Sickness in pregnancy, sometimes even accompanied by vomiting, is a problem that most pregnant women encounter. The exact cause of sickness in pregnancy is not entirely known, but experts and expert public agree that they may be caused mainly by elevated levels of pregnancy hormones progesterone and hCG. These hormones reduce stomach wall and intestinal movement and therefore reduce the production of gastric juices.
Another phenomenon common in pregnancy is heightened sensitivity to smells. Sometimes all it takes is the slightest whiff of some undesirable smell from the fridge or from a cigarette of a smoker standing around the corner and the sickness is here. These problems most frequently occur in the morning, but it is not a rule. Some expectant mothers only experience slight sickness and only several times during their entire pregnancy while other future mothers fight intense long-term sickness. Usually, this condition is at its most intense during the first two months, but some mothers experience them longer, some even until birth. Serious cases of pregnancy sickness when the woman suffers from frequent and intense vomiting and weight loss require hospitalization.
However, sickness in pregnancy is seldom so serious and limiting that it should endanger life of the mother or her fetus.
Three of four expectant mothers have the experience of sickness occurring not only in the morning but at any time during the day or night. Fortunately, there is a wide range of procedures to mitigate these conditions. In case the problems persist, consult your OBGYN or GP.
Morning sickness usually occurs in the second month of pregnancy and subsides around the fourth month.
How to Beat Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
In most cases, the course of sickness is mild and does not take longer than specified above. In such cases, diet measures are still recommended to mitigate the problems - more frequent food intake in smaller portions, drinking cooled beverages - cold Cola calms irritated stomach - and use of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
- Empty stomach and lack of food or on the contrary excessive food intake may cause the sickness. That is why it is advisable to eat smaller portions but more frequently.
- In case you travel, always take at least some cookies, crackers, candy, muesli, fruit or something small to eat.
- Always sip your drinks.
- Avoid foods and smells that may trigger the sickness or when you have already verified they trigger it - most frequently, these foods include smoked meat products, spicy or fat foods.
- Get some rest during the day but do not forget to be physically active as well. All you have to do is take a short walk in fresh air every day.
- Avoid excessive temperatures and heat and unventilated spaces.
- Morning sickness can also be prevented by eating some cookies and drinking a sip of water several minutes before getting out of bed in the morning.
- If you experience morning sickness after taking your prenatal vitamins, try taking them with food or at night.
Several Verified Tips on How to Mitigate Morning Sickness in Pregnancy
- In the morning, immediately after waking up, eat something dry with neutral taste - corn bread or your favourite bread are the best way to go. You can prepare them on your nightstand in the evening so they are at hand when you wake up. If possible, do not get up too fast, but before you get up, try waking up fully in bed, sit up, stretch and slowly get up to greet the new day.
- During the day, eat frequently, best in regular intervals, and in small portions - it is better to have a couple of small portions than nothing at all. Always keep something small to eat at hand, e.g. a cup of yoghurt or some fruit. Do not wait for the hunger to start.
- Food rich in proteins or carbohydrates may partially suppress the feeling of sickness. Avoid fat and spicy foods. After taking a meal, remain seated for a little while. Do not brush your teeth immediately after a meal.
- Drink plenty of fluids, but in sips. Preferably still water, fruit juices, milk, fruit teas - anything your stomach can hold. Limit your intake of coffee.
- Do not forget that you should have some rest and avoid stress during the day!
- Try to take a short walk every day, do not stay in unventilated spaces, in means of public transport, try sit down when you can. Air out your bedroom well before you go to sleep.
When to Call for Medical Help
- If the sickness or vomiting get too intense, especially when you are not able to hold any fluids in your stomach.
- If you feel dehydrated, you urinate too little and your urine is dark-coloured.
- If you feel too weak because of the sickness, you have severe headache, vertigo or nausea.
- If you vomit blood or if the vomiting is accompanied by stomach ache or fever.
