Morning sickness occurs during pregnancy. Symptoms of morning sickness include nausea, vomiting and distaste for some foods. Though called morning sickness, women can experience these symptoms at any time of the day. The level of symptoms can also differ from woman to woman as well.
There are researchers that believe that morning sickness is connected to a hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) which is produced during pregnancy. It is considered that this may be the body’s way of protecting fetuses as well as mothers from some chemical and diseases from food.
Generally morning sickness is not dangerous but it is uncomfortable which is why a lot of pregnant women always ask when morning sickness peaks so they can look forward to having some relief from all its symptoms.
WHEN DOES MORNING SICKNESS PEAK
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is the medical term for morning sickness. About 75% of pregnant women will at some point have some nausea and vomiting during the first trimester while about 50% of women will experience only vomiting.
Morning sickness normally starts around the 6th week of pregnancy and decreases around the third and fourth month. When exactly morning sickness peaks varies among women, but generally it is around the 9th week. About 50% of women who get nausea during pregnancy get total relief around the 14th week while for others it could take an extra month or more for the nausea to reduce.
Some researchers believe that the peak of symptoms occur when the baby’s organs are highly exposed to chemicals which is between the 6th and 18th week of pregnancy.
There are some women who get relief from morning sickness but after some time will continue experiencing it on and off during their pregnancy while there are a few women whose symptoms continue regularly until they deliver their baby.
WHAT IS MORNING SICKNESS ALL ABOUT
Morning sickness is really uncomfortable for a lot of women with a common symptom being nausea while some women experience vomiting. Also some women might notice that their nausea becomes worse when they smell or eat certain foods. The type of food and smell that causes nausea is different for every woman.
When morning sickness reaches its peak, the nausea and vomiting becomes slightly worse and occurs regularly but will not be really serious. Many women may need to take things slowly during the peak of morning sickness.
Now because morning sickness is common and is most likely to last a few months does not mean it is not a great task. Just having a small bout of nausea can bring you down as having series of nausea and vomiting can leave you really tired and depressed. It can disturb your flow and various activities like stopping you going to work, doing your chores and can disturb you from enjoying pregnancy.
There are a lot of doctors that feel morning sickness is a good sign during pregnancy because they believe the placenta is developing well.
WHAT CAUSES MORNING SICKNESS
Despite morning sickness being a normal complaint by women during pregnancy, researchers are not able to understand what fully causes it. The pregnancy hormone Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) seems to play a major role in causing morning sickness.
At around the 9th or 10th week, hCG hormones peak and this is the time many symptoms like nausea and vomiting becomes worse. A lot of women will notice that the nausea and vomiting reduces around the 14th to 18th week but for some women who are not so fortunate these symptoms could continue for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Apart from hCG, there are other factors that lead to morning sickness occurring. For instances changes in estrogen levels and thyroxin which is the thyroid hormone can also play a role. Other causes could be changes in your blood pressure as well as changes to the way your body metabolizes carbohydrates when you are pregnant. Other factors could be stress, a sensitive stomach and an improved sensitivity to odors and sense of smell.
IS THERE A PROBLEM IF THERE IS NO MORNING SICKNESS DURING PREGNANCY?
Do not think because there is no morning sickness that there is a problem with the pregnancy. We need to realize that every individual pregnancy is different and some could experience bad morning sickness while others will have mild morning sickness and there are also some women that will not experience morning sickness at all.
Some women get worried because there are some studies that state that women who had less nausea during their pregnancy had miscarriages but we should also note that there are many women with flawless normal pregnancies who have mild or no nausea during their first trimester so instead of being worried you should consider yourself very fortunate if you are not in distress.
CAN MORNING SICKNESS CAUSE COMPLICATIONS?
A dangerous form of morning sickness is Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) that leads to severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. This does not usually happen and what really causes it is not known.
When nausea and vomiting becomes something that seems much more than morning sickness it will be difficult to understand if what you are feeling and experiencing is healthy.
Below are some points that can help you know the difference between Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) and morning sickness.
Excessive and rapid loss of weight: You tend to lose a lot of weight with HG. With a healthy pregnancy you will experience morning sickness and lose some weight during your first trimester but with HG you lose weight rapidly and excessively. If you notice you are losing body weight of around 2% every week or more than 5% within a month it is most likely you are experiencing HG. As weeks and months go by, women with HG can lose 10% of their body weight especially if they are not getting treatment.
