Morning sickness may be one of the early symptoms of pregnancy, which frequently shows up around week six. Although referred to as morning sickness, the nausea and vomiting symptoms may happen at any point of the day. The good news is that for the majority of moms-to-be the symptoms usually dissipate near the 12th week of pregnancy.
Morning sickness is not harmful to you or your baby, it is a normal part of pregnancy. However, consistent vomiting which prevents you from keeping food down may indicated that you have hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum can be harmful to you and your baby if severe and not treated. This consistent vomiting prevents nutrients and electrolytes from reaching both you and your baby. It is imperative that talk with your health care provider if these symptoms appear and discuss possible options for treatment.
More than half of all pregnant women experience morning sickness. Morning sickness is the nauseated feeling you get during pregnancy. Morning sickness can be, but is not always, accompanied with vomiting. The nausea is often a result of the increased hormones in your body. Many health care providers think morning sickness is a good sign because it means the placenta is developing well.
There are a number of do’s and don’ts you can try to help alleviate your symptoms.
Morning Sickness: Helpful Do’s and Don’ts:
- Eat 4 to 5 smaller meals versus three full size meals
- Drink fluids 1/2 hour before or after a meal, but not with meals
- Drink small amounts of liquids throughout the day to avoid dehydration
- Eat soda crackers early in the morning
- Avoid foods and smells that affect your nausea
- Ask someone else to cook for you and open the windows or turn on fans if the odor bothers you
- Get plenty of rest and take naps as needed
- Avoid warm places (feeling hot adds to nausea)
- Sniff lemons or ginger, drink lemonade, or eat watermelon to relieve nausea
- Eat salty potato chips (they have been found to settle stomachs enough to eat a meal)
- Do not lie down after eating
- Do not skip meals
- Do not cook or eat spicy food
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and sometimes electrolyte disturbance. Mild cases are often treated with dietary measures, rest and antacids. Severe cases often require a stay in the hospital so that the mother can receive fluid and nutrition through an intravenous line. DO NOT take any medications to solve this problem without consulting your health care provider first.
Morning Sickness: When to contact your health care provider:
- If you are experiencing excessive nausea and vomiting that prevents you from keeping any food down
- If vomiting is accompanied by pain or fever
- If nausea and vomiting persists well into the second trimester (after 13th week)
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 8.
American Academy of Family Physicians, http://familydoctor.org
American Pregnancy Association, http://www.americanpregnancy.org