A Guide to Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

By November 15, 2017Obstetrics

Throughout your pregnancy your body will go through a number of rapid changes, and you will experience many symptoms you might not have experienced before. Morning sickness is one of the most common of these, and it is one of the typical early signs of pregnancy. Around 9 in 10 women say they experience nausea at some point during their pregnancy. So if it is something you are going through, you are not alone!
Morning Sickness

Here is a helpful guide to some of the common queries we hear about morning sickness, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy is most common during the first trimester, and often subsides after around 13 weeks, but it can continue for longer. Although it is not fully understood, why it occurs, it is thought to be linked to the production of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone, which the body starts to produce after the fertilised egg attaches to the uterine lining. It is also linked with estrogen production.

To help you understand it a little better, let’s take a look at some common questions that often crop up about morning sickness.

Why Is It Called Morning Sickness?

A common misconception is that nausea during pregnancy only occurs in the morning. And for many women, it is worse when they wake up, and subsides during over the course of the day. However, nausea or sickness can occur at any time of the day and at varying degrees of severity. Sometimes it can last all day.

When Can I Expect To Have Morning Sickness?

Nausea typically starts within four to eight weeks after fertilisation, with the 6 week point being the most common. It usually lasts for around 6 weeks and begins to subside around the 13 week mark. Remember, no two pregnancies are the same so this can vary.
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What Are Some Ways I Can Manage Nausea During Pregnancy

How you manage your morning sickness will depend on your circumstances. For mild morning sickness there are a number of home remedies you may want to consider. It is important to find what works best for you. For more severe symptoms, you might want to talk to your gynaecologist or doctor for treatment. There are medications available specifically for managing nausea.

Home remedies are about doing all you can not to upset your stomach. Some popular ones include:

• Eating smaller more frequent meals

• Avoiding foods that might upset your stomach (like spicy, creamy or very rich foods)

• Not drinking too much during meals, but rather in-between

• Keeping small snacks like crackers next to your bed, and munching on a few few you get up

• Not getting up too quickly, but rather, taking 20 minutes or so to rest and let your stomach settle

• Avoid any smells or foods that might trigger your nausea

• Eating foods at room temperature to avoid the aromas of hot food

• Keeping rooms well-ventilated and having fans or air conditioning handy to keep you cool and comfortable. Get plenty of fresh air

• Sucking on hard candy

• Drinking lemon and ginger drinks

• Being careful about what supplements you are taking, as some can upset your stomach

• Considering taking a vitamin B-6 supplement, which has proven to help reduce nausea and vomiting

• Rest and relax as much as possible. If you like to meditate, this can help.

Aromatherapy, and acupuncture have no benefit beyond a small placebo effect. Consider that if Medicare will not fund a particular mode of treatment, it may be ineffective (Reiki, Acupressure, Bowen Therapy etc), and at worst potentially dangerous (Chiropractic neck manipulation).

What If I Don’t Experience Morning Sickness

Not all women experience morning sickness, and many with normal pregnancies have no nausea during their first trimester and beyond. This shouldn’t be a cause for concern. If fact, count yourself lucky!

Will Morning Sickness Affect My Baby?

Morning sickness is very normal and won’t affect your baby. The only concern should be if you can’t keep your food down at all, as you and your baby need nutrients to stay healthy. If your morning sickness is severe and you’re having trouble keeping any food down, you can take a prenatal vitamin supplement to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need.

Even if this is the case, don’t worry too much. After your morning sickness subsides your appetite should return and your eating habits will return to normal.

Is Morning Sickness The Same For All Pregnancies?

Morning sickness may be worse for you if are pregnant with twins or more due to a greater amount of hormones present in your body. It may also be worse if you are prone to nausea, motion sickness, sensitivity to pills or supplements, migraines or headaches, or if you experienced nausea during previous pregnancies.

Is It Normal To Feel Nausea During My Entire Pregnancy?

Although uncommon, it is normal to suffer from nausea into your second, or even third trimester. This may be due to stress, as well as hormones. If you do experience it past your first trimester though, speak with your gynaecologist about options for keeping you healthy. Being sick all the time can be detrimental to your physical and mental health, and during your pregnancy, it is important to stay as well as you can.

What Is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

This is a (fortunately) very rare and extreme form of morning sickness. Unlike “ordinary” morning sickness, it can be dangerous for mothers and babies. A diagnosis of hyperemesis is only made after other causes of nausea and vomiting are excluded. It may require multiple medications, and sometimes hospital admissions for management. This serious condition can recur in your next pregnancy.

It is important to remember that nausea, vomiting and hyperemesis are not your fault. They are not mental illnesses-related, and no amount of wanting your baby or wishing them away will make them go away. If your nausea or vomiting is due to pregnancy, it will always get better when you have been delivered of your baby.

If you have any questions about your pregnancy, including morning sickness, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Dr Bevan Brown is one of the most trusted gynaecologist and obstetricians in Sydney. Personalised care and strong relationships with our patients is of utmost importance!