Everything you need to know about morning sickness

Morning sickness can be debilitating for some women. Learn all about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available to help you manage this condition.

Morning sickness is the name for feelings of nausea and vomiting that happen during your pregnancy. Despite its name, symptoms can arise at all times of the day, although it will generally feel the worst in the morning. 

Morning sickness typically occurs during your first trimester, beginning around your 6th week of pregnancy (it can be one of the earliest signs that you’re pregnant). It’s believed that changing hormones at the start of your pregnancy are what cause these feelings of nausea and sickness. Most of the time, symptoms will either improve or completely clear up once you reach weeks 16 to 20. 

What are some remedies for morning sickness?

There are no scientifically-proven treatments guaranteed to cure your morning sickness. However, there are several tricks and easily-implementable lifestyle changes that can help reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. 

What can I do to help with morning sickness? 

Keep a morning sickness record

By noting when your nausea happens, you can better determine if there are any specific foods or smells that act as triggers.

Make sure you get plenty of rest

Over-tiredness can make nausea worse, so it’s important to prioritise your sleep. Try and aim for at least 8 hours each night. 

Eat a small snack before you get up in the morning 

Nausea is most likely to occur when your stomach is empty as the acids inside your stomach have nothing to digest but your stomach lining, which can result in feelings of queasiness. Before getting up, have a small piece of dry toast or a plain biscuit. 

Eat small but frequent meals throughout the day

Many refer to the ‘6 meal solution’ as a great hack. This is where you eat 6 smaller, more frequent meals, instead of 3 larger ones. This means that your stomach is empty less frequently and also helps prevent overeating, both of which can cause nausea.

Focus on eating plain foods

You should aim to eat foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fat (e.g. bread, rice, crackers, and pasta). Avoid spicy foods and high-sugar foods, as well as processed foods which are typically harder to digest.

Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids

You should be aiming to drink around 6 to 8 cups of non-caffeinated fluids per day. Take small but consistent sips. 

Incorporate ginger into your diet

Many people recommend ginger as a great stomach soother. Try adding a small slice of ginger to a glass of hot water, test out some ginger teas, drink some ginger ale or take ginger supplements.  

Try acupressure wristbands

It’s believed that acupressure wristbands help reduce feelings of nausea. They work by applying light pressure to a spot located inside the wrist, thought to be related to nausea and vomiting. 

Look after yourself

Bouts of morning sickness can often leave you feeling worn out and unsanitary. This can be incredibly difficult to deal with, especially if you’re out in public. Keeping a morning sickness ‘kit’ with you can help you deal with symptoms and feel refreshed. This could include a toothbrush, mints, or water. 

Should I be worried about morning sickness? 

Morning sickness is extremely common, with estimations that around 8 in 10 pregnant women experience some degree of morning sickness during their first trimester. Most women will only experience mild nausea and vomiting throughout the early stages of pregnancy. This is unlikely to cause any complications to you and your baby. 

However, around 1 to 3 in every 100 women may experience hyperemesis gravidarum. This is a condition that can result in a more severe form of pregnancy sickness and vomiting. 

The typical signs of hyperemesis gravidarum include: 

  • Vomiting more than 3 to 4 times a day
  • Feeling extremely dizzy, lightheaded, or faint when standing up
  • Severe dehydration
  • Vomiting blood
  • Losing more than 5% of your pre-pregnancy body weight

Hyperemesis gravidarum can be extremely serious as your body doesn’t receive enough fluids or nutrients. If you’re vomiting and experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s important to contact your GP or midwife who can monitor your condition and administer specialist treatment. This may include a short-term course of anti-sickness medicine called antiemetic. 

Final thoughts from Kami

Morning sickness can be incredibly exhausting, affecting both your mental and physical wellbeing, with its symptoms making daily life that much harder. It’s completely normal to find this period difficult - trying to navigate the start of your pregnancy during a time where you might be feeling significantly weaker is no easy matter. It’s important to speak about your feelings with your partner, friends, family, midwife, or GP and reach out for medical help if you believe your symptoms are worsening.

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