Morning sickness is a double-edged sword; the nausea it causes is miserable, but the fact that you have symptoms usually means the pregnancy is well-established. In this article, you’ll find information on morning sickness, and some remedies to help relieve symptoms.
PLEASE NOTE: This blog post is for information only and not to be used as a diagnostic tool. If you are concerned about morning sickness, please contact your GP.
Around 50% of women get morning sickness of some degree or another. Some get only mild symptoms that last a few hours. Others suffer all day, and a further small group get very severe morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum where they become dehydrated and need hospitalization.
Facts About Morning Sickness
- Despite being called morning sickness, it can last all day.
- Generally reduces in the second trimester.
- Research suggests that morning sickness during early pregnancy is a good thing as it is associated with a lower risk of pregnancy loss, which is tremendously reassuring.
- 1 in 300 pregnancies during the first half of pregnancy will suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, possibly leading to hospitalization for intravenous fluids and nutrition.
- It has been found that those expecting twins, triplets or more can experience significantly more morning sickness.
What Causes Morning Sickness/Nausea?
- Rise in the hormones – oestrogen, progesterone and human chorionic gonadotrophin (produced by the placenta)
- Fall in blood sugar levels due to the placenta requiring energy.
- Susceptibility to some smells caused by the increase of oestrogen. The sense of smell is more sensitive leading to nausea.
Ways to Cope with Morning Sickness
This isn’t something that is going to last forever. Why not try some of the tips below to help make it more manageable?
1. Rest – In the initial stages when you are first pregnant and getting used to the changes, rest as much as possible. This can help reduce the feelings of nausea. Of course, this isn’t easy when you’re probably still working; it might mean taking the odd day off work or starting later to give yourself more time getting up in the morning.
2. Eat Carefully – Fatty and spicy foods will release stomach acid that will aggravate the nausea. Caffeine can also have this effect, so try sticking to blander foods. Eat smaller portions more often throughout the day to avoid an empty stomach which will make nausea worse. Smoothies to sip will help neutralize the acid and balance blood sugar. Salty crackers, trail mix or protein snacks are also good options. Eating a protein snack before bed will keep your blood sugar up during the night.
3. Keep busy – Diverting yourself from thinking about the nauseated feeling will make it more bearable. Working as normal as much as you can is advised. It will help the time to pass until the morning sickness starts to reduce.
4. Maintain a good fluid intake – Drinking ginger and peppermint tea might help, as ginger is noted for relieving nausea and the fresh flavour of peppermint can also have a good effect. Watermelon ice cubes have been known to help, and sports drinks are worth trying, as they can help you maintain a good blood sugar balance.
5. Medicines – Vitamin B6 may help. Bear in mind that iron supplements can also cause nausea – taking these with a fruit drink containing vitamin C can help with absorption of the medicine, and ease nausea. Always check with your GP before taking supplements or medicines for your morning sickness.
6. Avoid triggers – Try to avoid the triggers of smells that might set of a bout of nausea. Lemon and rosemary may help, as these scents are known for calming nausea.
7. Acid reflux – Try to stay sitting up for a short while after eating, even if you fancy a nap after a meal. Lying down straight after eating can exacerbate acid reflux and morning sickness. Milk can help to settle acid reflux by neutralizing stomach acids.
8. Antiemetics – At the worst, your GP can prescribe pregnancy-safe medication for sickness. This is usually used in more severe cases, possibly if twins or triplets are expected and hormone levels are particularly high.
Generally most women find that their sickness starts subsiding after about 12 weeks, although those expecting twins and triplets may find that it lasts a little longer.