One of the most common and well known issues faced in pregnancy is morning sickness. Despite the name the nausea and vomiting can occur at any time not just the morning. There is no known cause for the nausea but there are a number of different theories most likely the increase in the pregnancy hormones especially hCG.
Generally the worst of the symptoms are during the first trimester it can start as soon as 6-7 weeks into pregnancy & in some cases can be one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy. It usually ends around week 16-20 of pregnancy.
- loss of appetite
- psychological impact – anxiety and depression
There certain risk factors that incline you towards morning sickness such as:
- sensitivity to nausea prior to pregnancy such as with motion sickness, migraines, sensitivity to smells or tastes
- pregnancy with multiples (twins or triplets)
- morning sickness in previous pregnancies
- morning sickness runs in the family
Depending on the severity the treatment of nausea and vomiting is generally a collection of home remedies which can be tried as each pregnancy is unique and may respond to some or none of the below. If however you are suffering with Hyperemesis Gravidarum you will likely need some medical help and management especially if you become dehydrated, or are unable to consume enough nutrients and are at risk of malnourishment.
Home treatments to try include:
- eating small and frequent meals – while avoiding any foods that smell or make you feel nauseous. Usually high in carbohydrates but low in fat such as crackers, rice, bread or pasta
- carbohydrates – eating a couple of plain crackers when the nausea is starting can, for some women, stave off the nausea worsening
- ginger – eat or drink ginger or foods containing ginger as there is some evidence that it can help with nausea (do not take ginger supplements unless discussed with your healthcare providers)
- sip – rather than gulp on water or weak tea or ginger sodas when feeling nauseous
- acupressure – try options such as the sea sickness bands which help relieve nausea
- acupuncture – find a qualified acupuncturist, ideally who specialises in pregnancy to help relieve the nausea
- fresh air – open a window or turn on a fan, or go for a walk if you can manage
- essential oils – some women find relief with essential oils, such as ginger and cardamom but should not be ingested during pregnancy and if applied to the skin should be sufficiently diluted in a carrier oil and ideally after the first trimester. During the first trimester try using it in a diffuser.
This is a rare complication (about 3% of pregnant people); where you experience severe nausea and vomiting through pregnancy. It may cause dehydration and weight loss usually more than 5% of pre-pregnancy body weight. It needs to be medically managed and may require hospitalisation and IV fluid treatment.