Several women experience morning sickness during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester of early pregnancy.
Morning sickness symptoms include nausea and vomiting. It is often worse in the mornings, but it can occur at any time of the day.
Morning sickness is caused by increased pregnancy hormone levels. These hormones usually peak at dawn, so pregnant women may experience severe morning sickness in the mornings, and hence it gets its name, 'morning sickness'. Unfortunately, some women may suffer from morning sickness at all times of day, so don;t be fooled by the name!
Morning sickness normally starts five to six weeks after conception and is often the first confirmation of pregnancy along with a missed period. It usually peaks at around eight or nine weeks, and symptoms gradually fade at around 12 to 14 weeks. It may start at six weeks for some people, but the feeling of uneasiness may gradually decrease in a couple of weeks.
Some women even suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition leading to severe nausea and vomiting throughout pregnancy. Hyperemesis gravidarum may cause weight loss, indigestion, weakness, inability to eat, and dehydration, among other problems. Such severe morning sickness cases need to be medically reviewed and may even require hospitalization.
Except in these few extreme cases, morning sickness is quite normal during pregnancy. Read on to get to know more about morning sickness, its symptoms, tips to deal with it, and any precautions to take.
When Does Morning Sickness End?
If you are suffering from morning sickness, you might be wondering precisely when morning sickness ends! The general answer is after 12 weeks, but in some cases, it can even end before depending on many different factors in the women's body tendency. The early ending of morning sickness does not necessarily indicate a miscarriage or any other problem, it is a normal part of pregnancy.
When Does Morning Sickness Peak?
Several women experience morning sickness in their first trimester. It often starts at around six weeks of pregnancy and is at its worst or peaks at about nine weeks. This peak can be different for different women depending upon their body, but generally, it occurs around nine weeks.
Pregnant women mostly feel better in the second trimester, that is, after three or four months. Still, for a few, morning sickness may extend throughout the pregnancy and into the third trimester also. Mild morning sickness is expected during any pregnancy and does not cause any harm to the baby. You should only be worried if it affects your weight and health in general adversely.
What Causes Nausea In Pregnancy?
The reasons for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can be different for different women. It is believed that at least two-thirds of pregnant women experience nausea, especially during their first trimester. Only a few of them will have extreme symptoms and need to be medically reviewed. Some of the common reasons for nausea during pregnancy are believed to be :
Increased levels of pregnancy hormones like hCG, progesterone, and estrogen make digestion less effective.
Women may experience a new sensitivity to certain smells due to hormonal changes. Some brains are more sensitive than others, and they respond more intensely to increased hormonal levels.
Overactive salivary glands may cause discomfort in some pregnant women.
Stress and fatigue during pregnancy can lead to gastrointestinal problems, which can cause nausea.
Lower blood pressure or frequent fluctuations in blood pressure can cause uneasiness or nausea.
Sometimes iron capsules given as part of prenatal vitamins can also cause vomiting.
Women who are pregnant for the first time tend to experience more morning sickness. It can be genetic also, so if your mother had extreme morning sickness, then the chances are that you, unfortunately, might have it too. If you are having twins or triplets, chances of morning sickness also increase.
Morning Sickness Symptoms
Experiencing mild morning sickness is quite normal during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester, and so there is nothing to worry about. You do, however, need to seek medical advice if constant nausea or severe vomiting is causing severe dehydration or weight loss.
Some of the most common morning sickness symptoms include nausea that feels like motion sickness, nausea on tasting or smelling certain food items, and nausea after eating spicy foods. Nausea or vomiting due to excessive salivation is very common too, and so is the feeling of dizziness, fatigue, or tiredness. Frequent vomiting, feeling thirsty all the time, loss of appetite, anxiety, and headaches are a few other symptoms to look for.
Are you worried that your morning sickness might affect your baby growing inside you? Well, don't worry! You may be throwing up or feeling nauseous, but your baby isn't. In the first trimester, even if the mother is suffering from morning sickness, the baby can often still get what it needs as the baby needs very little in the first few months.
By the time the baby starts growing and its nutritional needs increase, most mothers come out of this morning sickness phase. Their appetite increases, and hence they can meet the baby's needs. If you cannot keep anything down, even liquids, it may indicate a severe problem that may require medical treatment to protect your baby and yourself.
How To Stop Nausea: Morning Sickness Remedies
So how do we stop or control pregnancy-related nausea? There are some home remedies and certain medications available on the market which can relieve nausea to a certain extent. Pregnant women should consult their doctor before trying any home remedies to relieve morning sickness.
Products containing ginger, like ginger tea and ginger biscuits are often claimed to help a lot with easing nauseous feelings. Eating salty snacks also seems to help some women, and some believe that eating protein-rich food is a remedy for nausea. Taking Vitamin B6 tablets is also helpful in some cases.
An empty stomach may cause nausea and so pregnant women should try to have small, frequent meals. Mothers to be can also try meditation or prenatal yoga to relieve stress, as stress may also contribute to feelings of unease and nausea. Acupressure and acupuncture have also helped some women find relief from that uneasy feeling. Women are advised to wear loose clothes which do not compress their abdomen and to remember to drink plenty of water.
Avoiding spicy foods and eating bland foods improves digestion and sometimes stops the nauseous feeling. Pregnant women should also stay away from caffeine.
Having scented candles or essential oils around you might calm your senses and help you eliminate all unwanted sensations. On the other hand, expectant mothers should avoid any smell that triggers a nauseous feeling, so for some, these candles might be best avoided.
Finally, a good, undisturbed minimum eight-hour sleep, when possible, will give your body much-needed time to rest and recover.
Besides these home remedies, some medications are available that significantly relieve symptoms. These are only to be used in extreme cases and should be prescribed by your doctor. If your symptoms are very severe, some women may require hospitalization where they can be treated with intravenous fluids.
When Should I Be Worried About Morning Sickness?
Mild morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting are experienced by about 70% of pregnant women and it is not normally something to worry about. However, in 3% of pregnant women, symptoms become so severe that they may need to be treated by a doctor. Now the question is: when to get worried about morning sickness and seek medical attention?
Pregnant women should always speak to their doctor about any health concerns. In particular, in relation to morning sickness you should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
If you experience morning sickness beyond four months of pregnancy.
If you do not gain weight during pregnancy. Or if you lose more than 2 lb (0.9 kg) of weight.
If you are not able to keep any food or liquids down.
If you experience severe dehydration.
If you have a high fever, an increased heartbeat, frequent headaches, or if you feel dizzy.
If you have spotting or bleeding.
If you see blood in your vomit.
If you experience abdominal pain.
If you are experiencing frequent urination or if you are passing dark-colored urine.
Pregnant women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum will experience severe nausea and vomiting resulting in some or many of these symptoms and this may required hospitalization. They may require treatment using intravenous (IV) fluids for rehydration. If you have severe morning sickness, which extends beyond three months, your doctor may suggest some urine tests, blood tests, and metabolic panel tests to determine if you are dehydrated, anemic, or malnourished as a result. Your doctor may even suggest an ultrasound to check on your baby's development too. Try not to worry, seeking help if your morning sickness does become serious means that you are in the best place to receive treatment and support.
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