Many women suffer from nausea during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester (approx 8 out of 10 women.) Although often called morning sickness, nausea is in no way limited to the morning.
Many women do however feel worse, first thing in the day. Most women find that the nausea stops or at least significantly lessens by the end of the third month though some still suffer into their fourth, fifth or even six month!
What causes nausea in pregnancy?
Firstly, nausea is actually a good sign that your pregnancy hormone levels are high enough to allow your baby to develop and grow, (f you don’t get nauseous, don’t worry, you may just be one of the lucky ones!)
In pregnancy the body produces hCG hormones in large quantities, which causes nausea. Around 12-14 weeks into the pregnancy the placenta takes over nourishing the baby, causing the hormone levels to drop, easing the nausea. However, since other hormones may also play a part in causing your sickness, some women find their nausea continues further into the pregnancy. If you’re tired, hungry, stressed, anxious or expecting twins or triplets, you may vomit more often.
NB:Nausea and vomiting is not harmful to the baby provided you remain well hydrated.
How can I prevent nausea in pregnancy?
Although, as mentioned, nausea is a normal, healthy part of pregnancy, small diet and lifestyle changes could help minimize the feelings of nausea or vomiting.
In the morning:
- Don’t rush out of bed
- Try to have a small snack at your bedside such as a dry wholewheat cracker or cookie, to have as soon as you wake up.
Throughout the day:
- Eat smaller meals, more often, around every two or three hours.
- Drink plenty throughout the day, preferably 10-12 glasses of water or fruit juice, you can suck on ice cubes if drinking is difficult.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, spicy or fatty foods. (Some say one cup of coffee a day is okay!)
- Rest as much as possible.
- Dry foods such as toast, cookies or crackers are usually easiest on the stomach.
- Avoid brushing your teeth soon after eating as this can make you vomit.
- Fresh air and gentle exercise such as going for a walk can help prevent nausea.
- Before going to bed you may find having a small snack helps, try not to have a heavy meal immediately before going to sleep.
- Sleeping with the windows open to get some fresh air may help.
- Try to sleep for at least 8 hours per night and rest whenever you feel tired. When your body is weakened due to exhaustion you are more likely to feel nauseous.
How can I relieve pregnancy nausea?
If nausea has already struck you, you may find all or some of these suggestions helpful. I have seen that most women who suffer from regular levels of nausea are able to figure out some pattern of what triggers their nausea most and are able to work out which foods/situations/smells etc to try avoid.
At BirthLite we carry a number of natural aids to relieve/reduce nausea and vomiting, all of which have been found very helpful for most women.
Ginger helps relieve nausea in many women. Ginger drops are easy to take and contain a high potency level of ginger.( If you are taking prescribed anticoagulant drugs, aspirin or other similar medicines, you should not take ginger. )
Pressing an acupuncture point on your wrist has shown to relieve nausea. A special wristband with pressure point buttons attached is the best way to provide this pressure throughout the day.
When wearing the wrist bands, it is vital that that the button in the band be placed on the correct acupuncture point. You should also put both bands on first thing in the morning before getting out of bed.
If you experience a wave of nausea, press on the button on each wrist about 20 to 30 times at one second intervals. If you forget your wristbands, you can simply press on these two points, or ask someone to do it for you on both wrists at the same time.
Is pregnancy nausea dangerous?
Although nausea is not generally dangerous, you should consult your doctor if:
- you become dehydrated. (symptoms to look out for are thirst, passing smaller volumes of darker urine and feeling dizzy or faint.)
- you vomit more than three to four times a day.
- your vomit contains blood or you have concerns about its appearance.
- you lose weight.
- None of the remedies seem to work and you are not able to manage the symptoms.
What will the doctor do for nausea?
The doctor will examine you for signs of dehydration. They will also test the urine for ketones, which is a way of assessing how dehydrated you are. If your doctor feels you are dehydrated, you may be entered into hospital to receive fluids (and anti-sickness medication) through a drip.
Your doctor may prescribe anti-sickness tablets for you to help with your symptoms.