You’re pregnant! Congratulations! But you’ve been knocked sideways with nausea, possibly even vomiting. There’s nothing quite like morning sickness to spoil your pleasure at discovering you are pregnant. What causes morning sickness and what are the safest remedies?
The initial euphoria you experience when you discover you are pregnant may soon fade when you wake up in the morning so nauseous that you’re unable to move. And it’s of no comfort whatsoever to know that 90 percent of all pregnant women feel as ropey as you do. We did a little research into what causes morning sickness and uncovered some safe, healthy answers to stabilise your rocky stomach.
What causes morning sickness?
Let’s face it. Most people, generally those who aren’t experiencing it, regard morning sickness as a bit of a giggle. But the nausea and vomiting often suffered during early pregnancy can seriously affect the mother’s quality of life. So take it seriously.
Doctors still aren’t sure exactly what causes morning sickness, says Dr Jennifer Niebyl, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine. ‘But the most popular theory,’ she says, ‘is that morning sickness is the body’s reaction to the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) which is produced at higher levels during the first trimester than at any other time during pregnancy.’ It seems that the only solid information researchers have is that morning sickness can hit you at any time of day, not only in the morning, and that some unlucky women experience it far beyond the first three months. Poor things… And some really unlucky sufferers experience symptoms so severe that they become dehydrated and lose weight. Luckily, just one percent of pregnant women experience such discomfort. The chances are you are not one of them.
According to Christian Nordqvist, writing for Medical News Today, most obstetricians at the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) agree that hormonal changes in pregnancy are an important contributor to morning sickness. Oestrogen levels climb, sometimes as much as 100 times higher than in non-pregnant women. Progesterone levels also rise – these ‘relax the uterus muscles to prevent early childbirth’. However, say NHS researchers, progesterone ‘may also relax the stomach and intestines, resulting in excess stomach acids and acid reflux.’ An increased sensitivity to odours may also trigger nausea. There is even a theory that morning sickness may be an evolutionary adaptation to protect pregnant mothers and their babies from food poisoning, protecting the foetus against toxins ingested by the mother.
Symptoms of morning sickness
Morning sickness generally includes nausea with or without vomiting, and changes in food preferences. However, if you experience the following symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately:
- Severe nausea or vomiting;
- You can’t keep liquids down;
- You can’t pass much urine and your urine is very dark;
- You feel dizzy when you stand up, or faint easily;
- Your heart races; or
- Your vomit contains traces of blood.
Treating your turbulent tummy.
There’s generally no need to go to the doctor with morning sickness, but there are some treatment options for expectant moms.
- Get plenty of rest. Tiredness can really make you feel worse, and let’s face it, resting now is not an unwelcome idea.
- Drink lots of fluids. Water, ice blocks, lollies made of fruit juice.
- Eat small meals throughout the day rather than at traditional mealtimes. Choose simple, carbohydrate-rich foods when you’re nauseous. Crackers or crispbread, for example, are usually better tolerated than sweet or spicy foods. If your symptoms are worst in the morning, try eating a few plain crackers about 20 minutes before getting up. Don’t, whatever you do, let yourself become hungry. An empty stomach will definitely start to lurch.
- Take ginger. This centuries-old remedy for nausea of all types can really help morning sickness. Try it fresh or in capsule form – Flora Force ginger capsules are excellent, read more here.
Acknowledgements & Photo credits
Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.
- Morning sickness: Causes, concerns, treatments. www.babycenter.com/morning-sickness
- Nordqvist, C. What is morning sickness? What causes morning sickness? Medical News Today. September 2014. www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/179633.php
- WebMD. Doing Battle with Morning Sickness. www.webmd.com/baby/features/battle-morning-sickness
- Pregnant / morning sickness photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay.net