For women who have been wanting to get pregnant, morning sickness can be a welcome symptom. For other women, morning sickness feels like a curse.
The nine months of pregnancy are filled with many unusual symptoms. Some pleasant symptoms, like feeling the baby’s first kicks and movements, and some unpleasant symptoms, like heartburn, frequent urination, morning sickness, and back pain. Even though morning sickness can make you feel like you’re pregnant, it can make life annoying to downright challenging.
Women have endured pregnancy and the symptoms that go along with it for years. This article will take a closer look at morning sickness.
- what morning sickness is,
- what morning sickness feels like,
- when in pregnancy morning sickness starts,
- natural home remedies for morning sickness.
What Is Morning Sickness and What Does It Feel Like?
Morning sickness is the catch all term for any nausea and vomiting that can occur during pregnancy. This can range from mild nausea and queasiness, all the way to occasional, daily, or severe vomiting.
Morning sickness also adds significantly to the fatigue commonly associated with pregnancy.
Not all women get morning sickness, but the majority of women do. As many as 90% of pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness at some point during their pregnancy.
In the past, morning sickness was thought to prevent the mother and her unborn baby from food born illnesses but that theory is no longer supported by most experts. Since most pregnant women prefer to eat bland foods such as crackers and toast, they run a much lower risk of illness that can come from foods like meat, eggs, and cheese.
About 1% of all pregnant women will suffer from morning sickness so intense that it causes dehydration. This is called Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is usually blamed on the flood of hormones that naturally occur during pregnancy.
Estrogen is a hormone that women normally have, pregnant or not. However, estrogen levels can multiply up to 100 times during pregnant. Estrogen levels do not seem to affect whether or not a woman suffers from morning sickness.
The hormone progesterone relaxes the muscles which is important for delivering a full term baby. However, progesterone also affects the stomach and intestines which makes digestion slower.
It also explains why heartburn, a burning feeling in the throat caused by a relaxed muscle at the top of the stomach, often occurs during the latter part of pregnancy.
You may know pregnancy tests show a positive result when hCG is present either in the blood or urine. Women don’t normally have hCG in their bodies unless they are pregnant. This is because the growing baby produces hCG.
Some pregnancy experts believe that hCG is one cause of morning sickness. It appears that the more hCG the growing baby or babies produce, the greater your chance of experiencing morning sickness.
How Early does Morning Sickness Occur?
During pregnancy, morning sickness usually starts at around 6 weeks of pregnancy, or about two weeks after a woman misses her period. Some women may feel nauseous before this time. Some women don’t suffer from morning sickness until many weeks into their pregnancy.
Typically, the majority of pregnant women will experience their worst morning sickness symptoms during the first trimester, from weeks 6 to 12.
Some women feel nauseous and vomit all day long. Other women only experience morning sickness at specific times of the day. It may be called “morning” sickness, but it can happen at any time of day.
Morning sickness often eases up at the end of the first trimester. Most women begin to feel better during the second trimester, that is, weeks 13 to 27 of pregnancy.
In the last trimester, the last 12 weeks, morning sickness can also occur in the form of nausea caused by heartburn.
The truth is, morning sickness can occur during any part of pregnancy. Some women are sick or feel sick throughout their entire pregnancy. Some women suffer from only the occasional episode of morning sickness. And others are fortunate enough to leave morning sickness behind after the first trimester or 13th week of pregnancy.
The Dangers of Morning Sickness
There are dangers associated with severe morning sickness (Hyperemesis Gravidarum). If you are unable to eat, drink, or you can’t keep food or liquids down, you may become dehydrated. This puts both mother and baby at risk.
If you are pregnant and experience severe morning sickness, it is important that you contact your doctor. He or she may do some blood or urine tests and even an ultrasound to determine whether or not your pregnancy-induced illness is putting either you or your baby in jeopardy.
There is medication that can help decrease the symptoms of morning sickness and prevent your risk of dehydration.
Other symptoms you should not ignore:
- blood in your vomit,
- dark coloured urine (may indicate dehydration),
- weight loss,
- abdominal pain,
- feeling feverish and hot,
- feeling faint when you stand up,
- racing heart rate.
If you experience any of these symptoms, this may be an indication that you are experiencing the most severe form of morning sickness. Contact your Doctor immediately.
Can You Avoid Morning Sickness?
One secret to minimizing morning sickness is to know how to handle it. If you suffer from the less severe forms of morning sickness, you can learn how to deal with it.
However, what works for one woman may not work for another. And what works to manage morning sickness during one woman’s pregnancy may not work in the next pregnancy.
Here is a list of things you can try to avoid morning sickness in the first place:
- Rest More. It’s common to be more tired than usual during your first trimester. But being overly tired will multiply any feelings of nausea. Go to bed earlier, avoid caffeine, and nap when you can.
- Keep Hydrated. Take sips of water throughout the day rather than drinking large amounts at one time. Also, drink between meals, not with meals.
- Smaller Meals. Drink and eat small amounts of food frequently during the day. Large meals and a full stomach tend to trigger nausea and vomiting. Smaller meals can also help keep blood sugar levels stable which often helps reduce morning sickness.
