Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting that occurs as a result of being pregnant. Despite its name, you can experience morning sickness throughout the day and night.
For some, morning sickness is worse during a certain time of day, while others experience it randomly. It can make performing daily tasks difficult because of the discomfort it causes. Morning sickness may also cause dehydration, which can negatively affect your health and the health of your unborn child.
Experts believe morning sickness is caused by the hormonal changes taking place within your body during pregnancy. When you are pregnant, the placenta releases a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which is believed to be the biggest contributing factor to morning sickness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Apart from sometimes causing gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, pregnancy can also make you more sensitive to smells and cause gastric reflux, which may contribute to your morning sickness. Every mother-to-be handles morning sickness differently, which makes it difficult to treat, but here are a couple of common solutions you can try.
Each case of morning sickness is unique, so the smells and tastes triggering your nausea are likely to be different from those triggering morning sickness for another pregnant woman. However, there are certain common triggers of morning sickness to avoid. For example, the smell of cigarette smoke is a common universal trigger. Cigarette smoke is also bad for your health and the health of your baby. Therefore, you must avoid it if possible. Any strong food odors or scents in the air, such as the smell of scented candles, may also trigger your morning sickness.
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Some morning sickness triggers, such as second-hand smoke, are easy to avoid. Others may be more difficult to eliminate from your daily life. For example, if you are with your family, your family members may cook foods during your pregnancy that trigger your nausea. To avoid such triggers, take steps like the following:
Your morning sickness may occur frequently if your stomach is too full or too empty. Traditionally, you may eat three large meals per day when you’re not pregnant. However, you may find that when you’re pregnant, eating three meals can leave you feeling too full or hungry at different times, triggering your nausea. The solution may be to eat several smaller meals throughout the day. Doing so provides your body with a consistent and acceptable amount of food, limiting nausea episodes.
To further reduce your morning sickness, you can also change the types of foods you eat. During your first trimester, when nausea is most prevalent, the nutritional value of the foods is not as important as in later months of pregnancy. The baby is still small, so his or her nutritional needs are not as great. Therefore, when your nausea is severe, there is no danger in eating bland foods for a short time to alleviate your symptoms. Such foods may include:
Spicy foods can trigger morning sickness, and so can foods high in fat or greasy. Avoid such foods to limit your morning sickness symptoms. Instead, snack on protein-rich foods, like nuts. Foods containing ginger may also help alleviate your symptoms. Ginger is a natural spice commonly used to treat nausea and motion sickness.
Prenatal vitamins provide an essential boost when you’re pregnant. They help to ensure you are consuming enough of essential minerals, such as iron. However, iron can be a stomach irritant and cause or worsen morning sickness symptoms. To limit morning sickness caused by your vitamins, take them during meals or with small snacks.
The time of day you take your prenatal vitamins may also influence the level of morning sickness you experience. For example, if you take them early in the day, you may suffer nausea at inconvenient times, such as while you’re working. Changing your schedule may eliminate those symptoms. By taking your vitamins at night instead, you may not notice the nausea. If you do, it may occur during a period of rest in your own home, not when you are performing important daytime activities.
Another step you can take to reduce morning sickness is to ask your doctor for assistance. He or she may advise you to take half a dose of your vitamin in the morning and half in the evening to alleviate your symptoms. Prenatal vitamins also vary in composition. Therefore, one vitamin may cause nausea but another may not.
Your doctor may suggest you try different brands until you find one that does not cause morning sickness. If those steps do not work, he or she may suggest changes in your diet or other ways to get the nutrients you need during pregnancy without taking the vitamins contributing to your nausea.
Another way to treat morning sickness is with medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any medications for the specific treatment of morning sickness. However, there are several medications available to treat nausea and vomiting.
Some of these medications are available in over-the-counter form. Others must be prescribed by your doctor. Do not take any without asking your doctor. He or she can go over potential side effects with you. Some of the top medications for nausea treatment are:
You can also try alternative medicine techniques to treat morning sickness. For example, herbal supplements or tea may help settle your stomach. Additionally, studies have shown acupuncture may decrease your pregnancy-related nausea. One such study was conducted at Adelaide University in Australia in 2002. If you wish to pursue acupressure as a treatment for your morning sickness, look for an acupressure specialist who has experience working with pregnant patients.
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