Mummies, if you are suffering from morning sickness and vomiting during pregnancy, you might be wondering why it’s all happening, and if there is any relief from pregnancy nausea. We feel you. The urge to throw up frequently is one of the most miserable, ickiest feelings ever.
However, nausea during pregnancy is very common and completely normal. And if it makes you feel any better, throwing up may be a sign that your pregnancy hormones are working perfectly fine.
What causes nausea during pregnancy?
Nausea during pregnancy is caused by high levels of pregnancy hormones. It shows that the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in particular, is being produced in large quantities.
hCG is the hormone which makes sure that the baby gets adequate nourishment from your body, especially in the early weeks.
Other hormones that can contribute to nausea during pregnancy are oestrogen, and stress hormones like cortisol. The deficiency of certain nutrients like vitamin B6, may be another cause of this condition.
The good news is that, pregnancy nausea does not harm the baby. Most mums start feeling better after their first trimester (around week 12-14). A few however, experience symptoms into the second trimester. An unfortunate few have nausea throughout their pregnancy.
Some mums experience an extreme form of pregnancy nausea called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), where they struggle to keep down even water. This condition can cause dehydration and loss of weight and leave you malnourished, so it’s best to seek medical attention immediately.
Relief from pregnancy nausea: Self-care tips
Mummies, suffering from nausea might seem like a rather bleak way of starting your pregnancy journey, but fret not. These simple lifestyle changes and self-care tips might help you in getting relief from pregnancy nausea:
Eat small, frequent meals
An empty stomach can make nausea worse, so make sure you have your meals early, and on time. It is also advisable to avoid large meals, which can make the tummy feel full, and opt for small, frequent meals instead.
Eat slowly and take your time to chew your food.
Choose foods properly
Avoid foods or smells that can make you sick. Also avoid oily, fatty and spicy food.
Choose food which is high in protein and carbohydrates, low in fat and easy to digest. Bananas, rice, crackers, applesauce and toast are some good options.
Salty foods are also known to be helpful, and so are foods that contain ginger.
Drink plenty of water and fluids
As with food, taking small sips of fluid throughout the day might prove helpful. Aim for 6-8 cups of non-caffeinated fluids daily. Avoid drinks that are too cold or sweet.
Avoid alcohol. It is bad for the baby and bad for morning sickness.
Get plenty of sleep and rest
Tiredness can make nausea worse. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Even better if you can take short naps in between.
Avoid rushing and getting out of bed too quickly.
Stress can make your symptoms a lot worse. If you feel too stressed out, try to cut down on your workload. Take some time out to relax and de-stress every day. Meditation might help you relax and get rid of negative thoughts.
Don’t smoke, and stay away from second-hand smoke
Apart from increasing the chances of nausea, smoking during pregnancy affects you and your baby's health before, during, and after your baby is born.
Smoking can cause premature birth and certain birth defects. It is also a risk factor of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The same holds true for mummies who are exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy. They have an increased chance of having a stillbirth, a low birthweight baby, a baby with birth defects, and other complications of pregnancy.
Breathe fresh air
Make sure that your room is well-ventilated. Find time to take outdoor walks. Walking and being on the move is also good exercise that is great for blood circulation.
Try these natural remedies
Try having ginger drinks. You can boil fresh ginger slices to make ginger tea that is caffeine-free and safe to drink. Another refreshing beverage, especially if you don’t like the strong taste of ginger, is to drink ginger ale.
Suck on energy sweets or peppermints. They are also great at refreshing your mouth and getting rid of that sick feeling.
Many pregnant mums often crave for sour food, and maybe part of the reason is that sour food can reduce nausea. Aside from citric fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruit and berries, you can also try eating preserved foods like pickles and jams.
Some mummies swear by alternative methods like acupressure.
There is a special acupressure point located on your wrist that can help alleviate nausea. Called the “inner gate,” it can be found around one and a half inches up your wrist. Locate the spot between the two bones, and press down hard on the nerve for at least two minutes.
You could also buy a “sea sickness band” from a pharmacy, and wear it on your wrist. It stimulates the same acupressure point that helps to reduce nausea.
Vitamin B6 might help
A little extra vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce morning sickness symptoms in some patients.
Scientists don’t know exactly why B6 has an effect on nausea, but it could be related to the way it breaks down amino acids and helps produce neurotransmitters. It also stimulates the production of red blood cells, which is very important for the health of the baby.
Eggs, meat, whole grains and nuts are some food rich in Vitamin B6. The vitamin can also be taken in supplement form.
Do note that high doses of Vitamin B6 are harmful to your baby. So don’t take more than 200 mg a day, and always consult a doctor before taking supplements during pregnancy.
Relief from pregnancy nausea: Medical treatment options
Mums, if the above self-help measures and lifestyle changes don’t help, and if the vomiting continues to be severe, you might want to consult your doctor for anti-sickness medication.
If you have hyperemesis gravidarum, you may need to be treated with intravenous (IV) fluids and anti-nausea medications in the hospital.
Do note that, moderate to severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can also cause dehydration and electrolyte (such as sodium or potassium) imbalance.
There are a number of prescription medications that are safe to take during pregnancy for nausea and vomiting. Avoid taking any over-the-counter medications or supplements during pregnancy, as these may have undesirable side-effects.
Your doctor can recommend a safe option for you based on the severity of your symptoms.
The doctor is most likely to recommend an anti-sickness medicine, called an antiemetic, that is safe to use in pregnancy. They might make you feel drowsy though (do check with your doctor on the side-effects).
Antiemetics are usually given out as tablets to be swallowed. But if you can't keep them down, you might need an injection or suppository to stop the vomiting.
Relief from pregnancy nausea: When to seek urgent medical attention
Mums, remember to seek medical attention immediately if you:
- have very dark-coloured urine or have not had a pee in more than 8 hours
- are unable to keep food or fluids down for 24 hours
- feel severely weak, dizzy or faint when standing up
- have tummy (abdominal) pain
- have pain or blood when you pee
- have lost weight
These can be signs of dehydration or a urine infection.
This post originally appeared on TheAsianParent.com.