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Definition of Morning Sickness and Symptoms
The nausea and vomiting that may occur during pregnancy, notably in the first trimester though it may continue through the second trimester and occasionally for the duration of the pregnancy.
The term morning sickness is a misnomer as the nausea may occur at any time, day or night. However, many women do experience the nausea of pregnancy primarily in the morning when they first awaken. Many women find certain odors, tastes, or even appearances of food act as triggers for morning sickness.
Though doctors do not know for certain what causes morning sickness, they believe it is a reaction to the multitude of hormonal changes rapidly taking place in the woman’s body as the pregnancy establishes itself.
The onset of morning sickness, typically at about six weeks into the pregnancy, correlates with the surge of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) that emerges from the newly formed placenta. Morning sickness, though disruptive, is not harmful for the pregnancy unless it prevents the woman from drinking enough water to remain hydrated.
Most weight gain in pregnancy occurs in the second and early part of the third trimesters, and most women are able to eat enough to remain well nourished.
Cures for Morning Sickness
Nonpharmaceutical remedies for morning sickness include
- Gingerroot shavings or tea
- Flat ginger ale (made with real ginger)
- Cola syrup (available in drugstores) or flat cola soda
- Soda crackers (such as saltines)
- Not mixing solids and liquids
- Small meals eaten frequently throughout the waking hours, and small snacks when awake during the night, so there is always something in the stomach
- Acupuncture or acupressure (including motion sickness wristbands that apply pressure to acupuncture points for nausea)
If these efforts are unsuccessful and morning sickness interferes with normal eating and drinking, the doctor may recommend or prescribe antiemetic medications that are safe to take during pregnancy.
Some women experience relief with vitamin B6 supplement, though doctors are unsure why this is. Because some medications may be harmful to, or have unknown effects on, the developing fetus, it is important to talk with the doctor before taking any medication or herbal remedy.
The doctor may consider intravenous fluids and nutrition for women who experience severe, extended morning sickness (called hyperemesis gravidarum), though the need for such intervention is uncommon. Morning sickness is more common in women who have a history of migraine headache, motion sickness, or morning sickness in previous pregnancies.
Morning sickness is also more common in women who are pregnant with multiples (twins or higher).
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