For several mums to be, feeling sick is one of the first signs of pregnancy. During early pregnancy about 90% of women will experience morning sickness. They will feel sick or will be sick at a stage during their pregnancy with various symptoms which leads to women asking what does morning sickness feel like. Though called morning sickness, the term is confusing as only few women feel sick in the morning so it does not really describe what women are going through.
There are some common symptoms of morning sickness with one of them being nausea and there are some women that will also experience vomiting. Some women will discover that their nausea becomes worse when they eat certain foods or perceive certain smells and women are affected differently by various foods and smells.
How bad morning sickness is differs from woman to woman. There are women that will feel sick but will not actually vomit. You may experience mild nausea when you wake up or throughout the day, you have smells that trigger your nausea or there are women that will experience morning sickness for weeks or even months.
Nausea usually starts around the 4th to 6th week of pregnancy and usually gets worse over the next month or more. It can peak around the 9th week of gestation and can continue to the 16th week of pregnancy when it goes away although there are some women that have it all through their pregnancy. While there are women that have minor symptoms that do not disrupt their lifestyle, there are other women that have few symptoms that are so serious that they have to be hospitalized.
The symptoms you experience such as nausea and vomiting may vary in terms of its intensity and can be any of the following:
Morning sickness that is minor: The symptoms do not occur daily and does not disrupt daily activities. Some women’s symptoms are minor such as being ill due to some food smells and most times having nausea every day in the morning
Morning sickness that is standard: Symptoms feel worse in the morning but get better as the day goes on and you may vomit but will not be much
Morning sickness that is moderate: This involves sickness that happens on a daily basis and affects the way you eat. The symptoms can last till early afternoon.
Morning sickness that is terrible: The symptoms involve nausea that happens all the time along with vomiting that happens at least two times every day. Smells from food can make you lose your appetite and you could even start vomiting.
Morning sickness that is severe: The symptoms at this point can leave you hospitalized, having regular bed rest and dehydrated. If you are always weak, urinate less and have a fever try to see your doctor who may want you to be in the hospital and inject you with some IV fluids so that you can be hydrated and get some relief.
WHY DO YOU EXPERIENCE MORNING SICKNESS
Now that you know what morning sickness feels like you may be wondering what causes morning sickness. You should know that though it does not seem like it, feeling sick could actually be a good sign that your pregnancy is going on well as your pregnancy hormones are high which indicates that your pregnancy is likely to go on.
What causes morning sickness is not exactly known but there are certain factors that are believed to cause it, they include the following:
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG): This is considered to be one of the major causes of morning sickness especially when it involves nausea and vomiting. When women have good levels of HCG it ensures that their pregnancy goes on well and develops to the extent the placenta can sustain it. HCG levels tend to reduce around 16 to 20 weeks of pregnancy which is usually the stage when morning sickness tends to go away.
Estrogen level: During pregnancy, estrogen levels tend to be high which contributes to nausea and vomiting.
Increased sense of smell: During pregnancy some odors can make you feel nauseous and this is considered as the protective part of pregnancy. Your instinct seems to tell you the foods to avoid that may be harmful to you and your baby.
Progesterone levels: When progesterone levels increases during pregnancy it relaxes the muscles of your digestive system which makes food move slower through your system and this can increase nausea and vomiting.
Low glucose levels: If your baby takes a lot of sugar that leaves your blood sugar levels too low you may become nauseous and start vomiting
CAN MORNING SICKNESS AFFECT YOUR BABY
Even when morning sickness is very bad, your fetus is not likely to be hurt by the symptoms especially if any serious symptoms you have is treated by a doctor.
Morning sickness is even considered as a sign of a healthy pregnancy because when HCG levels are high it means a lot of pregnancy hormones are been produced by the placenta which means you are less likely to have a miscarriage. Now this does not mean that if you do not feel sick that your pregnancy will surely be unhealthy, it just shows that you have a strong body system and you may not be affected by nausea and vomiting like other women.
Try to eat a balanced diet but if you are really sick just eat what you can. At this stage you may only be able to eat crackers, potatoes or bread but don’t worry because soon you will able to eat better. Even though you are not eating well your baby will get nutrients from your body reserves and when you get batter you can get your nutrients back as your pregnancy progresses.
IS THERE ANY CAUSE TO BE WORRIED BY MORNING SICKNESS?
An unsafe aspect of morning sickness is Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) which causes severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. This does not normally occur and what really causes it is not well-known.
