Finding out that you are pregnant can be exciting for many new parents. However, that excitement can dampen some with a classic case of morning sickness. Don’t fear morning sickness is generally temporary for most women. Approximately 7 in 10 pregnant women have morning sickness in the first trimester of pregnancy. Generally, it starts about 6 weeks of pregnancy. Most women will feel better in their second trimester. There are some women that experience morning sickness throughout their entire pregnancy. Are you experiencing the kind of nausea and vomiting that seems to be out of the norm? If so, tell your health care provider at your next appointment.
Is it morning sickness or could it be hyperemesis gravidarum?
Most cases of morning sickness are not severe. Although, approximately 3 in 100 women may have hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum is an extreme case of excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It can cause you to lose weight and you could become dehydrated. It can be dangerous for you and the baby if you do not seek treatment.
Signs and symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum can include:
- Vomiting more than 3 to 4 times a day.
- Vomiting that makes you feel dizzy or lightheaded.
- Vomiting that causes dehydration. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include feeling thirsty, dry mouth, a fast heartbeat or making little to no urine or your urine is dark in color.
- Losing weight – if you lost more than 5% of pre-pregnancy body weight, that can be a cause for concern.
If your morning sickness symptoms continue, your health care provider may suggest vitamin B-6 supplements (pyridoxine), ginger, and doxylamine (the OTC product – Unisom). Be sure to check with your doctor prior to taking any over-the-counter products. Your health care provider may recommend prescription anti-nausea medications depending on the severity of your symptoms.
The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown. It is thought that changes in hormones play a role. When you experience moderate to severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy it may cause dehydration and a change in your electrolyte levels, such as a sodium or potassium imbalance.
Tips and home remedies
Suggestions to relieve morning sickness:
- Choose foods wisely. Eat foods that are high in protein and low in fat. Try to avoid greasy, spicy and fatty foods. Bananas, rice, applesauce and toast may be easier to digest. Salty foods can be helpful and foods that contain ginger.
- Snacking. Keep crackers by your bed and try to eat a couple prior to getting out of bed in the morning. Rather than eating three large meals a day, try snacking throughout the day. An empty stomach may make your nausea worse.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Try to sip on six to eight cups of non caffeinated drinks every day. Water or ginger ale can help you feel better.
- Avoid nausea triggers. Try to avoid foods or smells that have made your nausea worse in the past.
- Get some fresh air. Open up the windows or spend some time outdoors, weather permitting of course.
- Take your prenatal vitamins. If you feel like your prenatal vitamins could be linked to your morning sickness – try taking the vitamins with a snack or just before bed. If these steps don’t help, ask your doctor about other ways you can get the iron and vitamins you need during pregnancy.
- Rinsing your mouth. If you are experiencing vomiting, the acid from your stomach can damage the enamel on your teeth. Try rinsing your mouth with a cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda. This will be helpful in neutralizing the acid and protecting your teeth.
Various methods of alternative medicine that can help reduce morning sickness symptoms:
- Acupressure. Acupressure wristbands can be purchased in most pharmacies without a prescription. This is not a proven cure. However, some women find the wristbands helpful.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture isn’t a proven method of treating morning sickness, but some women have been happy with the results.
- Ginger. Herbal ginger supplements seem to alleviate morning sickness. Most research suggests that ginger can be used safely during pregnancy, but there have been some concerns that ginger may affect fetal sex hormones.
- Hypnosis. There is very little research on the topic. Some have found relief from morning sickness through hypnosis.
- Aromatherapy. Certain scents, normally used to create essential oils (aromatherapy), can help ease that nauseous feeling. There is also little research on the topic,
How to prepare for your appointment
Your health care provider is more than likely going to ask you questions about your morning sickness. Here we go over some ways for you to be prepared to answer those questions.
- Jot down any symptoms you are experiencing. Be sure to include all of your symptoms, even if you don’t think they are really related.
- Make a list of any medications, vitamins and other supplements you are taking. Write down the dosage and how often you take them.
- Take notes. Write down important information during your visit.
- What questions do you have? Make a list of questions. Put your higher priority questions at the top of the list.
Here are some basic questions you can ask:
- What is causing my symptoms?
- Will I need any tests?
- Is the nausea and vomiting going to be present my entire pregnancy?
- What medications can I take to help with my symptoms?
- Does morning sickness pose any risk to the baby?
- What will help with the queasy feelings?
Don’t hesitate to ask follow-up questions as they occur to you during your appointment.
Potential questions your health care provider may ask:
- How long have you been experiencing these issues?
- How often does nausea or vomiting occur?
- How severe are the symptoms? Are you able to keep any food down?
- Have you noticed any certain triggers for your nausea or vomiting?
- Do the symptoms occur at certain times during the day or all the time?
- Are you currently taking any prenatal vitamins? Are there any other medications that you regularly take?
- Is there anything that makes you feel better?
- What seems to make your symptoms feel worse?
It is important to talk with your doctor about any concerns you have with your pregnancy. Our caring team at OB-GYN Women’s Centre in Lakewood Ranch is here to help you through the exciting and overwhelming process that is pregnancy. Contact our team to learn more.