Causes of Morning Sickness
Unfortunately, no one has been able to pinpoint exactly what causes morning sickness. However, pregnancy causes an increase in hormones, especially estrogen, at a fast pace. The body has a difficult time adjusting to the sudden change. The rise in hormones gradually tapers off around the beginning of the fourth month and so should nausea and vomiting. It may return a month or two later when hormones again increase. Some women suffer from it their entire pregnancies.
Symptoms of Morning Sickness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Decreased appetite
- Sudden attacks or “waves” of nausea
- Aversion to certain odors, even those previously pleasant
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Possible weight loss
- Can occur at any time of day, but it is usually worse in the morning
Tips for Coping
- Realize that this is not “just in your head.”
- Remind ourself that this is a temporary condition.
- Enlist the support and cooperation of your family, friends, and co-workers.
- Learn a stress management technique.
- Listen to your body. Your condition may not fit the stereotyped morning sickness.
- Rest your body and mind. Fatigue and anxiety contribute to nausea and vomiting.
- There will be good days and bad days. Try to be flexible with your plans.
- You will feel a wide range of emotions, including anger and depression. If you have difficulty dealing with them, find a good friend or therapist who will listen to you vent your feelings. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- A good cry never hurts. Don’t hide your feelings.
- Try to find out what smells and foods are your “triggers” to nausea and vomiting.
- Find out which foods you can eat and keep down. Food intake is essential to maintaining the energy your body needs to function.
- Try to avoid areas that you have no control over, such as parking garages or bus stops.
- Fluid intake is important to prevent dehydration and constipation.
- Exercise, if it can bee tolerated and is permitted, helps especially if you already have a routine. Consult your healthcare provider for a safe plan during pregnancy.
- Try to maintain some activity to prevent loss of muscle and bone mass.
- Consult with your healthcare provider about acceptable weight gain and loss limits.
- Keep a weight chart of weekly weigh-ins, espcially if there has been a considerable amount of vomiting. Weight can vary by a pound or two daily, so compare weekly weight on the same day of each week and look for trends.
- If you suffered with motion sickness before you became pregnant, it may be worse during pregnancy. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any medication for this condition.
- Temperature extremes sometimes trigger nausea or vomiting. Find an area in your home or office where you can control the temperature to suit your comfort. It may mean using a fan or an electric blanket.
- Maintain good oral hygiene. Poor nutrition and vomiting can cause bleeding gums and tooth decay. If toothpaste triggers nausea or vomiting, try plain water or water flavored with mint.
- Shampoo and bathe regularly to prevent odors that may be a trigger. Use unscented soaps, shampoos, and lotions. Have your family do the same.
- For some women, lying down may resolve a nausea attack. When getting up, rise slowly, in stages. Sit up on an elbow, then sit on the side of the bed before standing.
- Low lighting may also help.
- It is useless to eat healthy foods if you vomit them back up, so it usually comes down to eating what will stay down. The foods that will stay down will provide your calorie intake.
- Many of the cravings for certain foods are healthy. Fruit is full of natural vitamins and satisfies thirst. Milk products provide a number of vitamins and minerals such as calcium.
- Cravings can be viewed as nature’s way of protecting the mother’s health for the sake of the baby. Sometimes cravings for a particular food can break the cycle of vomiting.
- Notify your healthcare provider if you crave something unusual such as dirt or metal.
- Pay attention to the nutritional chart that gives the calorie, vitamin, mineral and protein content of foods. This can help you make good choices in the foods you may be craving.
- Make a list of foods you can eat and classify them under sweet, salty, sour, spicy, crunchy, chewy, etc. Sometimes you may not know if it is the taste or the texture that will satisfy your craving.
- It may be necessary for you to prepare and eat your meals separately from other family members. This way, you are not triggered from what they may be eating.
- You should take your prenatal vitamin. If you cannot tolerate them, consult your provider.
- There are over-the-counter and prescription medications that your healthcare provider can recommend in cases of extreme nausea and vomiting.
Even though many symptoms of morning sickness are common and even exptected, you should not hesitate to contact your provider if you are experiencing symptoms that you consider more severe, such as:
- You are unable to keep ANYTHING down, especially liquids.
- You vomit blood.
- You experience visual disturbances, dizziness, or fainting.
- You have little urination, or dark, concentrated urine.
- Your mouth is dry (no saliva).
- Your mental concentration is decreased.
- You feel extremely fatigued and have trouble getting enough air.