Morning Sickness, also called vomiting of pregnancy is a common symptom of pregnancy and is marked by nausea and occasional vomiting. Despite the name, Morning Sickness can cause discomfort at any time of the day. It normally starts about two weeks after the missed period and lasts through the first trimester. Morning Sickness usually happens within the first four months of pregnancy and is often the first sign that a woman is pregnant. In about 20% of pregnant women, this nausea and vomiting lasts beyond 20 weeks of gestation.
The exact cause of Morning Sickness is unknown. However, a combination of hormonal changes, physical changes, stress and increased sensitivity to odours may lead to Morning Sickness. Past history of nausea during pregnancy, family history of morning sickness, multiple gestations and emotional stress may increase the likelihood of getting Morning Sickness.
Morning sickness is not harmful for your baby. But it takes a physical and emotional toll on the pregnant woman.
An exaggerated form of morning sickness is called Hyperemesis gravidarum. While mild to moderate vomiting is not harmful, severe vomiting can lead to medical complications such as weight loss, vitamin deficiency and dehydration. Often hyperemesis is a medical emergency and the pregnant woman needs hospitalization.
Morning sickness can be controlled by trying the following:
- Eat small meals and snacks frequently throughout the day so your stomach is never empty. High-protein foods and complex carbohydrates might be especially helpful. Whatever you choose, eat it slowly.
- Don’t lie down right after eating because this can slow digestion.
- Keep simple snacks, such as crackers, by your bed. When you first wake up, nibble a few crackers and then rest for 20 to 30 minutes before getting up. Snacking on crackers may also help you feel better if you wake up nauseated in the middle of the night.
- Get up slowly in the morning.
- Avoid foods and smells that trigger your nausea.
- Eat dishes served cold or at room temperature because hot foods tends to have a stronger aroma.
- Don’t eat fatty foods because these take longer to digest.
- Steer clear of spicy, acidic, and fried foods, which can irritate your digestive system.
- Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth after eating.
- Drink fluids mostly between meals, but don’t drink so much at one time that your stomach feels full.
For any other help, consult your gynaecologist.