Morning sickness or nausea is one of the most complained about symptoms that women report during pregnancy. More than 50% of pregnant women experience nausea at some point of time during their early pregnancy. So, the question is when to expect nausea during pregnancy. Nausea during pregnancy usually starts around 6 weeks, but in some cases, it may begin as early as 4 weeks. It takes almost 14 weeks to feel complete relief.However, in some cases,it may take few more weeks or even come and go throughout the pregnancy. Even mild nausea and vomiting can leave you exhausted. The intensity of symptoms varies from woman to woman.Let us discuss some of the possible causes of nausea during pregnancy and some of the effective ways to deal with it.
Causes of Nausea during Pregnancy
The actual cause of morning sickness during pregnancy or nausea is unknown. However, the most probable cause is the combination of some physical changes that take place in your body when you are pregnant.
- Human Chronic Gonadotropin Hormone (HCG): Commonly referred to as the pregnancy hormone, it rises rapidly during the early pregnancy. How the hormone is responsible for nausea is unknown. But, both tends to peak around the same time.
- Estrogen: Estrogen is also one of those hormones that rise quite rapidly during early pregnancy.
- Sensitivity to Certain Odors: It is quite common for expectant mothers to have an enhanced sense of smell and sensitivity to certain aromas and odor.
- A Sensitive Stomach: The gastrointestinal tracts are more sensitive to the changes of early pregnancy in some women. Experts say that women with stomach bacterium called Heliobacter Pylori are more likely to experience vomiting and nausea.
- Stress: Stress or fatigue can also be one of the reasons leading to nausea.
Tips for Treating Nausea during Pregnancy
- Small and Frequent Meals:Never leave your stomach empty. Morning sickness tends to strike when you are empty. Try to have small, frequent snacks and meals (six to eight) rather than three large ones. Opt for protein-rich foods and carbohydrates. Do not rush when you are eating something. Whatever you eat, make sure that you eat slowly.
- Avoid Lying Down Immediately after Eating: Do not lie down immediately after eating something, especially on your left. This may cause slow digestion.
- Eat Early:Make the habit of snacking on crackers or cold cereal when you wake up in the morning. It is also a good idea to nibble some trail mix when you wake up in the middle of the night. Also, get up slowly in the morning. Rather than jumping right up the bed, try to sit on the bed for a few minutes.
- Eat Something Right Before Bed: The reason is same as the above. Eating a light snack before going to bed is quite helpful in ensuring a happier stomach when you wake up in the morning. You can have a banana muffin and a glass of milk or some dried apricots.
- Keep an Eye on your Drinking Schedule: Try to drink less fluids/water with your meals, instead drink them mostly between the meals. If you have been vomiting more often, try to drink fluids that contain glucose, salt, or potassium. This will certainly help in replacing the lost electrolytes.
- Avoid Foods and Smells that Trigger your Nausea: Avoid eating foods that trigger your nausea. Foods with a strong aroma and spicy, acidic and fatty foods may accentuate the queasiness. Moreover, these kinds of foods also are hard to digest. You can eat foods that appeal to you the most, even if they do not add to a balanced diet. Make a habit of brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth after eating.
- Try Ginger: Ginger is one of the best alternative options to settle the stomach and help eliminating the queasiness. Stock up your room with ginger snaps, ginger tea, ginger biscuits, ginger candies, real ginger ale, crystallized ginger or ginger drinks. Even the smell of fresh ginger can help you to manage nausea during pregnancy.
- Opt for Lemon: Lemon is one of the most sought after options to take care of morning sickness in pregnant women. You can make lemonade, suck a sour candy, or sniff a fresh lemon to ease the feeling of queasiness and prevent nausea.
- Acupuncture and Aromatherapy: You can consider going to an experienced acupuncturist who can treat nausea during pregnancy. Some women find the smell of certain scents like lemon, orange, mint, rosemary etc. comforting. You can use these essential oils in a diffuser or simply put two drops of oil on your hanky so that you can smell when you feel like.
Severe nausea during pregnancy and prolonged vomiting can expose a greater risk to your baby’s well-being and may result in preterm birth, low birth weight etc. if you cannot eat a balanced diet due to vomiting, ensure that you are taking a prenatal vitamin so that you can get enough nutrients. However, if you continue to experience nausea after 12 weeks of your pregnancy, it may be suggestive of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. The usual symptoms are severe morning sickness, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte balance. It is advisable to consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. In such cases, doctors treat the patients with dietary measures, IV fluids, and certain medications.