Pregnancy is said to be one of the most beautiful experiences women can go through, and the feeling of having a life growing inside you is simply magical. However, there’s another feeling expectant mothers are very familiar with, and it’s a lot less fun.
What Is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness begins at around the 6th week of pregnancy, and if you have it, you will notice the presence of nausea and vomiting throughout the remainder of your first trimester. It is one of the most common and pestering symptoms in the first three months of pregnancy.
Recent estimates suggest that up to 85% of women experience morning sickness during their pregnancies, and its early start is often the first sign of pregnancy many women receive.
Despite its name, morning sickness can happen at any time of the day, and it varies from person to person. Some mothers to be will vomit first thing in the morning and be done with it while others will be queasy and nauseous all day long.
Genetics can be a factor, but while medical science doesn’t know for certain the real reason behind morning sickness, it’s believed to be the result of an increase in hormones during the first weeks of pregnancy.
Other theories point out that morning sickness can be the body’s way of:
- Encouraging an adjustment in activity levels to preserve energy.
- Influence women into eating carbohydrate rich foods, as well as other vitamins and nutrients.
- Reduce the risk of exposure to dangerous food by reducing the mother’s appetite.
It’s believed that, despite its unpleasantness, morning sickness can be the sign of a healthy pregnancy as it signals an increase of pregnancy hormones which indicates that the fetus is developing well. In fact, morning sickness can even be good for you.
A recent study by multiple institutions associated nausea and vomiting with a reduced risk of miscarriage, malformations, and premature births. This might be surprising to many expecting mothers, however we have enough data now to suggest that while annoying, morning sickness may actually be a good sign in the first trimester.
Whether this is because of an increase in healthy pregnancy hormones or not, it’s too soon to tell, but it appears that pregnant women everywhere now have a reason to hate morning sickness a little less.
What if I don’t experience morning sickness?
If you’re pregnant and aren’t experiencing morning sickness, don’t worry! As of now, studies have found no link between the lack of morning illness and an increased risk of miscarriage.
In fact, many women don’t experience nausea or vomiting at all, and while many people consider these “the price of a healthy baby,” they are not requirements for having a healthy bundle of joy. However, the opposite does present a danger for expectant mothers.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is the name given to excessive vomiting during the pregnancy, which can result in plenty of complications, both for the fetus and the mother. Sometimes, excessive vomiting will lead to weight loss, which in turn leads to a lack of nutrients and electrolytes that can harm, and even kill, both mother and baby if left unchecked.
Some women even experience nausea and vomiting so severe that they’ve considered terminating wanted pregnancies, reports say. If you believe you’re experiencing something like this, contact your doctor immediately. Mild cases of this are often treated with a dietary adjustment and rest while more severe cases require hospitalization and IV nutrition.
What can you do to Avoid Morning Sickness?
While there’s not a lot you can do to avoid it, there are some measures you can take to make things easier on yourself:
- Eat small meals and avoid spicy food if possible.
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking small quantities of water through the day.
- Avoid hot weathers and overheating, which can lead to an increase in nausea.
- Get plenty of rest whenever you need it. Your pregnancy pillow helps!
- Avoid skipping meals and eat whatever you want whenever you feel like you can keep it down.
- Exercise but keep it to light, low impact workouts. Walking is the doctors favorite, and you should take advantage of your ability to walk comfortably while you still have it.
- Avoid lying down right after eating.
When should I contact my doctor?
There are times when some things just don’t feel right. This is especially true while harboring a baby, and you should keep an eye on the following with your morning sickness as they may raise some red flags that need immediate attention:
- You’re experiencing severe nausea and vomiting.
- You’re unable to keep any food down.
- You’re experiencing fever or pain during vomiting.
- If you’re still experiencing morning sickness after the 12th week of pregnancy, which is when morning sickness tends to disappear.
It’s important to understand that while the new studies indicate a link between morning sickness and a healthy pregnancy this shouldn’t’ be considered an exact science. Women can experience complications in their pregnancies regardless if they experienced nausea or not so while there might be a positive side to this less than fun aspect of your pregnancy you should always have a doctor supervise your pregnancy to ensure a healthy and happy baby.
1. The protective effects of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy against adverse fetal outcome—A systematic review: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623814000975