Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, but that doesn’t mean all aspects are enjoyable. One of the most infamous symptoms: morning sickness. Thankfully, this pregnancy side effect typically doesn’t last too long. Read on to learn more about pregnancy morning sickness, its causes, which symptoms to look out for, and remedies for easing your nausea when it hits.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness refers to the nausea and vomiting that can happen when you’re pregnant, typically in the first trimester. Though “morning” is in the name and can be a sign of pregnancy, nausea can hit at any time of the day. Morning sickness is a bit different for every expecting mother. Some experience mild cases of nausea over their whole pregnancy while others might have more aggressive nausea for a short amount of time. It all depends on the parent and how their body is adjusting to pregnancy.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
The cause of morning sickness is not fully known, but some specialists believe low blood sugar and increases in pregnancy hormones such as hCG, estrogen, and progesterone might be the ones to blame. Heartburn and gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) are also more common during pregnancy, which may increase levels of nausea. The stress on your body can also put a strain on your morning sickness as you adjust to the physical and mental changes taking place, which is especially true for those going through pregnancy for the first time. It might also just simply be genetic.
Some weird pregnancy side effects like a metallic taste in your mouth, increased saliva production, and an increased sense of smell can also trigger morning sickness as they are new sensations that may cause queasiness.
Morning Sickness Symptoms
The main symptoms of morning sickness are nausea and vomiting. You might feel the sensations of seasickness or car sickness, with some of them being especially strong in the mornings. Nausea can be triggered by smells, thoughts, or even things you see – sometimes there is no trigger at all. When experiencing pregnancy morning sickness, it is especially important to drink water due to dehydration. If you are having severe dehydration symptoms, have trouble keeping liquids down, or notice you are light-headed or have darker urine, speak with your doctor about solutions to keep you hydrated.
Symptoms typically start in the first trimester, between week 6 and week 9. Many expecting mothers report that morning sickness symptoms subside around the beginning of the second trimester between weeks 12 and week 16, with the worst of the symptoms kicking in around week 10. Though it is rare, some women experience morning sickness throughout their pregnancy.
Morning Sickness Remedies
Avoid Offensive Smells
Thanks to your more sensitive sense of smell, some scents may be suddenly offensive or even sickening. So stay away from smells that trigger nausea, whether it’s the curry from your favorite takeout place or your formerly favorite perfume. Open the windows when you cook, leave any place that smells so strong it’s making you ill, and wash your clothes more often with a lightly-scented (or unscented) detergent to get rid of smells that stick.
Stick to Foods You Can Stomach
Avoid eating, seeing, smelling, or even thinking about any dishes that trigger the queasiness. Spicy and acidic foods may be particularly challenging, as well as anything with a strong aroma. Chances are you’ll be able to find a few healthy foods that you can keep down until you can keep down a broader diet. Tastes can change quickly during this time, so be prepared to switch up your diet periodically.
Brush Your Teeth
Regular brushing helps keep your mouth fresh and reduces queasiness in the future. It also decreases the risk of damage to teeth from vomiting. Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after each meal and after bouts of vomiting once your stomach has settled a bit. If your usual toothpaste contributes to nausea, as toothpaste is a common trigger, ask your dentist to recommend another option or a good rinse.
Rest and De-Stress
Destressing can help minimize queasiness. Try classic stress-reduction techniques, like meditation and visualization or prenatal yoga. And try to hit the sack for as many hours as you can clock every night and take it easy in the morning – relax in bed for a few extra minutes and nibble on a bedside snack before taking a long, warm shower. Taking that extra time to slow down and not rush will start off your day on a hopefully less nauseating note.
Take a Supplement
Take your prenatal vitamin to compensate for any nutrients you may not be getting, as well as decrease nausea symptoms – especially if you take a slow-release vitamin that’s higher in vitamin B6 that helps reduce queasiness. Ask your practitioner about switching your prenatal vitamin for one with more B6 and less (or no) iron, which can be particularly tough on a sensitive stomach. If your current pill makes you nauseous, try taking it with a meal.
Wear Nausea Wristbands
These 1-inch-wide bands put pressure on an acupressure point in the inner wrist. They’re widely available at drug and health food stores and have been shown to safely lessen pregnancy nausea without having to take medications or supplements. Your practitioner may also recommend a battery-operated wristband that uses gentle electrical stimulation to help decrease morning sickness symptoms.
Ask About Morning Sickness Medication
If your morning sickness is severe, you may want to talk to your doctor about taking a prescription drug that’s been approved by the FDA to treat nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Your doctor may sometimes prescribe an anti-nausea medication to help reduce your morning sickness symptoms. Don’t take any traditional or herbal medication for morning sickness unless it’s prescribed by your practitioner.
Morning sickness during pregnancy is an unfortunate but common side effect of pregnancy. Luckily, it typically doesn’t last the whole pregnancy and can be remedied with simple approaches. Speaking with your doctor about the remedies best for you can help you manage your morning sickness, especially if you have feeling stronger-than-usual or severe symptoms.