dehydration and weight loss.
Although the exact cause of nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy are not known, experts have suggested some theories which might be directly/indirectly causing the pregnant woman nauseousness. These theories are –
- Increase in the levels of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, human chorionic, gonadotrophin (hCG), and cholecystokinin which can lead to changes in the digestive activity.
- Low blood sugar resulting from the placenta’s need for energy
- The sense of smell during pregnancy is more sensitive, making the woman susceptible to some smells thereby increasing the feeling of nauseousness.
Some researchers have indicated that having morning sickness is a good sign as it is associated with lower chances of pregnancy loss.
Since it is not advised for pregnant women to take unprescribed medication during early pregnancy and the vomiting and nausea during morning sickness is manageable, some tips have been recommended by experts to relieve the symptoms.
- Getting plenty of rest especially during the night. Napping immediately after meals should be avoided as it increases nausea. Sleeping pills should be avoided if they’re not prescribed by a doctor.
- Eating carefully
- Caffeine, fatty and spicy foods trigger the release of stomach acid and can cause nausea. Bland foods are mostly less aggravating.
- Eating small portions can keep the nausea at bay. It is not advised to keep the stomach empty as the acids produced in the stomach will have nothing to act on except the stomach lining, adding to the feeling of nausea.
- Eating salty crackers or protein snacks on waking up in the morning.
- Eating fruits containing potassium like apple, pears, bananas or citrus fruits for breakfast will help the mother feel satisfies early.
- Carbohydrates also help with nausea. Example, baked potatoes, rice, dry toast, etc.
- Consuming high protein snacks at night, before bed helps in the regulation of blood glucose levels.
- Eating food cold helps reduce the smell while eating.
- Being physically and mentally active can take the mind off of the nauseousness, thereby relieving the symptoms.
- Keeping oneself hydrated is important as dehydration can aggravate nausea. Adding apple cider vinegar & honey to water can make it more satisfying to drink. Sucking on ice cubes made from water or fruit juices is also an effective method for keeping hydrated.
- Ginger & peppermint tea help reduce abdominal discomfort, settle the stomach and aid in digestion, thereby relieving the symptoms of nausea.
- Wearing loose & comfortable clothing have also helped women have fewer symptoms of nausea compared to wearing tight-fitting clothes.
- Consuming vitamins and supplements before bed along with other snacks have proven effective. Vitamin B6 seems to help relieve nausea; iron supplements on the other hand aggravate nauseousness and are advised to be taken along with juices or vitamin C for better absorption.
- Avoiding prolonged exposure to monitor flicker as it causes strain on the eye and may cause nausea.
- Avoiding triggers that cause morning sickness. Since strong smells usually aggravate nausea, it is advised that the ladies learn to recognize their triggers and avoid them. The smell of lemon extract and rosemary though have seemed to help relieve nausea in some cases.
- Taking prescription antacids before bed can reduce the stomach acid levels, preventing acid reflux and subsequently vomiting in the morning.