Morning Sickness

Nausea and vomiting of Pregnancy, popularly called as morning sickness refers a set of common symptoms experienced by most pregnant women. Read on to know the causes, relief and more information on morning sickness.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020 11:29 GMT

Morning Sickness
Morning Sickness
What are the symptoms of morning sickness?

Nausea and vomiting are the most common symptoms of morning sickness. Nausea is an uneasy feeling of stomach discomfort combined with the sensation to vomit. Nausea in pregnancy can be a miserable experience which, most of the times, can be relieved only after vomiting the contents which cause stomach uneasiness. In pregnant women with morning sickness, having little food or even a glass of water can sometimes trigger a nauseating feeling. Vomiting of partially digested or undigested food is the most characteristic sign of morning sickness.

In addition to nausea and vomiting, a heightened sense of smell and taste is also a common sign of morning sickness. Pregnant women with morning sickness display a strange aversion to certain foods, even those which might have been their favorite prior to getting pregnant. Also, a constant presence of a metallic taste on the tongue has been reported by some women.

Apart from the queasiness associated with morning sickness, loss of food and water from the body while vomiting can cause tiredness and dehydration. Lack of energy can in turn sometimes lead to dizziness.

Will morning sickness affect the growing baby?

Morning sickness does not affect the fetus as long as the mother is able to pick up weight and nutrition in the months post the occurrence of nausea and vomiting. In severe cases where the pregnancy does not reach the minimum increase in weight, it may lead to low birth weight in the baby.

When does morning sickness start?

Morning sickness usually begins around 6 weeks pregnancy though for some women it can be as early as 4 weeks. By 8 or 9 weeks, the symptoms of morning sickness may reach its peak, post which there is a gradual decline of the symptoms.

How long do nausea and vomiting persist during pregnancy?

For most women, morning sickness does not last longer than 12 to 14 weeks. In some women, however, it can persist beyond 14 weeks, into the second or even third trimester. Very rarely, morning sickness can last throughout pregnancy, until delivery.

What causes morning sickness?

What exactly causes morning sickness is not clear though close associations of the following with morning sickness have been reported:

hCG: Increase in the pregnancy hormone, Human Chorionic Gonadatropin (hCG) is known to have been linked with morning sickness in early pregnancy. Both hCG and morning sickness peak at around 12 to 14 weeks, giving rise to an assumption of correlation between the two though there are no clear-cut studies that prove this. What exactly causes morning sickness is not clear though close associations of the following with morning sickness has been reported:

Estrogen and Progesterone: Ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone, play important roles in pregnancy. They have been found to reduce the muscle contractions that aid digestion; thus are thought t o slow down digestion, resulting in nausea and vomiting.

Meal composition: The percentage of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in food may affect the processing of food in the stomach. Meals rich in protein have been associated with decreased level of nausea.

Psychological factors: Morning sickness is thought to be a result of a womans psychological response to pregnancy though there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.

Who is more likely prone to experience morning sickness?

A study by Gadsby et al., has shown that 28%of pregnant women experience nausea while 52% experience both nausea and vomiting and the remaining 20% did not have symptoms of morning sickness.Who is more vulnerable to acquire morning sickness is unpredictable. Yet, here are a few factors which may throw some light on this:

  • Women pregnant with more than one baby
  • Women who have a history of motion sickness
  • Genetic predisposition formorning sickness
  • Previous pregnancy with symptoms of morning sickness
How to get relieved from morning sickness?

Morning sickness is only a symptom and is not a disease. It will ease up in time though passing through the phase can be difficult. The physiological changes which women undergo and how womenperceiveand react to morning sickness can vary greatly. There is no one remedy for morning sickness in general. However, the following tips have been popular beliefs for years to alleviate the symptoms:

  • Have smaller meals frequently instead of three heavy meals in a day.
  • Closely watch what kind of foods trigger nausea. Try to reduce or completely avoid them until you feel alright.
  • Dont remain hungry. An empty stomach may further make nausea worse. Try to munch nuts or other healthy snacks in between the big meal times.
  • Avoid spicy foods as they can irritate your bowels. Avoid fatty foods which can slow down digestion.
  • Having food at cold temperature or room temperature can help sometimes.
  • Try drinks made of ginger. Ginger is one of the most preferred items that can help reduce morning sickness. Ginger tea, ginger ale, and ginger candies are common choices.
  • Talk to your doctor if your symptoms are severe. Your doctor may prescribe medications or vitamin capsules.
  • Try alternative methods like acupressure or aromatherapy.
  • If you are working away from home, try to take a break from work or check for remote working options.
  • Relax often and distract your mind away from the queasiness. Take a walk out. Inhale some fresh air. Call close friends over. Spend time with your partner. Get involved in a book. Listen to your favorite music.

Lee, N. M., & Saha, S. (2011). Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America, 40(2), 309

Gadsby, R., Barnie-Adshead, A. M., & Jagger, C. (1993). A prospective study of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. The British Journal of General Practice, 43(371), 245248.

Ebrahimi, N., Maltepe, C., & Einarson, A. (2010). Optimal management of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. International Journal of Womens Health, 2, 241248.

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