Nausea is common in pregnancy, especially in the early stages. Known as morning sickness, nausea and vomiting occur naturally as your body changes. Understanding why nausea happens, what it means if nausea is severe, and how to alleviate nausea can help you stay healthy during pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
It is believed that nausea is caused by the hormone changes that occur during pregnancy. Specifically, the production of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is believed to be the primary cause of nausea. This hormone is what helps the baby get what it needs during the early stages of pregnancy.
Later in the pregnancy, as the baby gets more nourishment from the placenta, the production of this hormone declines somewhat. This causes the nausea to subside.
When Does Nausea Occur?
Nausea starts around week 6 of the pregnancy and continues up through about week 18 although it can come on sooner and last longer. Some women continue to experience morning sickness after 18 weeks, and in some cases, women experience morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy.
Although it is called morning sickness, this condition doesn’t just happen in the mornings. In fact, it is a small percentage of women who have morning sickness only in the mornings. Women can get morning sickness at any time of the day or night. It is believed that morning sickness frequently occurs in the morning because the pregnancy hormones relax the stomach and intestines. This prompts the digestive system to create more acid at night, leading to vomiting after waking up.
What If Your Nausea Is Severe?
Severe morning sickness could be the result of a condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. This condition is similar to normal morning sickness but may start earlier and end later. It is also much more severe. People who suffer from this condition may vomit throughout the day, so they’re unable to take in enough food or water.
This condition can be dangerous to the mother and baby, who need proper nutrition and hydration throughout pregnancy in order to thrive. Other symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Infrequent urination
- Dark brown or bloody vomit
If you’re vomiting three times per day or more, you could be suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. See your doctor right away to get treatment. Waiting could lead to severe dehydration and other dangerous health problems.
What Can You Do to Control Your Nausea?
There are many home remedies for controlling nausea. Women experiencing nausea should try different remedies to see what works for them.
Drink Ginger Tea or Lemon Water – Slice up small pieces of ginger, then steep them in hot water to make a tea. Strain the slices and sip at your leisure. Some people also recommend drinking lemon water. Drink lemon water iced or hot, depending on your preferences.
Eat Small Snacks – Eat small snacks throughout the day, starting with the moments before you get up for the morning. Keep a small snack, like nuts, by your bedside. Snack a small amount if you wake up in the night to go to the bathroom as well.
Adjust Your Supplements – There are many supplements that are believed to help with morning sickness. Talk to your doctor to find out which supplements they recommend for your pregnancy. You should never take supplements during pregnancy without speaking with your doctor first.
Prenatal vitamins have a lot of iron in them, which can aggravate morning sickness. Don’t stop taking your prenatal vitamins because you’re feeling ill. Try splitting the dose between morning and evening, and shop around for different vitamins to see if one works better than others. Or taking it at night before bed.
Your doctor may recommend trying supplements that are low on iron, or that are iron-free, but you should talk to your doctor about this before doing it yourself. Taking the vitamins when you’re feeling the least ill, and taking them with yogurt, can help.
Stimulate the Pressure Points – Wrist bands that apply pressure for car sickness can also be used to alleviate morning sickness nausea. These bands are sold in pharmacies. Talk to your doctor before using these bands on yourself.
Know When to Lie Down – Sometimes your body just needs a little time to relax and rest. Know when you’re feeling fatigued, and lie down if you’re feeling very bad.
Work With Your Physician – Keep your doctor informed about your symptoms throughout pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to make recommendations if you’re experiencing severe or persistent nausea and can tell you what’s normal and what’s not.
It Will Get Better!
When the pregnancy is over, nausea goes away with the pregnancy hormones. Taking care of yourself throughout the pregnancy can help ensure that you’ll give birth to a healthy child. This can be a scary and stressful time, but you WILL get through it. Women have been experiencing pregnancy since the beginning of time; you’re certainly not alone!!! Your friend at Adoption Choices of Arizona can talk you through different tips and tricks throughtout your pregnancy too!