During the first trimester of your pregnancy, you have plenty to consider. Choosing the right healthcare provider, building a birth plan, and making important medical decisions about prenatal genetic testing are all on your radar. But even these important events can be shadowed by the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness, making it hard to enjoy happy events or think seriously about others.
What is morning sickness?
Morning sickness is nausea or vomiting that affects women during pregnancy. The exact cause of morning sickness isn’t understood, but researchers believe that hormonal changes and lower blood sugars may play a part.
Even though it’s more common in the morning hours, symptoms can hang on until late in the day. Some women say they feel sick morning and night, so it’s not really fair to call it “morning sickness.” Nausea and/or vomiting usually resolve around the 14th week of pregnancy and, in most cases, isn’t dangerous to the baby at all.
How can I get relief from morning sickness?
Not every woman will choose to deal with morning sickness in the same way, and not every treatment approach will work all of the time. Try a combination of approaches and do what feels best for you. Here are a few techniques you can consider:
- Grab a snack before you get out of bed. Keeping a few saltine crackers or other light snack beside your bed can be helpful. Before starting the day, eat a little something to help raise sagging blood sugar levels—a potential trigger of nausea during pregnancy.
- Eat what sounds (and smells) good.A heightened sense of smell can make it hard to eat foods you once enjoyed. In fact, just getting a whiff could send you running for the bathroom. Thankfully this response does fade, but in the meantime try to eat foods that appeal to you. Some women find the salty/tangy combination of lemonade and potato chips soothing. Others enjoy watermelon, pregnancy pops, or ginger.
- Consider acupressure. Sometimes called BioBands, these bracelets put pressure on specific points of the inner wrist. BioBands are used to treat motion sickness and can be very helpful in alleviating pregnancy nausea. They can be purchased in any pharmacy and are safe to use during pregnancy.
- Try some herbal teas. Herbal teas can be very soothing on the tummy when dealing with morning sickness. Consider teas like ginger or peppermint as they have properties known to help ease the feeling of nausea. If you’re not much of a tea person, sucking on a peppermint is another alternative that can produce the same effects.
- Add lemon to your water. If you’re looking to battle that nausea then add a lemon slice or two to your water.
- Vitamin B6. Medical studies have shown that taking a dose of 10 to 25 mg of vitamin B6 can greatly improve the feeling of nausea. If you’re going to take a vitamin B supplement, be sure to run this by your doctor to prevent harming you or the baby. You can also find it in foods that include: chickpeas, beef, ready to eat cereals, potatoes, and certain fish like halibut (eat fish fully cooked).
- Take a walk. Though you may not feel much in the mood to get up and get moving, walking can actually improve your nausea and extreme fatigue from morning sickness. Walking for about 20 minutes or so releases enough endorphins that helps to boost your energy and counteract fatigue.
- Switch up those eating habits. Sometimes morning sickness is worse when your stomach feels empty. To keep that from happening, you should try eating more often yet in smaller portions. This prevents you from feeling stuffed and sluggish but keeps the tummy feeling fuller for longer periods of time.
- Drink fluids. For those expectant mothers who are unable to keep much down it is extremely important that you drink plenty of fluids to keep you and the baby hydrated. Drinking water with lemon or a sports drink with electrolytes can help replenish your body. If you’re not really interested in drinking much you can also consider sucking on ice cubes made from water or with the sports drink.
- Medication. If you’re really having a hard time dealing with your morning sickness your doctor may prescribe medication for you. The most common form of medication approved by the FDA for morning sickness is called Diclegis. This medication combines the B6 vitamin with other medications such as an antihistamine, and doxylamine (which is used to treat symptoms of a common cold or allergies). The pill is a slow release pill which is to be taken daily to ward off any symptoms you’re experiencing.
When to call your doctor
Even though most bouts of pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting are perfectly normal, you should call your doctor if:
- Your nausea makes it impossible to eat or drink
- You are vomiting more than three or four times a day and can’t hold anything down for a period of 24 hours
- You are vomiting blood
- You are fatigued or confused
- You are not urinating or your urine has become very dark in color
- Your eyes, mouth, and skin feel dry
- You begin to feel weak or faint
Depending on the severity of your symptoms your doctor may need to treat you with prescribed medication, or a few days in the hospital to rehydrate with intravenous fluids.
There are a lot of ways to deal with the annoyance and discomfort of morning sickness. To ensure that you and your baby are safe it is important to consult with your doctor if you intend to try any alternative medicine or daily supplements. There’s no doubt that morning sickness can be stressful and disruptive, it is important to remain calm as stress can take a toll on your health. In most cases, morning sickness will pass will pass with time. Try to focus your thoughts on the arrival of your baby and the importance of your physical and mental well being.