WHAT IS MORNING SICKNESS AND HOW CAN YOU HELP IT?
You may be feeling a little queasy if you’re in the early stages of pregnancy, in fact it might be the first sign that you’re pregnant! Morning Sickness is super common, with about 50% of women experiencing it. In most instances the symptoms will subside within the first 3 months, but sometimes it can hang around.
So let’s talk about pregnancy sickness and find out what’s normal and what you can do to alleviate the nausea. In typical Planet Mama style, let’s start with busting some myths:
MYTH: Morning sickness happens in the morning.
REALITY: Unfortunately this is not the case… annoyingly it hangs around and can happen at any time of day or night. You might be nauseous, full on sick or maybe you just salivate.
MYTH: You need to eat something healthy, no matter how you feel.
REALITY: In an ideal world you’d have a healthy balanced diet, however this doesn’t always go to plan…in fact quite often only a beige spread will do! So don’t worry if you can’t meet your kale quota during this time.. survival is key!
MYTH: Morning sickness can be dangerous for the baby
REALITY: Do not worry! In fact morning sickness has been associated with healthy babies at birth. It’s not known what causes the nausea but there are various explanations. They include:
- Changing hormone levels
- Lack of vitamin B6
- Your body protecting the baby from things like caffeine or petrol fumes – these triggers will probably make you feel sick!
Whatever the cause is, a normal level of morning sickness is not doing the baby any harm. However the worry comes with serious nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, called hyperemesis gravidarum.
MYTH: Morning sickness is normal and nothing to worry about.
REALITY: In most instances, morning sickness is normal and not doing you or your baby any harm. However about 0.3% to 1% of pregnant women suffer with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is a serious form of morning sickness. Kate Middleton suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum during her pregnancies and really helped to highlight how bad it can be! The symptoms are severe and can make it impossible to drink anything, and continuous vomiting can lead to dehydration and weight loss. If your symptoms are so bad that you can’t drink at all, you should contact your doctor or midwife as soon as possible.
You should also speak to a doctor immediately if you:
- Have very dark-coloured urine or do not wee for more than eight hours
- Are unable to keep food or fluids down for 24 hours
- Feel severely weak, dizzy or faint when standing up
- Have stomach pain
- Have a temperature of 38°C or above
- Vomit blood.
TOP TIPS FOR DEALING WITH MORNING SICKNESS
1) Get plenty of rest
Gosh, try and sleep when you can! Napping during the day may help too, but try not to nap after eating as this can actually make nausea worse.
2) Eat with care
HOLD THE SPICE: Watch out for fatty and spicy foods as they can increase the chances of triggering stomach acid. Bland beige foods may be less aggravating and easier for you to keep down.
LITTLE AND OFTEN: Small portion sizes can help reduce the chance of vomiting but still keeping something in the stomach. Having an empty stomach can worsen the feelings of nausea as stomach acid builds up. One great tip is to have some salty crackers, oatcakes or a protein snack before getting out of bed in the morning.
KEEP IT COLD: Eating food cold to reduce the smells experienced when eating.
FOOD THAT HELPS: At breakfast time, cold apple sauce, pears, bananas or any citrus fruit will help you feel satisfied early. The fruit’s potassium may help prevent morning sickness. Carbohydrates can help. Baked potatoes, rice and dry toast are often suitable options. Eating a high-protein snack before going to bed will help regulate your blood-glucose levels during the night.
3) Keep physically and mentally active
Being physically active has been found to improve symptoms in women who experience nausea during pregnancy.
Keeping busy can help take your mind off the feelings of nausea. Reading a book, doing puzzles, a good Netflix series, a yoga or fitness class or going for short walks around the block will help to keep you preoccupied.
4) Keep your fluid levels up
It is important to stay hydrated, especially during pregnancy. It may be hard to consume eight glasses of water a day while experiencing nausea, but dehydration can aggravate symptoms.
Adding apple cider vinegar, lemon and honey or fresh mint and cucumber to water may make it more palatable and you can try and pretend you’re drinking something more fun..! Sucking ice cubes made from water or fruit juice is also an effective method.
5) Ginger and peppermint teas
Ginger has long been used to aid digestion and reduce abdominal discomfort. Studies show that it may also help relieve the symptoms of nausea. Other options are to sip cold ginger ale, kombucha or add a slice of raw ginger to water or tea. Snacks such as gingerbread, or ginger cookies may also help. Peppermint tea may also help settle the stomach.
6) Wear loose and comfortable clothing
Restrictive or tight clothing may worsen the symptoms of nausea. Women who experience nausea during pregnancy have fewer symptoms of nausea when they wear loose-fitting clothes.
7) Vitamins and supplements
Supplements should only be used under a doctor’s supervision. If you are taking vitamins, it may be best to take them before bed and with a snack. Vitamin B6 may help reduce nausea.
Iron supplements that are prescribed during pregnancy can sometimes lead to nausea. A doctor may recommend a slower-release form or a lower dosage. Take iron supplements with orange juice or another drink with Vitamin C to increase absorption.
8) Avoid computer monitor flicker
A computer monitor flickers rapidly and almost unnoticeably. This may contribute to morning sickness. If it is not possible to avoid using a computer monitor, it may help to get some blue light glasses or adjust the screen by making the fonts bold and larger and changing the background to a soft tan or pink color, which will help reduce eye strain.
9) Avoid triggers
Morning sickness is linked to an increased sensitivity to smell. Some strong smells can worsen the symptoms, but scents such as lemon extract and rosemary may help. It will be different or everyone, but you’ll soon find out which smells trigger nausea – then you can avoid these as far as possible!
10) Help for acid reflux
Sometimes, nausea and vomiting may be due to acid reflux. A doctor may be able to recommend antacid medication to take before going to bed to reduce stomach acid levels, and the subsequent morning vomiting. Always check with a doctor before taking any medication during pregnancy.
Alternative therapies such as acupressure may help. Applying pressure on specific points on the body may help control symptoms, especially on both forearms, three finger widths below the wrist crease. Wearing motion-sickness bands such as sea bands on each forearm can help.
Do you have any morning sickness tips that work for you? From the weird to the wonderful, please let us know. Just try to remember that ALL THINGS SHALL PASS – this won’t last forever, we promise! If you want more help or advice on your journey, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.