Approximately 75 percent of mommies-to-be suffer from morning sickness (pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting). While the term “morning sickness” infers that the sickness only occurs during the morning, that is untrue, in fact morning sickness can occur during the afternoon and/or evening and last all day. The exact cause is unknown, but it has been determine that an increase in pregnancy hormones (HCG) contributes to the onset and progression of morning sickness.
Morning sickness usually begins around the 5th or 6th week of pregnancy, but it can occur earlier or later, depending on the woman’s sensitivity to HCG. This pregnancy symptom usually persists throughout the first trimester and ends during the first part of the 2nd trimester. It is important to note that in some cases morning sickness can linger throughout the pregnancy.
Morning sickness symptoms affect women in different ways. Some women experience nausea in the mornings, some in the afternoons or evenings, some experience it following a meal and some women have food and/or odor aversions so bad that the thought of food makes the nauseous. The same thing can be said about vomiting. Some women vomit once, while others vomit several times a day. Furthermore, some women experience queasiness, but never vomit.
In addition, morning sickness may include the following symptoms: fatigue, nausea and/or vomiting, enhanced sense of smell and/or gastrointestinal distress (stomach discomfort, diarrhea and/or constipation).
Nausea and Vomiting
I feel so nauseous and I can’t stop throwing up!
The sensation that you are about to vomit is called nausea. It is extremely common during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. If you suffer from nausea, you may feel like you are about to throw up, but never actually complete the act. Your nausea may last for a few seconds, minutes, hours or days. Acute or chronic nausea can trigger other pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, gastrointestinal distress (stomach upset, diarrhea and/or constipation) and/or increased salivation and it may be triggered by certain smells and foods. You favorite foods before pregnancy may trigger or increase your nausea during pregnancy. You may become nauseated just by looking a particular food.
Another common symptom of morning sickness is vomiting. After several hours of nausea, you may get to the point in which you want to throw up to gain some relief. Acute vomiting usually does not cause severe or life-threatening complications it can harm you and your unborn baby if it increases in frequency and severity. If you experience severe acute or chronic vomiting it is important that you seek medical treatment immediately. Constant and or extreme vomiting, also called hyperemesis gravidarum, can cause you to become dehydrated and prevent your unborn baby from receiving the nutrients that he/she needs to develop properly.
Treatment for nausea may include: anti-nausea medications, ginger-flavored candies, cookies and teas, lemons, toast and crackers, sea bands, rest, small meals, etc.
I can’t even look at my favorite foods without becoming sick!
Food aversions are very common during pregnancy. If you suffer from a food aversion, you may become queasy or vomit at the site of a particular food. What you once liked to eat pre-pregnancy may sicken you during pregnancy. You may dry heave or throw up at the sight or smell of your favorite foods. The exact cause of food and/or odor aversions is unknown, but fluctuating pregnancy hormones are believed to slow the digestion process down, which can contribute to nausea and vomiting. Food and odor aversions may subside during the 2nd trimester or they may persist throughout your pregnancy. If you suffer from food and/or odor aversions the best thing to do is to keep a journal of what foods and/or smells trigger the nausea and vomiting then avoid those foods.
If you are unsure if you are pregnant, but you are experiencing morning sickness symptoms and you have missed your menstrual period, it is important that you take pregnancy tests and/or consult a physician. In-home pregnancy tests tend to be 98-99% accurate and cost less than a doctor’s office pregnancy test. If you are indeed pregnant it is important that you seek prenatal care as soon as possible. You unborn baby is constantly growing and developing so prenatal care soon begin immediately. Lastly, if you morning sickness persists for more than 15 or 16 weeks and if you are vomiting blood or throwing up at least 4 times a day, then it is important you seek emergency medical care.
Erick, M. (2004). Managing Morning Sickness: A Survival Guide for Pregnant Women. Boulder, CO: Bull Publishing Company.