Morning Sickness Survival: Tips for Coping with Morning Sickness
Suffering from morning sickness? If it's any comfort, you're not alone. Approximately 70-80% of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness (nausea, vomiting, digestive upset, fatigue or heightened sensitivity to smells.) In fact, morning sickness or a feeling of queasiness is the first symptom for many women.
While unpleasant, morning sickness is a normal part of pregnancy, and can indicate a healthy baby . Unfortunately, there is no cure for morning sickness, but there are a few natural remedies that can help with the symptoms. Additionally, finding and avoiding things that increase your feelings of sickness (such as exercise, certain foods or smells, or staying up late) can help you get back on track.
HOW DO I KNOW IT IS MORNING SICKNESS AND NOT SOMETHING ELSE?
Morning sickness commonly refers to the feelings of nausea, vomiting and fatigue during the first trimester of pregnancy. Most women experience symptoms that are worst in the morning and improve throughout the day, but some women may experience nausea at other times or (unfortunately) all day long. If your symptoms don't fit the typical pattern or morning sickness, it can be difficult to tell if what you're experiencing is morning sickness or a stomach bug.
The most common symptom of morning sickness is, predictably, nausea or vomiting. Approximately 74% of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting. The timing, severity, and duration of nausea can vary widely from person to person and from pregnancy to pregnancy, although having experienced morning sickness in a previous pregnancy makes it more likely that you'll experience it again.
Despite the name, nausea and vomiting are not necessarily constrained to the morning. Nausea may come in waves throughout the day and night and may not happen every day. For some, nausea will be accompanied by vomiting, while others may feel nauseous but never vomit. An increased sensitivity to certain smells may cause you to feel nauseous or even cause dry heaving or vomiting, so identifying and avoiding such smells is important. Certain behaviors, like exercise, riding in a moving vehicle, or staying up too late can increase feelings of nausea as well.
While you may not feel your very best, morning sickness should not interfere with your day to day activities. If your symptoms of morning sickness do start to interfere with daily life, then you should contact your doctor – this may be a sign of hyperemesis gravidarum, a serious pregnancy complication. If you find yourself unable to keep anything down (including fluids) for more than 12 hours, are experiencing symptoms of dehydration, or if there is blood in your vomit, contact your doctor immediately. However, hyperemesis gravidarium is fairly rare (fewer than 3% of pregnant women experience it), and is usually treatable with intravenous fluids and bed rest.
WHAT IF I AM NOT EXPERIENCING MORNING SICKNESS?
No two pregnancies are alike, so if you are not experiencing any symptoms of morning sickness or nausea there is no reason to worry – even if you had morning sickness during a previous pregnancy. While the exact cause of morning sickness is unknown, the most popular theory is that the body is reacting to a sudden increase with the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which spikes during the first 4-16 weeks of pregnancy. Hormone levels (and symptoms) can vary between women and between pregnancies, so if you're not experiencing symptoms, consider yourself lucky! Some women's bodies simply tolerate pregnancy, and the rapid increases in hCG, more easily than others.
WHEN DOES MORNING SICKNESS BEGIN AND END?
For most, the symptoms of morning sickness tend to begin around the fourth week of pregnancy and can be one of the first signs that a woman is pregnant.
Symptoms typically begin to subside around the fourteenth week of pregnancy. For some women, morning sickness symptoms will persist for another month or so, into the 18th week of pregnancy. An unlucky few may experience nausea and vomiting throughout the entire pregnancy, although thankfully this is very uncommon.
WHAT CAUSES MORNING SICKNESS?
The exact cause of morning sickness is not yet known, although there is some evidence that it may be caused by a reaction in the woman's body to the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is produced at higher levels during the first trimester of pregnancy. Studies have also found that magnesium and vitamin deficiencies can contribute to morning sickness.
Studies have also found that pregnant women whose mothers had experienced morning sickness were three times more likely to experience it themselves.