Below are some factors that will help you know if you are experiencing Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)
Nausea is terrible and does not reduce: Nausea does not reduce during your pregnancy. Nausea is a common symptom of pregnancy and makes women uncomfortable but when it becomes more serious and affects your daily routine activities you may be experiencing HG.
Nausea is really terrible that it becomes difficult for women to get up from a chair, raise and lift up their heads and some sounds can trigger nausea so bad that it becomes difficult for pregnant women to cope. Nausea also makes it difficult for women take in anything as they are unable to eat or drink.
Loss of weight rapidly and excessively: Women having HG tend to lose a lot of weight. With a healthy pregnancy you will have morning sickness and during your first trimester can lose some weight but with HG you lose weight rapidly and excessively.
If you feel you are losing around 2% of your body weight per week or within a month you lose around 5% you could have HG.
Vomiting gets worse: It is normal for pregnant women to vomit sometimes a day in the first trimester and once in a while throughout pregnancy but if it occurs constantly it may be because of HG.
Women, who experience morning sickness, usually feel better after they vomit and they go on to have a drink, eat some food and continue with their day. When you have HG vomiting continues for several women even if they have an empty stomach. Also they could even vomit bile and even if they do not eat or drink anything the vomiting continues. In more severe situations women could vomit blood especially if they are not well treated for HG.
Chronic dehydration: There is an increase in the volume of blood and fluid when women are pregnant and this is needed to support the pregnancy. This makes them susceptible to dehydration. Usually drinking more water and other liquids after a bout of nausea and vomiting is okay to prevent dehydration but women with HG finds it hard to stay hydrated because their nausea and vomiting happens regularly. This is because nausea does not allow them to take the required amount of liquid they need or whatever they drink is vomited immediately.
Many women struggling with HG become so dehydrated that they need IV hydration treatment often while some other women need to hospitalized or will be treated at home.
No relief from morning sickness during pregnancy: For a lot of women when they get to the second trimester their morning sickness goes away or their symptoms decreases. Many women usually feel good and may just be nauseous on few occasions. Women experiencing HG still have morning sickness halfway through their pregnancy or even till when they deliver their baby.
Natural remedies, lifestyle and diet changes makes no difference: There are natural remedies that have been tested and seen to be effective such as taking ginger and peppermint tea that can give pregnant women some relief and decrease symptoms. For women experiencing HG, these remedies do not offer any relief and even make the situation worse as they can actually make pregnant women feel more ill.
Makes women avoid food: It is normal to see pregnant women avoid a particular food or a smell during their early phases of pregnancy because there are some foods that can make them nauseous and also make them vomit.
Women with HG try avoiding food and water a lot because of regular nausea and vomiting that makes them fear eating. Pregnant women could be hungry but are unable to find what to eat because of morning sickness and will have to force themselves to eat.
Not able to do usual activities: When women have morning sickness It is usual for them to skip work and get someone to help them to do various activities in their homes but when it becomes harder to do these activities it may be because of HG.
Women experiencing HG have their daily activities like going to work and doing chores at home get disturbed because of constant nausea and vomiting. In such circumstances, the women involved need to have extra help and support to take care of the children and the home.
If you are experiencing morning sickness symptoms and your symptoms become more serious and severe you have to seek medical attention immediately to be treated properly.
CAN MORNING SICKNESS BE PREVENTED?
While it is not likely to prevent morning sickness, there are some studies that seem to show that taking prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant can reduce the chances of having morning sickness. Apart from this you can take these vitamins while pregnant as it can help to reduce symptoms of morning sickness. Before taking these vitamins see your doctor so that your baby will not be hurt.
While there is no exact way to prevent morning sickness, there are some things you can do to manage the situation. They are:
Try not to get out of bed quickly in the morning, take your time and get out of bed slowly
When possible try to get enough rest which is important if wake up early in the morning
Try not to immediately sleep after eating because this can make your nausea worse
Avoid taking foods that are spicy, greasy or fatty instead try and prepare meals that are bland without any smell
Make use of acupressure wrist bands because when you push the button before getting out of bed in the morning or at any time when you feel nauseous can stop the feeling of morning sickness
Using peppermint or ginger tea can help although there are researchers that are concerned about the effects ginger could have on your unborn baby.
This should not be a major worry but you should see a doctor if you intend to take some ginger. Also you can also use peppermint as it has shown to be very good in giving relief to women from morning sickness