Morning sickness is a common symptom seen in most of the females during early pregnancy. Presence of increased levels of hCG in the blood is the most common cause of morning sickness. By taking appropriate precautions and calling the health care provider whenever required you can manage the symptoms of morning sickness effectively.
Morning sickness includes the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. These are the first signs, which usually begin during the 6th week of pregnancy and continue till the 12th week.
Mild to moderate symptoms of morning sickness does not affect the baby; however, too much vomiting can lead to a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum can be harmful to both the mother and the baby as the nausea and vomiting are accompanied by electrolyte imbalance and shortage of nutrients.
What causes morning sickness?
The exact cause of morning sickness during pregnancy is not known. A combination of various physical changes is found to be the culprit. A few of these physical changes may include:
- Increasing levels of hCG: There is a quick increase in the levels of hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin hormone during early pregnancy. How hCG causes morning sickness is not known but it is thought to be a cause for morning sickness.
- Stress: Morning sickness during pregnancy can occur as an abnormal response to stress.
- Upset stomach: Studies propose that women who suffer from H. pylori infection during pregnancy are more prone to develop early morning nausea and vomiting.
- Rising oestrogen levels: A rise in the level of oestrogen can also cause morning sickness.
- An increased sense of smell and sensitivity to odours: Some smells can trigger a gag reflex which can lead to vomiting or nausea.
Women with multiple pregnancies or twins are at an increased risk to develop morning sickness. Other risk factors may include:
- A history of morning sickness in previous pregnancies
- A history of motion sickness
- Side-effects of birth control pills
- Genetic predisposition to nausea during pregnancy
- A history of migraine
Management of Morning Sickness
- Eat small, frequent meals or snacks throughout the day.
- Avoid lying down immediately after eating, especially on the left side, as it can slow digestion.
- Get up slowly in the morning. Sitting for some time after waking and then standing can prevent nausea and vomiting.
- Eat cold food as hot food has strong fragrance and can initiate the gag reflex.
- Avoid fatty food as it is not only difficult to digest but also worsens nausea.
- Avoid smell of strong perfume, sudden light flashes or certain visual stimuli.
- Take ginger as it relieves nausea and vomiting. You can take it in the form of tea.
- Try an acupressure band. It is a soft cotton wristband easily available at medical stores.
- Try acupuncture therapy.
- Try aroma therapy.
- Avoid going out in hot or humid climate as it triggers morning sickness.
Morning sickness during pregnancy can last from a few weeks to few months. It varies in different females. A woman should always consult a health care provider if nausea or vomiting does not subside after the first trimester or the symptoms become severe.
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