- Motion Sickness Bands. Acupressure wristbands meant for motion sickness can help control symptoms of morning sickness. Some women find great relief from this simple bracelet.
- Breakfast in bed. Feeling hungry can make you feel nauseous, especially first thing in the morning. Keep some easily digestible foods such as crackers by your bed and nibble on them before getting up for the day.
- Avoid Triggers. One trigger that all pregnant women seem to share is an increased sense of smell. Smells that you didn’t like before pregnancy will seem ten times as bad. And new smells that make you feel sick often pop up during pregnancy. Avoid them as much as you can.
- Pan off Kitchen Duties. If food smells trigger your nausea or vomiting, you might need to avoid cooking or even being in the kitchen. If you can’t find a replacement, you may need to rely on quick, cold meals for a while.
- Avoid Heat. Feeling hot worsens nausea so as much as possible, stay at normal room temperature. Stay in air conditioning in the summer, cool down in a swimming pool, and stay away from saunas and hot tubs.
- Fresh Air. If possible, get outside to breathe fresh air every day. Of course, if the air quality is poor or your neighbourhood always smells awful, you may need to drive to the country in order to stretch your legs.
- Gentle Exercise. If you feel up to it, a little light exercise can also help ease nausea. Don’t push yourself too hard. Listen to your body and take small sips of water when you workout.
- Avoid Extremes. Ice cold drinks can trigger morning sickness. Some women find that room temperature beverages or flat ginger ale can help minimize nausea.
- Avoid Trigger Foods. Foods that are likely to trigger morning sickness include foods with strong flavours, spicy, fatty, greasy, and fried foods.
- Avoid Caffeine. Whether or not coffee still sits well in your pregnant belly, avoiding caffeine can be helpful in reducing your symptoms of morning sickness. If you can’t give up coffee all together, at least reduce your coffee intake or switch to decaf.
- Find Foods that Work for You. Eat foods that help settle your tummy. Typical tummy tamers include crackers, potato chips, watermelon, ginger ale, and lemonade.
For more food related ideas that have helped tame morning sickness symptoms for other women, keep reading.
More Natural Home Remedies for Morning Sickness
Here are some specific food or beverage ideas that can help reduce the symptoms of morning sickness.
- Ginger is a Girl’s Best Friend. Ginger capsules, ginger tea, ginger lozenges, ginger chews, and ginger ale can all help settle your stomach and are thought to be safe to take during pregnancy. Consult your Doctor to see if he or she thinks ginger is safe for you.
- Peppermint is also Sweet. Peppermint tea and all things peppermint scented are another tummy settling aroma/flavour.
- Raspberry Tea. If ginger or peppermint tea doesn’t work for you, you can also try raspberry tea. If you find hot beverages worsen your morning sickness, allow it to cool to room temperature and drink as “iced tea.”
- Anise Tea. One last tea flavour to try is anise. If you haven’t heard of anise before, it smells and tastes like black licorice. Licorice can help reduce morning sickness symptoms as well.
- Frozen Juice Popsicles. Not only is this a sure fire way to get in a few nutrients, but it can also calm your tummy. Juice can also relieve constipation which is another thing that can aggravate nausea.
- Take your Vitamins. Check with your Doctor first, but 25 mg of Vitamin B6 taken 3 times a day has given some women relief. Always check without your doctor or midwife before adding any kind of supplement.
- Brewer’s Yeast. Brewer’s Yeast is high in B vitamins. You can add it to your baking, sprinkle it on your oatmeal or rice, and even your popcorn. It gives a somewhat salty, cheesy flavour that is often soothing for nausea.
- Watermelon. This juicy fruit offers hydration, fiber, and vitamins. It can also help you feel better when dealing with morning sickness.
One more beverage that many women have found helpful when feeling nauseous.
Can I be pregnant without having morning sickness?
The short answer is yes, you can have a healthy, normal pregnancy and not experience any nausea or vomiting.
Some studies have shown that women who don’t experience any morning sickness tend to miscarry more often. However, this often means that the hormones your body naturally produces when pregnant, such as hCG made by the growing fetus, can indicate that the pregnancy never really had a good chance of making it. If you’ve reached the second trimester without a hint of morning sickness, you can consider yourself lucky.
Most of us tend to think of TV shows or movies where we’ve seen pregnant women hunched over the toilet, vomiting, every morning like clockwork. Just like the pickles and ice cream stereotype that has been around for over a hundred years, vomiting only in the morning during pregnancy is an unreliable myth.
When Will Morning Sickness End?
Morning sickness is a normal part of pregnancy and even when you can’t eat everything you always have, rest assured that nearly 100% of women who go on to give birth quickly recover their appetites and kiss morning sickness good-bye.
Some women worry that they can not eat healthy enough when they find themselves surviving on crackers, toast, and ginger ale for months on end. However, the pregnant woman’s body can perform amazing miracles. It will find a way to create a healthy baby despite not eating vegetables for nine whole months.
If you’re experiencing morning sickness, don’t worry too much about getting in healthy, balanced meals. Rest, get fresh air, and do what you can to reduce your symptoms of morning sickness. Eat foods that agree with you and avoid the foods that don’t.