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Morning Sickness During Pregnancy: A Guide For Pregnant Women

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Pregnancy brings several changes, both physical and emotional, for expecting mothers. Morning sickness is a frequent occurrence during early pregnancy, experienced by most women.

It can lead to fatigue and emotional distress, impacting your overall well-being. While the severity varies for each woman, morning sickness can significantly impact your quality of life during pregnancy.

In this article, we discuss the timing, causes, symptoms, and relief strategies for morning sickness during pregnancy and also learn when to seek medical attention. 

Understanding Morning Sickness in Pregnancy

Morning sickness, a term often used interchangeably with nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, is usually the first pregnancy symptom.

Even though it’s called morning sickness, Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy (NVP) can happen at any time of day during pregnancy, not just in the morning. Some women experience mild Nausea, while others may vomit several times a day.

Loss of appetite is a frequent companion to NVP. It makes it difficult to keep food down and leads to feelings of fatigue and weakness.

The exact timing varies from woman to woman, but it typically starts sometime in the first trimester, i.e. around 4-6 weeks.

It usually peaks around 8 to 12 weeks.

In some cases, it can continue into the second trimester, but this is less common.

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  • Causes of Morning Sickness

    Woman having emotional stressSource: pixelshot
    Woman having emotional stress

    The exact causes of morning sickness in pregnancy are unknown. Still, there are a few possible contributing factors, like:

    • Hormonal Fluctuations: Pregnancy hormones, especially Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) and Estrogen, rise rapidly during early pregnancy. These hormonal changes might cause Nausea and vomiting.
    • Increased Blood Sugar Sensitivity: During pregnancy, your body becomes more sensitive to changes in blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar can contribute to NVP. 
    • Emotional Stress: While not a direct cause, emotional stress can worsen NVP for some women. 
    • GDF15: Recent research suggests a protein called GDF-15, produced by the placenta, may play a significant role in morning sickness. Higher levels of GDF-15 might be linked to more severe nausea and vomiting. 
    • Carrying multiples: Women expecting twins, triplets, or more multiples may experience more severe NVP. This could be due to higher levels of pregnancy hormones circulating in the body.
    Suggestion:
    Having bland, easily digestible snacks readily available can be helpful when Nausea strikes. Crackers, dry toast, plain yogurt, or fruits like apples or bananas might be good options.

    Effects of Morning Sickness

    Morning sickness during pregnancy can also lead to fatigue, food aversion, etc. We have discussed those in detail below:

    • Fatigue: Many women feel tired and lack energy during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. 
    • Food Aversion: Certain smells or foods that you used to enjoy might become unpleasant during pregnancy. This is because of hormonal changes and increased sensitivity to smells.
    • Hypersensitivity to Smells: Strong smells that you normally wouldn’t mind may trigger NVP during pregnancy.
    • Excessive Salivation: Some women experience increased saliva production, which can be another unpleasant symptom of morning sickness.

    Signs like severe vomiting (more than five times a day), fever, severe abdominal pain, and blood in your vomit may be a cause for worry.

    We have discussed some relief strategies below, but it is advisable to consult a doctor if you experience such severe symptoms.

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    Relief Strategies for Morning Sickness

    Woman doing yoga at home in living room Source: interstid
    Woman doing yoga

    While NVP can be disruptive, there are several strategies you can employ during pregnancy to get relief from morning sickness and deal with it more comfortably. Here are some effective approaches to consider:

    Dietary Adjustments

    Smaller, More Frequent Meals: An empty stomach can worsen NVP. Opt for small amounts of food every 2-3 hours to keep your stomach settled and potentially reduce nausea. 

    Identifying and Avoiding Food Triggers: Pay close attention to foods that seem to worsen your Nausea and avoid them. 

    Supplements

    Vitamin B6: Studies suggest that Vitamin B6 might help relieve  Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Consult your doctor before starting any supplements.

    Vitamin B12: In combination with Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 can also help alleviate morning sickness symptoms.

    Ginger Supplements: Try ginger tea, ginger candies, or adding a small amount of grated ginger to your food. 

    Lifestyle Modifications

    Getting Enough Rest: Fatigue can reduce NVP. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night and take naps during the day if needed.

    Managing Stress: Stress can worsen NVP for some women. Practicing deep breathing or meditation can help manage stress levels.

    Staying Hydrated: Stay hydrated by sipping fluids consistently throughout the day, even if you can only manage small amounts each time.

    Aromatherapy: Certain aromas, such as peppermint or lemon, may help ease Nausea. Inhale these scents directly or use a diffuser.

    Acupressure: Acupressure wristbands may offer some relief from nausea.

    Warning:
    High doses of ginger or ginger supplements might interfere with certain medications or have unintended side effects. It’s always best to discuss the use of any supplements, including ginger, with your doctor to ensure their safety throughout your pregnancy.

    Conclusion

    Morning sickness, while unpleasant, is a temporary experience for most women. It starts around 4-6 weeks and ends around the 14th week for most women.

    It is caused due to factors such as increased levels of Estrogen, hCG, and GDF15. Low blood sugar levels can also cause NVP. Apart from vomiting and Nausea, you might experience fatigue, food triggers, and excessive salivation. 

    Adopting practices like taking Vitamin B6, eating small, frequent meals, trying ginger tea, staying hydrated, and getting proper rest can reduce morning sickness during pregnancy.

    With a little planning and knowledge, you can find relief from morning sickness and embrace the joys of this special time.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Morning Sickness a reliable early pregnancy sign?

    Morning sickness might be an early sign of pregnancy, but it’s not the same for everyone. Many women experience no morning sickness at all. More reliable signs include a missed period, breast tenderness, and fatigue. If you suspect pregnancy, a home test or doctor’s visit can confirm.

    What foods are good for Morning Sickness?

    For morning sickness, prioritize bland, easily digestible options that minimize Nausea. Small, frequent meals of dry carbohydrates like toast or crackers bland fruits like bananas, and ginger, which have potential anti-nausea properties, help with morning sickness during pregnancy.

    Why does eating make you feel better during Morning Sickness?

    Eating during morning sickness can be helpful. An empty stomach can worsen Nausea, so small, frequent meals keep things settled. Additionally, blood sugar fluctuations during pregnancy contribute to Nausea. Eating helps regulate these levels.

    Can Morning Sickness affect my baby?

    In most cases, morning sickness won’t harm your baby. However, severe, persistent vomiting can lead to dehydration and malnutrition, which could impact your baby’s development. 

    Is Morning Sickness a sign of a boy or a girl?

    Morning sickness is not an indicator of your baby’s gender. While some myths persist, there’s no scientific evidence linking nausea severity to a boy or girl. Many women carrying both boys and girls experience morning sickness.

    How Long Does Morning Sickness Last? 

    The duration of morning sickness during pregnancy varies, but for most, it ends by week 14. Many women experience it only for a few weeks during the first trimester.

    Citations:
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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for CheapMedicineShop.com. With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for CheapMedicineShop.com, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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