Many women experience morning sickness as a symptom during their first trimester of pregnancy and it usually involves extreme nausea with sporadic vomiting. Even though it is referred to as morning sickness, this condition can happen during any given time.
It is commonplace to experience morning sickness, but in some cases, some women can become terribly ill and the symptoms go beyond what is considered normal. In this post, we will be telling you a bit more about when severe morning sickness becomes a problem, and share some tips on what you can do to curb morning sickness and which foods are best for early pregnancy.
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What causes morning sickness?
The exact reason for morning sickness in pregnancy cannot be pinpointed and some women experience it more severe than other. However, lower blood sugar levels and increased hormone levels during the first trimester are two commonplace reasons for morning sickness. There are also other factors that could worsen the condition.
Factors that could exacerbate morning sickness:
- Emotional stress
- Extreme fatigue
- Regular traveling
- Expecting twins or triplets
The condition could also differ among pregnancies. For example, with your first pregnancy it could be severe, while during your second pregnancy the symptoms could be mild or non-existent.
When does morning sickness occur?
Morning sickness is unpleasant, but generally not dangerous. With most women it disappears after their first trimester. It usually starts during the sixth of pregnancy and goes away by the 3rd or 4th month. The precise peak of the condition varies, but it usually happens during the 9th week. Researchers believe that the symptoms are at their worst once your baby’s organ development is most susceptible to chemicals (between week six and week eighteen).
When severe morning sickness becomes a problem
Vomiting and nausea can result in a loss of appetite. This could be a concern to expectant moms. Mild morning sickness is normal and is typically not harmful to the baby. However, women who has morning sickness beyond the first three or four months of pregnancy must consult with their physician. Another concern is if you are not gaining any weight during your pregnancy.
Morning sickness is generally not severe enough to impede fetal development or growth. However, for some pregnant women, nausea result in extreme vomiting and weight loss. This is referred to as hyperemesis gravidarum (HP). This leads to electrolyte imbalances and inadvertent weight loss. If not treated, it could be harmful to your baby. You should consult with your physician immediately, if any of the following symptoms are experienced:
- Weight loss that exceeds two pounds or more
- Not being able to keep any food down
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Irregular urinating of dark-colored urine
- Rapid heartbeat
- Extreme vomiting and/or nausea during the second trimester
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding or spotting
- Vomiting blood
- Regular headaches
Extreme bouts of morning sickness typically need hospitalization. Typical treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum is IV (intravenous) fluids for preventing dehydration.
More about Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG)
Hyperemsis Gravidarum is a severe state of morning sickness that involves extreme vomiting and nausea symptoms during pregnancy. It happens rarely and the exact reason is unknown. HG is not the same as mild symptoms that are generally linked to morning sickness. It is typically characterized by:
- Nausea that does not go away
- Extreme throwing up that results in severe dehydration
- Nausea experienced with extreme vomiting
- Weight loss that exceeds ten pounds or five percent of your body weight as a result of vomiting
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
When HG is not treated, it could result in dehydration and not gaining sufficient weight during pregnancy. It could have a substantial adverse effect on an expectant women’s quality of life and can also result in depression. HG typically prolongs beyond your first trimester and only subsided during the 5th month of pregnancy. For some moms, it continuous throughout their pregnancy.
What can you do to avoid morning sickness or minimize the effects?
There really is no exact method for preventing morning sickness all together, however, you can manage the symptoms. Your doctor may recommend taking vitamin B6 supplement, anti-nausea meds, or antihistamine. Before taking any type of medicine, vitamin, or herb during pregnancy, always consult with your doctor first. Some ingredients can be harmful to your unborn baby. Taking prenatal or multivitamins before conceiving, or during your first trimester may help curb morning sickness, but insufficient proof exists.
The do’s and don’ts – Reducing the effects of morning sickness
What you should do
- Drink lots of water.
- Drink water prior or after meals.
- Take plenty of naps and allow your body to rest.
- Steer clear from spicy and fatty foods.
- Eat salty crackers or other snacks early in the morning, soon after waking up.
- Stick to smaller meals throughout the day and avoid large heavy meals.
- Sip on ginger tea or ale.
- Air out your living space to get rid of any nauseating smells.
- Avoid taking vitamins in the morning, instead take them at night.
What you should not do
- Avoid eating large or heavy meals.
- Avoid drinking fluids or water with your meals.
- Avoid lying down after finishing a meal.
- Try not to cook potent-smelling or spicy foods and leave the cooking to someone else.
- Stay away from cigarette smoke.
While morning sickness cannot be avoided entirely, most women experience it without any major complications. If none of the preventative steps bring relief, or if your morning sickness extends beyond your third or fourth month of pregnancy, you must consult your doctor immediately. Never take any supplements, medicines, or herbs before talking to your physician first.
How can morning sickness be treated?
There are certain medications and supplement that are specially designed for alleviating nausea and to assist with retaining fluids and foods during pregnancy. Your doctor might prescribe:
- Antihistamines – for curbing motion sickness and nausea.
- Metoclopramide (Reglan) – for assisting your stomach to move food into your intestines, curbing vomiting, and nausea symptoms.
- Phenothiazine – for calming extreme nausea and throwing up.
- Antacids – for absorbing stomach acid and preventing acid reflux.
Avoid taking these meds without consulting with your doctor.
Some women find alternative remedies for calming morning sickness. However, after speaking to your doctor, you can try some of the following:
- Prenatal vitamins.
- Vitamin B6.
- Ginger ale, ginger drops, or ginger tea.
- Saltine crackers.
Tests that are done for morning sickness
Based on the symptoms you are experiencing; your physician might order certain tests to make sure you and your unborn baby remains safe. They might include:
These can determine if your body is dehydrated.
