How did you find out you were pregnant? Was it after a harsh wave of nausea and a quick run to the bathroom that you decided you could be pregnant and didn’t have the flu? Did you feel like you had a severe hangover without the night out?
Yep, sounds like morning sickness!
Up to 80% of women experience some form of morning sickness during their pregnancy. It can range anywhere from nausea to certain smells, to inability to get out of bed.
Living through morning sickness is difficult, especially if you have a job to be at, or other children to take care of. There has to be some severe morning sickness remedies, right?
What is Morning Sickness?
Simply put, morning sickness is when a woman experiences nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It is usually one of the first signs to appear, as it can show up as early as two weeks after conception. Morning sickness usually lasts until around 16 weeks, but some women may experience it throughout their whole pregnancy.
Don’t be fooled by the name, morning sickness can and generally does happen at anytime throughout the day and night. I experienced it in the evenings with my daughter.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown, however, there are certain triggers that seem to be common between pregnant women.
Change of Hormones
Three hormones in a woman’s body are affected during pregnancy:
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)
Estrogen – Many women experience nausea as estrogen levels rise. There is some thought that if you are carrying a girl, you are more likely to experience morning sickness because estrogen levels in your body will be at an all time high. I can say that this was in fact true for me.
Progesterone – Commonly called the “pregnancy hormone”, Progesterone is necessary for egg implantation and maintaining pregnancy in a female’s body. The rise of this hormone in the body can cause nausea and inhibit digestion, therefore creating an overwhelming sick feeling.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) – When you take an at home pregnancy test, this is the hormone that pregnancy tests test for. HCG is well-known for causing morning sickness.
Food & Smells
For some women, a certain food they once loved will now make them ill. A once favourite meal can no longer be stomached. You will quickly become aware of what you can and cannot handle during your pregnancy, and if severe morning sickness is a problem, it is best to stick to a bland diet for a while.
It’s All In Your Head
If you were prone to car sickness, or sea sickness before pregnancy, then you are much more likely to experience severe morning sickness. Women who live with a lot of stress in their lives, say from their home life or at their job are thought to get hit harder with morning sickness as well.
Remedies for Morning Sickness
Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for severe morning sickness, but there are some remedies to help you get through the tough times. Remember, it will pass, and you can get through it.
- Get Enough Rest – Easier said than done, especially if you work full-time or have other children, but the term “sleep it off” really applies here.
- Food – Try eating more small meals throughout the day, instead of fewer large meals. Stick to food that is high in carbs, with dry savoury flavours. Avoid spicy foods, and stick to cold meals, they tend to have less odour.
- Fluids – Much like food intake, try drinking small amounts regularly throughout the day. It is important to get enough fluids during pregnancy, especially if you are vomiting. Try sucking on ice cubes made of water, or real fruit juice.
- Ginger – Ginger has long been a natural remedy for nausea. Try lozenges, ginger ale, ginger tea, or candies.
- Morning – Some women state that if they have a small snack, such as a few crackers while in bed before getting up, can help relieve that sick feeling when out and about. Avoid having an empty stomach for long periods of time.
- Vitamin B6 – My doctor suggested this one to me, and it made a world of difference. Make sure to check with your doctor before taking anything other than your prenatal vitamin though.
When to See a Doctor
In most cases, severe morning sickness does not need medical care. It will run its course, and you can get back to life.
When morning sickness symptoms are so severe, the condition is called “hyperemesis gravidarum.” Luckily, it is not that common and only hits about 1% of all pregnant women, however, if you are in that 1% it is important to speak to your doctor immediately. In some cases, hospitalization and IV fluids are needed, so get checked out ASAP!
Other symptoms that need medical attention:
- Weight loss
- Risk of dehydration & inability to keep down fluids
- Not passing urine regularly, or only small amounts
- Heart palpitations, or racing heart beat
- Vomiting blood
There are some medications that your doctor can prescribe in order to help with severe morning sickness symptoms. Diclectin is the main one, and it is a combination of vitamin B6, and an antihistamine called doxylamine.
Just a note though, it does not work for all women, so don’t get your hopes up right away. You may just have to get through it.
Although there is not a one size fits all cure for morning sickness, it is important to remember that “this too shall pass.” It is just a small part of the big picture, and as much as it sucks – it will go away and soon be a distant memory. Especially when you have your new little bundle in your arms.
I will note that every pregnancy is different. Just because you had morning sickness with one baby, does not mean that you will have it with the next. I never had morning sickness with my firstborn, and was hit really hard with my second. You just never know!
If you’re feeling queasy take some ginger ale and soda crackers to bed and binge on some Netflix for a while. Your body will thank you later for the extra rest.
Happy Baby Bumping!