Morning Sickness

Morning sickness generally begins around the 8th week of pregnancy and ends around the 13th week of pregnancy. For this reason, the first trimester is considered the most trying and difficult period of pregnancy whereas the second trimester is often the easiest and most fun because your energy has returned and you are not yet carrying a very large fetus.

Morning sickness is believed to be caused by high levels of circulating HCG, and indeed women who are carrying multiples (and thus have higher circulating HCG) typically experiencing more severe morning sickness. Another hypothesis is that morning sickness is a manifestation of the worries of a new mother, although this hypothesis does not have any scientific backing. Anecdotal reports suggest that women often have less or no morning sickness in subsequent pregnancies after having morning sickness during their first.

In addition to HCG, morning sickness may be caused by:

  • Peaking concentrations of estrogen
  • Slower gastrointestinal movement and increased gassiness
  • Stress from a new pregnancy
  • A heightened sense of smell and taste that also contributes to food cravings and aversions

Morning sickness varies a great deal among women, and women even report different degrees of morning sickness if they have had multiple pregnancies. For some, vomiting occurs each morning followed by feelings of general wellness for the rest of the day. For others, vomiting and nausea may be experienced day and night, or constant nausea may be present without vomiting. A small percentage of women will experience no morning sickness at all. All of these symptoms are variations of normal, and morning sickness is certainly not a requirement for a healthy pregnancy.

Two of the most common remedies for morning sickness are saltine crackers and ginger ale. Saltines are recommended to be kept by your bedside and eaten immediately upon awakening. This is thought to settle the stomach acids and help stave off vomiting. Ginger ale is also believed the reduce nausea and help with hydration in women who are vomiting. Other treatments include Emetrol, the only approved antiemetic to be taken while pregnant.

Women with severe morning sickness are at risk of dehydration and blood pressure aberrations that can be very dangerous to the developing fetus. If you are pregnant and constantly are vomiting or unable to eat or drink and if you are feeling lightheaded and dizzy, you should contact your physician immediately. It may be necessary for you to start IV fluids to balance your electrolytes and maintain a healthy pregnancy.

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