Morning Sickness

1 What is Morning Sickness?

For many women, the toughest part of early pregnancy is morning sickness.

The nausea that occurs during pregnancy can strike at any time of the day or night but mostly in the morning. Most women are experiencing this usually in the first trimester, but some are experiencing this throughout their entire pregnancy.

This illness does not need treatment but there are some home remedies such as sipping ginger ale or snacking throughout the day to relieve nausea.

Sometimes morning sickness is so severe that it is classified as hyperemesis gravidarum that may require treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids, medications and hospitalization.

2 Symptoms

Nausea and vomiting are the main symptoms of morning sickness.

Morning sickness can cause nausea with or without vomiting. Morning sickness sometimes can begin as early as two weeks after conception and most common in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Visit your doctor if:

  • the vomiting or nausea is severe,
  • you cannot keep down liquids,
  • you pass only a small amount of urine,
  • your urine is dark in color,
  • you faint when you stand up,
  • you feel dizzy,
  • you vomit blood,
  • and your heart races.

3 Causes

The cause of morning sickness is not clear but it can sometimes be because of the hormonal changes of pregnancy.

Some have severe or persistent vomiting or nausea because of condition not related to pregnancy like liver or thyroid disease.

4 Making a Diagnosis

No specific diagnosis of morning sickness is needed.

You can tell about your morning sickness to your doctor every prenatal check up. You can bring a family member or a close friend in order for them to help you with relevant information and to support you. Bring a notebook so that you can list all the things that you want to ask the doctor or things that he will tell you. Write down the symptoms that you are experiencing and the medications, supplements or vitamins that you are taking and how often to you take them.

Some basic questions that you can ask your doctor includes:

  • What is the cause of my symptoms?
  • Will I have vomiting and nausea all throughout my pregnancy?
  • Are there any tests I need to take?
  • Are there any medications I can take to help ease the nausea or vomiting?
  • Is this a risk to my baby? What do you recommend self-care measures?

Your doctor will likely ask questions. These questions may include:

  • How long are you experiencing the symptoms?
  • How often do you experience them?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Do you know what triggers them?
  • Do you experience this in the morning or all throughout the day?
  • Are you taking a prenatal vitamin?
  • What makes you feel better?
  • What makes you feel worse?

If your doctor thinks that it is hyperemesis gravidarum, he may recommend urine and blood test and also ultrasound to see the number of fetuses and to look for any conditions that may cause your nausea.

5 Treatment

There is no necessary treatment for morning sickness but if it persists, your doctor may recommend antihistamines, vitamin B-6 supplements and anti-nausea medicines.

The Food and Drug Administration had approved the combination of doxylamine and pyridoxine (Diclegis) for treating nausea in pregnancy.

Avoid activities that use mental alertness like driving when taking these medicines because it can cause drowsiness.

You may be treated with intravenous (IV) fluids and anti-nausea medications in the hospital if you have hyperemesis gravidarum.

6 Prevention

Morning sickness can't be prevented. But take prenatal vitamins because the folic acid prevents the neural tube defect like spina bifida, before conception for it may help.

Some studies suggest that women who take multivitamins during early pregnancy or at the time of conception are less likely to experience morning sickness.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

There are alternative remedies that have been suggested for morning sickness such as:

  • Acupuncture that involves inserting hair-thin needles into your skin. Some women fin this helpful but this is not proven; Hypnosis, some women also find this helpful,
  • Acupressure wristbands that are available in the pharmacies that does not need prescription, some women find this helpful,
  • Aromatherapy that uses certain scents created using essential oils can also help in morning sickness.

Ask your doctor first before using any alternative or herbal remedies.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

To cope with morning sickness, try these:

  • select foods that are high in protein and carbohydrates, easy to digest and low in fats. Salty foods are sometimes helpful because of the ginger in it,
  • snack often or eat a few soda crackers or a piece of toast before going out of bed,
  • drink plenty of fluids like water or ginger ale,
  • avoid spicy, fatty and greasy foods; sucking on hard candy, ice pops or ice chips might also help,
  • nibble throughout the day rather than eating three large meals,
  • weather permitting or open the windows in your workplace or home,
  • pay attention to nausea triggers such as smelling foods that make your nausea worse,
  • walk daily outside,
  • take your prenatal vitamins, you can take these during the day or night, you can also suck on candy after taking the prenatal vitamins. Ask your doctor other ways where you can get the vitamins and iron that you need if none of the above works for you.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks associated with morninc sickness.

Morning sickness can affect if:

  • you experienced vomiting or nausea from motion sickness certain smells or tastes, migraines exposure to estrogen like in birth control pills before pregnancy,
  • you are pregnant with twins or multiples,
  • you have experienced this before in your previous pregnancy,

You are likely to experience hyperemesis gravidarum if:

  • you have a family history of hyperemesis gravidarum,
  • you are pregnant with a girl,
  • you have experienced hyperemesis gravidarum before.

There are no complications of morning sickness for both mother and the baby but if you are underweight before pregnancy and you cannot gain weight due to morning sickness, your baby may be underweight when he/she is born. Vomiting may lead to tears in the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach or esophagus can occur often.

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