Morning Sickness During Pregnancy

Morning Sickness Symptoms and Nausea Remedies

Oh... that queasy feeling! Everything seems to bring on nausea, and you may be wondering: how long will this last? Is something wrong? Why is it called morning sickness when it can strike at any time? Many mums-to-be experience nausea in the first trimester, but you can relieve the symptoms with a few morning sickness remedies.

What Is Morning Sickness?

About halfway through your first trimester, you might notice that the smell of certain substances, such as perfumes, spices, or even the sight of breakfast, makes you nauseated. You may even find that your morning sickness is not exclusively triggered by food. This early pregnancy symptom is caused by the pregnancy hormone hCG, as well as other factors like low blood sugar, a more acute sense of smell, increased stomach acid levels, stress, or fatigue.

About 50 to 70 percent of pregnant women experience this queasiness, which is sometimes accompanied by vomiting. The condition is called morning sickness because that's often the time of day when the symptoms are the worst, but unfortunately you can feel queasy or throw up any time of day.

Not only is this nausea normal, it's usually a sign that your pregnancy is healthy. However, if you don’t experience morning sickness, don’t worry, it does not necessarily point towards any complication. Do tell your doctor if your pregnancy nausea or vomiting occurs more than twice a day, if it prevents you from eating or drinking altogether, or if it continues past your first trimester. You might have a more serious problem called hyperemesis gravidarum, which requires treatment with oral or intravenous medication.

Tips to Avoid Morning Sickness

There are some handy cures that can help relieve some of those pesky symptoms of morning sickness:

  • Have snacks on hand. Keep some plain biscuits or a piece of chocolate beside your bed, and eat something the moment you wake up to raise your blood sugar levels before starting your day.
  • Eat more often. Eat five to six small meals a day to avoid an empty stomach and to keep your blood sugar stable.
  • Eat well. Include enough protein in your diet (meats, fish, eggs, cheese) and complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, grains) to meet the requirements of your developing baby.
  • Try supplements. Some nutritionists recommend taking 50 to 100 milligrams of a vitamin B6 supplement to prevent nausea. As with any over-the-counter medication, consult your doctor first.
  • Go easy on the hot chilies. Stay away from spicy or greasy foods, and avoid becoming overheated and sweaty.
  • De-stress. When nausea strikes, try to relax by breathing slowly or focusing on something pleasant.
  • Know your nausea triggers. Avoid the sight, smell, and taste of foods or other substances (such as tobacco smoke) that make you queasy.
  • Try some home remedies. Keep your fridge stocked with strawberry and peach ice pops. These not only soothe your stomach and help with the nausea, but are rich in folic acid. You can also suck on some ice or a lemon wedge.
  • Avoid anything that may make you gag. If brushing your teeth makes you gag, try mouthwash instead.
  • Neutralise the acid in your stomach. Try drinking a glass of milk or take calcium.
  • Soothe your symptoms with something cool. Apply a cold cloth or ice pack to your throat.
  • Give ginger a try. Add ginger to your food or drink ginger tea - it’s a natural remedy for nausea.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water in small sips. It may help not to mix solids and fluids in the same meal.
  • Press on your pressure points. Apply pressure with your thumbs at the base of your skull at the back of your neck.
  • Exercise it away. Gentle exercise releases endorphins that can help with the nausea.

Even if none of these morning sickness remedies works for you, take heart. The good news is that morning sickness tends to go away in the second trimester when hCG hormone levels decrease. In the meantime, remind yourself that the nausea is normal and will soon pass — and think about the happiness your baby will bring you as your due date gets nearer.

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