Nausea is severe and does not subside: Your nausea does not subside or reduce during your pregnancy. As it has being stated earlier, nausea is an expected symptom of pregnancy and causes women a lot of discomfort but when it becomes severe to the extent that it disturbs your daily activities you may be experiencing HG.
Nausea is so severe that women find it difficult to stand up from a chair, lift and move their heads and certain sounds can trigger nausea so serious that women find it so difficult to cope. The nausea is so severe that women find it difficult to keep anything down as they are unable to eat or drink.
Vomiting becomes worse: Vomiting few times a day in the first trimester and once in a while throughout the pregnancy is common for pregnant women but when it continues regularly it could be due to HG.
In many situations with women experiencing morning sickness, they tend to feel better or get some sort of relief after vomiting, take a drink, eat something and get on with their day. With HG the vomiting does not stop for many women even when their stomach is empty. Apart from this they could vomit bile and even without eating or drinking the vomiting goes on. In more serious cases women could vomit blood especially if they are not well treated for HG.
Nausea and vomiting leads to chronic dehydration: When women are pregnant they experience an increase in volume of blood and fluid which is needed to support the pregnancy and this leaves them prone to dehydration. Normally taking more water along with other form of liquids after having a session of nausea and vomiting is enough to prevent dehydration.
For women experiencing HG, they find it difficult to remain hydrated because their nausea and vomiting happens constantly. This is because nausea makes them avoid taking the necessary amount of liquid they need or whatever they drink they immediately vomit it.
A lot of women battling with HG become so dehydrated they will require IV hydration treatment once in a while and there are some other women that will need to hospitalized or will require will be treated at home.
There is no relief from morning sickness during pregnancy: For many women when they reach the second trimester their morning sickness stops or the symptoms are greatly reduced. Many women are usually in top shape and feel better and may just feel nauseous once in a while. Women with HG still experience morning sickness midway through their pregnancy or even till when they give birth.
Changes to diet, lifestyle and natural remedies do not offer much relief: When women have morning sickness there are some tried and tested remedies such as taking ginger and peppermint tea that can offer some relief and reduce symptoms. For women with HG, these remedies do not work and can even compound the problem as these remedies can make them feel more ill.
Can make some women dislike food: When some women are pregnant there are some foods and smells that make them nauseous, so it is normal to see them dislike a particular food or a smell during their early stages of pregnancy.
Women with HG have an increased dislike for food and water with leads to frequent nausea and vomiting that can make them become afraid of eating. Women will be hungry but will not be able to find what to eat because of how they feel and may have to force themselves to eat.
Unable to do normal activities: It is normal for women to miss work sometimes when they are experiencing morning sickness or get some help to do activities in their homes but when it becomes more difficult to do these activities it may be due to HG.
Women with HG can have their daily activities such as going to work and doing activities at home disrupted due to regular nausea and vomiting. In such situations the women involved need to have extra help to take care of the children and to have support for other activities.
If you are experiencing morning sickness symptoms at a higher level and you feel it may be HG then you need to see your maternity care provider or doctor immediately for proper treatment.
PREVENTION OF MORNING SICKNESS
It is not really possible to prevent morning sickness but there are some studies that seem to state that taking prenatal vitamins before becoming pregnant can decrease the chances of experiencing morning sickness. Also taking these vitamins while pregnant can also help to reduce symptoms but you should consult your doctor before taking any of these vitamins so that you will not harm your baby.
Though there is no sure way of preventing morning sickness, there are some steps you can take to manage the situation. They include the following:
Try not to rush out of bed in the morning, take your time and slowly get out of bed
Make sure you get enough rest when possible especially if you get up early in the morning. Also do not sleep immediately after eating because this can increase nausea
Do not be around foods or smells that make your nausea worse and stay from warm places as it increases nausea.
Avoid taking spicy, greasy or fatty foods, instead prepare meals that are bland with no smell
Use acupressure wrist bands as pushing down 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
Taking peppermint or ginger tea can help although there are researchers that are worried about the effects ginger can have on the unborn baby. Though this should not be a concern but you can seek medical advice if you intend to take certain amounts of ginger. Also you can also take peppermint as it has overtime been shown to be very good in helping women get relief from morning sickness
While it is not possible to completely prevent morning sickness, several women are able cope with it without having any problems. Try and be positive throughout and keep it in mind that morning sickness goes away around the fourth month as this can help you cope.
While it may be difficult to eat healthy while experiencing morning sickness, try to eat a diet with a lot of proteins and vegetables and drink plenty of water.