• morning sicknessMorning sickness is a bit of a misnomer considering that for many women the nausea that accompanies the first trimester of pregnancy can last all day long. So, for our purposes let’s say morning sickness is the nausea and sometimes vomiting during pregnancy- morning, noon or night!

    What causes Morning Sickness?
    There is no one known cause of morning sickness but it is likely a result of a combination of factors. The hormones- estrogen and HCG, both high in early pregnancy, likely contribute. The sharp sense of smell and sensitivity to odor many women experience can also contribute. If you’re a silver lining kind of person think of it this way – if you are nauseous then the hormones of pregnancy are working as they should and your baby is off to a good start.

    Decreasing the Nausea
    Frequent small meals – keep crackers in your desk, purse, car, and nibble whenever you can.
    Frequent fluids – drinking small amounts all day long, avoiding drinking with meals if you notice that makes you nauseous.
    Ginger – Ginger tea is great, hot or cold. And if you prefer cold then slice or grate some fresh ginger into soda water. Most ginger ales do not actually contain any ginger.
    Peppermint – Mint tea – hot or cold. Peppermint candy.
    Meals that are low in fat and high in protein content are helpful in decreasing nausea.
    Take your prenatal vitamins and folic acid before bed.
    Eat a cracker or two upon awakening and then wait 10-20 minutes before getting out of bed, if possible.
    Wrist band/acupuncture band – sold at pharmacies and often used to prevent seasickness.
    Vitamin B6 – 10-15 mg taken 3 times a day can help decrease nausea. If there is Vitamin B6 in your prenatal vitamin then take less additional vitamin B6 during the day.

    Thing to Avoid
    Strong smells
    Being in a hot/stuffy environment
    Dehydration (so drink fluids)
    Hunger (constant snacking)
    Iron – you may need to hold off on iron supplementation until your 2nd trimester if you notice your nausea becoming worse after taking your iron.

    Hyperemesis Gravidarum
    This is a condition that affects some pregnant women consisting of extreme nausea and vomiting. If you are unable to keep any food or fluids down – contact your Obstetrician.

    When to Call Your Obstetrician
    – Fever
    – Abdominal Pain
    – Inability to keep food/liquid down for 24 hours
    – Vomiting blood
    – Feeling faint or weak
    – You are losing weight (> 2 pounds)
    – If you are still experiencing morning sickness after the 14th week of pregnancy.
    – If you just feel like you are unable to manage this nausea/vomiting call your doctor!

    And hang in there. This too shall pass. And the payoff at the end is well worth it. :)

    -Monique Araya, MD, FAAP

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