Severe Sickness in Pregnancy - Treatment
If the vomiting gets severe and the pregnant woman has problems preventing her from taking in any food or fluids, loses weight, dehydration may occur and the ion management in the woman's body may get disrupted. All that may result in exhaustion and subsequent apathy, urination is reduced and sometimes leading to liver dysfunction.
Such conditions are handled either in the form of outpatient treatment or (in severe cases) require hospitalization. The affected pregnant woman is given medicine to suppress the feeling of sickness and mitigating the vomiting reflex, or infusion treatment with gradually increasing amount of food to intake. In extreme and very rare cases, the pregnancy needs to be terminated artificially with regard to the threatened life of the pregnant women for the aforementioned reasons.
Other Possible Causes of Sickness and Nausea During Pregnancy
If vomiting persists longer than until the fourth month of pregnancy, or if there is any blood in the vomit, a specialized endoscopic examination by a gastroenterologist is recommended to exclude severe cases of the problems, such as stomach ulcers or tumour.
In the second month of pregnancy, women usually experience so-called morning sickness. Roughly 75% of pregnant women encounter some form of morning sickness. The term "morning" is misleading as the sickness may occur at any time during the day or even at night. Most expectant mothers successfully use verified procedures and pieces of advice to battle the sickness.
Folk Wisdom - How to Beat Morning Sickness in Pregnancy
- Drink balm tea; it may mitigate your problems with nausea and loss of appetite. After birth, balm tea calms the baby during breastfeeding.
We need one tablespoon of dried ground balm herb or 1.5-2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh balm. Put the balm in a tea cup, pour boiling water over it, cover the cup and let it steep for 20 minutes. Pour the drops of steam precipitated on the lid back into the cup. You can also serve balm tea to children to calm them down, but only after a consultation with their GP. Adults without allergy to balm may have two mugs of balm tea a day.
- Eliminate hunger, eat in smaller portions several times a day, do not be afraid to eat for the night - otherwise your empty stomach will wake you up.
- If yo feel uncomfortable with some smells whether they be washing agents, your husband's perfume or toilet spray, remove them from the house during pregnancy.
- Ventilate your home thoroughly for the night. While in the evening, some smells in the house (e.g. cooking smells) may not be a problem, they may strike in the morning.
- At work, do not be shy to ask your colleagues to eliminate the smells that irritate you to be sick, e.g. to not bring their food into the office, smoke in your presence, etc.
- If you have some smell that you like, keep it on you and smell it every time you feel the sickness welling up. Many mothers state that citrus smells were good for this purpose. They kept a peeled orange or lemon on them and when they started to feel sick, they sniffed it and the raging stomach settled down. This may also work for you.
- Cold beverages also help as well as a piece of ice in the mouth.
- Get up slowly.
- Ginger is believed to have effect bordering on miraculous. Try eating it in any form, best as tea or in cookies.
- Salt may also have positive effects on some pregnant women. Many future mothers were saved from morning sickness by salty crackers or chips. Naturally, in moderate amounts.
Eliminate Feelings of Hunger During the Day
Do not be afraid to prepare some small goodies to eat during the day - yoghurt, wholemeal bars or pieces of fruit and vegetables. Nibble on them during the day and take bigger meals in regular intervals. Do not wait for hunger to come because it will probably come with the sickness.
Sickness in pregnancy may also be suppressed with foods rich in proteins (milk, dairy products, nuts, eggs) and carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, rice, potatoes). By combining them, you will be able to make a fully nutritious meal even without meat, if necessary.
Drink plenty of fluids. It may help prevent morning sickness in pregnancy. Mild teas, still water, fruit juices or milk are excellent for this purpose. Certainly limit your use of coffee and alcohol.
Sickness in Pregnancy May Also Be Caused by Stress or Lack of Physical Activity
Unpleasant feelings in the stomach may also be triggered by stress, fatigue or worries. It is therefore important to rest as much as you can. Take a moment only for yourself every day, otherwise not even the most balanced diet cannot save you.
Taking walks and lots of fresh air also helps against sickness in pregnancy.