Your physician might order blood tests that include:
- CBC (complete blood count).
- Detailed metabolic panel (Chem-20) for measuring electrolyte count in your blood.
By ordering these tests, your physician can determine whether you are dehydrated, anemic, has certain vitamin deficiencies, or are malnourished.
Ultrasounds use sound waves that produce images of the baby. These images are used for checking if your baby is developing as he should.
The best foods for curbing nausea during pregnancy
Pregnancy eating plans results differ, however, there are some foods that can help with calming nausea when you are expecting.
These are foods that are metabolized fast and are recommended during pregnancy. Try eating foods like rice, toast, pasta, bread, or potatoes. Saltine crackers are known for avoiding nausea, especially early in the morning. Keep a stash next to your bed to nibble on prior to getting out of bed.
It is essential to stay hydrated, particularly when you are throwing up. Dehydration can be especially dangerous during pregnancy. Try to drink eight glasses of liquid per day. If you are struggling to drink water, you can opt for carbonated drinks like soda water or ginger ale. Sugar that is contained in soda can be useful at times but try not to go overboard with too many sugary drinks. Do not drink artificial sweeteners since they can be harmful to yourself or your baby.
Protein contains amino acids which are vital for both moms and their babies. Some women find these snacks useful for minimizing nausea. This may be due to proteins lingering longer in their bodies since they take longer to digest.
Some herbal teas contain ingredients that are advantageous for managing the symptoms associated with morning sickness. You can try red raspberry, lemon, chamomile, spearmint, and peppermint.
Applesauce can be easy on your stomach while offering a good dose of nutrients and carbohydrates. Opt for an unsweetened variety or make your own applesauce by boiling apple slices and blending them on high speed.
Another excellent way of obtaining healthy nutrition through drinking fluids is through broth-based soups. Broth contains healthy calories and minerals, plus it offers protection that helps with restoring energy levels when you are struggling to eat or keep foods down.
Lemons can be helpful, not by eating it. Just sniffing them, adding it to your water, or licking the slices can offer calm the effects of morning sickness. If you do not have lemons, you can also smell lemon essential oil to reduce the nausea.
Ginger is a valuable ingredient to assist with calming nausea and reducing the effects of morning sickness. You can try the variety that best works for you. Some women drink ginger tea or ginger ale while other find sucking on ginger drops helpful. You can also take ginger capsules.
Watermelon is an excellent source of water if you are struggling with dehydration and do not enjoy drinking loads of water. Remember, you can also obtain sufficient hydration from fruits, like watermelon, to raise your water intake.
Cold fresh treats like popsicles can go a long way in managing temperature and keep those nasty waves of nausea at bay. Make your own popsicles with natural ingredients, like fresh fruits and water, instead of opting for store-bought ones that are loaded with food dyes and sugar.
Cooking foods generally initiate nausea by triggering your gag reflex. Steer clear from cooked foods, and instead enjoy raw, cold ingredients. Make fresh salads and do not eat cold foods from deli’s that was not prepared by yourself to eliminate the risk of salmonella poisoning.
Sucking on hard candies can be useful to keep nausea away. Keep some mints or fruit candies in your handbag and on your bed stand for easy access.
BONUS TIPS: Reducing the symptoms of morning sickness
It is not just the types of food you eat during pregnancy that makes a difference, but also the portion sizes and regularity of meals. Here are some bonus tips that can be a lifesaver when you are having severe morning sickness during pregnancy.
Do not eat on an empty stomach
It is commonplace for expecting mommies to keep morning sickness at bay by eating early in the morning. Salty crackers in particular can be incredibly helpful. Stick to smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day. Keep those crackers on your bedside or at hand to help curb the nausea when you feel it coming on.
Drinking plenty of fluids
The amount of fluids and when you are drinking it, also pay a valuable role with keeping nausea away. While it is essential to take in plenty of fluids while pregnant, drinking too much can also induce bouts of nausea. Rather opt for smaller sips throughout the day and do not drink fluids with your meals. Drink fluids before or after meals.
Keep in mind that meals you consume during the morning, might have a completely different effect on you during the night. Therefore, pay attention to eating patterns throughout the day.
Avoid naps after mealtimes
You might want to take a nap after having a meal to reboot energy levels. However, you must wait at least half an hour before lying down for a nap.
Avoid certain foods
Steer clear from foods that can make morning sickness worse. These are foods like fried or greasy foods, caffeine, spicy foods, or ingredients with potent smells.
We hope you have found our article helpful and that you will take our suggestions and recommendations on board when you are struggling with morning sickness during pregnancy. Remember, morning sickness is perfectly normal during pregnancy but also keep in mind when severe morning sickness becomes a problem. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in our article, or you have any health concerns, do not hesitate to contact your doctor immediately.
This was me with my last born! I had extreme morning sickness for six months to the point I did not even want to eat because I would just get sick! Wish I had this article then! Very informative
This is one of my nightmares during my pregnancy. I was nasea all the time and couldn’t eat in fact I vomit through out my pregnancy. That was with my first born.
That must have been so hard Shireen! I struggled with vomiting a lot of the way through but it was not from nausea, it was from severe heartburn! Oh I don’t miss all those pregnancy symptoms!
I’m presently suffering terribly with (all day) morning sickness. I never had it with my son. I have been wondering if it’s because I’m 5 years older now and pregnancy is a bit more strenuous on my body.
I’m so sorry to hear that you are struggling so much! It will be hard to know if it is caused by being older or if it is just because each pregnancy is different. If it is very severe I highly recommend seeing your doctor.