New research also suggests that low magnesium levels can also be a contributing factor. A magnesium deficiency can cause nausea and vomiting. Magnesium is also needed to balance cortisol levels, which when unbalanced can lead to low blood sugar. Low blood sugar, in turn, can make you feel bad overall and can also cause headaches, light-headedness, drowsiness and shaking in the arms and legs.
WILL MORNING SICKNESS HARM MY BABY?
Although it can be a worrisome condition to handle, moms can rest assured that morning sickness will not cause harm to an unborn baby – as long as mom can stay hydrated. Pregnant women should try to drink at least eight glasses of water or other liquids each day. If still water isn't tolerable due to nausea then you may try other types of liquids such as electrolyte-rich sports drinks, carbonated water, or ginger ale. The acidity and high sugar content of soda or fruit juice can increase feelings of nausea for some, so try to stick to clear liquids whenever possible.
MORNING SICKNESS REMEDIES
As we mentioned earlier, there's no cure for morning sickness – but you can take steps to reduce your symptoms safely and naturally.
Your baby needs a lot of nutrients to grow, which can mean vitamin deficiencies for mom. Vitamin and magnesium deficiency can be one of the primary causes of morning sickness nausea, which is why UpSpring's specially-formulated Morning SickLESS Complete Nausea Relief Kit contains micronized magnesium and vitamin B6, which will help address the underlying cause of morning sickness as well as help to prevent the symptoms. Micronized magnesium is much more easily absorbed by your body, while plenty of vitamin B6 helps keep you energized and nausea-free.
The anti-nausea properties of lemon and ginger are well-established among midwives and researchers alike. Formulated with a micronized blend of ginger, lemon, spearmint, and B6, UpSpring's Morning SickLESS Nausea Relief Drops provide nausea relief within minutes. They're all-natural, gluten-free, non-GMO, and completely drug-free, which means that you can get instant relief without having to worry about what you're putting into your body – or that of your baby.
Another effective way to reduce your feelings of morning sickness is to identify behaviors and environmental stimuli that contribute to your nausea and remove them.
Ensure that you're getting enough sleep, and try to keep your sleep patterns regular – your body is diverting a lot of energy to your baby, so make sure that you keep yourself fully charged. Getting enough sleep can be difficult for some moms, especially those that are awoken by nausea. The tried-and-true method of keeping some simple, bland snacks (such as saltine crackers) handy and eating a few before bed and upon waking can help reduce nighttime nausea – just try not to get crumbs in the sheets.
Staying hydrated is especially important when you're losing fluids to vomiting. Clear water, supplemented occasionally by electrolyte supplements or sports drinks, is best for staying hydrated. Avoid drinking large amounts of acidic liquids such as soda or citrus juice – these can increase feelings of nausea (and may burn unpleasantly should they come back up). Try to keep track of your liquid intake (8 glasses of water a day is ideal), and notify your doctor if you're unable to keep enough liquids down to stay hydrated.
Small, regular meals
For some women, symptoms of nausea are worse on an empty stomach. It can be helpful to eat small, bland meals throughout the day (avoid spicy, fatty, or acidic foods if these seem to increase your symptoms).
For some women, the aftertaste and burn after vomiting can contribute even further to feelings of nausea, so keeping a toothbrush and mouthwash handy can keep you and your breath feeling clean and fresh. This will also have the added benefit of reducing the acidity of your mouth, which can irritate the soft tissue of your mouth and erode your teeth if left alone. Spearmint can also help reduce feelings of nausea, so a pack of gum may help in a pinch.
MOVING BEYOND MORNING SICKNESS
While pregnancy is a beautiful thing, morning sickness is not. We here at UpSpring would like to congratulate you on your pregnancy, and we hope that the info above helps you avoid feeling sick. We've formulated our Nausea Relief Kit and our Nausea Relief Drops to help you treat your morning symptoms safely, naturally, and quickly so that you can focus on what really matters – you are about to start the most amazing (and challenging) job in the world. You are going to be a mother. And I think we can agree that, no matter how many times you wake up running to the bathroom, it's totally worth it.