There are a lot of misconceptions about morning sickness. Clinical studies have done elaborate research on this. Pregnant women are advised to know more about it. More importantly, they need to understand the implications it has on their babies.
Morning sickness occurs among women. It is experienced mostly in the first trimester of their pregnancy. As per a fairly accurate measure, the condition shows up from the fifth week of your pregnancy. It starts as a mild irritation but can get aggravated in the weeks to come.
Morning sickness is characterized by nausea and vomiting. This is considered as a natural sign associated with pregnancy. Clinical researches have established no link between morning sickness and your baby’s general wellbeing. It has been noted that as high as 75% of carrying women experience nausea as part of this sickness. Again, as high as half the pregnant women (nearly 49%) is found to experience both vomiting and nausea due to this condition.
Many women have reported that morning sickness lasts only for some 15 to 21 weeks of their pregnancy. After this period, most women come off its effects. In some rare instances, women have reported not experiencing morning sickness all through their pregnancy term.
Does it occur only in the mornings?
This condition is found to occur at any point in time of the day. However, for a few women the signs of morning sickness (especially vomiting and nausea) are more intense in the mornings. These signs ease off over a period of few hours. Pregnant women have also reported this condition to have occurred during their bedtime.
The signs of morning sickness
There are very little similarity on the time intervals as well as intensity of morning sickness among pregnant women. A few women experience severe illness, especially in their tummy and they have reported such discomforts to last for several hours. There are also women who report of morning sickness as a mild discomfort experienced only for a few minutes.
The common signs associated with morning sickness include vomiting, a queasy feeling (or nausea), abnormal secretion of saliva, heaving but not bringing up anything (also known as retching), etc.
Other discomforts associated with morning sickness
Morning sickness may at times make you dehydrated due to excessive vomiting. In general, it may hinder your gaining needful body weight. But in some rare cases, morning sickness can also be an indicator of other illnesses. This can be inferred when your morning sickness recurs after a few weeks or months.
Do all women have the same signs?
No, these signs may vary with each mother-to-be. Factors that contribute to frequent or intensive bouts of morning sickness have been studied. These are experiences of nausea during your first or subsequent pregnancies, intake of birth control pills, higher level of estrogen in your body, pregnant with twins (but, on the contrary few women who carried twins have had lesser signs of morning sickness or no such signs at all) or if your medical history includes recurrence of frequent headaches such as migraines.
A few gender based studies have inferred that if you are pregnant with a girl, then you are likely to experience highly pronounced as well as frequent occurrences of morning sickness.
Causes of morning sickness
Clinical researchers are yet to zero-in on what triggers this condition. Doctors suspect it to have multiple reasons and also to changes in the women’s body during pregnancy. Some studies however have listed a few likely reasons for this condition. These include-
– Hormonal changes: The levels of a few hormones – such as estrogen – may undergo a big build up in the initial stages of your pregnancy. Such hormonal changes are considered as a reason for this condition.
– Genetic make-up of pregnant women: Formation of the placenta is credited to a few genes. These genes may also be linked to morning sickness. Finer studies on these genes have revealed higher levels of protein formation, again due to genes. Clinical researchers are trying to alter the quantum of protein in women – especially in their first trimester of pregnancy – as an approach to treat morning sickness.
– Extraordinary sense of odors: Pregnant women become exceptionally good in sensing smells all around them. Researchers claim that these extra sensory capacities are due to reactions in the body to protect your baby from any harmful foods or odors. However, a few doctors attribute this to the raise of estrogen level in the pregnant women’s body.
– hCG: This is a hormone whose full form is human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG); the quantum of this hormone sees a new high during the early stages of your pregnancy. Scientific studies are yet to establish the link between this hormone and morning sickness. But, there is a lot of oincidence between the two. The timing of build-up of this hormone is observed to be closely linked to occurrence of the signs of morning sickness. The hormones are found to be secreted in notable quantum when you are carrying twins or more multiples. In order to substantiate this link, the extent of vomiting and nausea are more pronounced when you carry twins or more multiples.
– An extra-sensitive intestinal system: Again, this cause is assigned without needful scientific evidence. The mother-to-be sees her intestinal and digestive systems turning more sensitive during the early stages of her pregnancy. Such extra sensitivity is attributed as a reason for vomiting and nausea.
– Bacteria in the stomach of pregnant women: This cause is yet to be clinically ascertained in full. Studies claim a special type of gut bacteria – called as Heliobacter pylori – as the reason behind morning sickness and the symptoms associated to it.
Can morning sickness harm your baby?
Moderate levels of nausea or vomiting may not impact your baby. But if you are having acute signs of morning sickness they may lead to a few risks. The risks identified are, babies born with lower weight, smaller sized new-borns or preterm deliveries. Some babies are also found to have delays in development. Studies indicate that stretched periods of morning sickness can also cause the same outcomes listed above. Clinical research shows that a very small percentage of carrying women (around 2 to 3%) experience such prolonged or acute signs of morning sickness.
Mothers-to-be however are advised to drink adequate quantum of fluids or water (as vomiting runs the risk of dehydrating you) as well as make sure to have adequate food inside the body. Doctors may recommend a few supplements such as vitamins (specially made for prenatal condition) to provide enough food for your baby. Some studies have also established a link between the intake of vitamins (prenatal genre or supplements containing multivitamins advised along with an intake of folic acid) and reduced signs of morning sickness, especially signs such as vomiting and nausea.
Doctors state incidence of morning sickness is not an unusual condition, especially among pregnant women. Medical professionals have noticed this condition even in the third trimester of pregnancy in some women. But, you may have to seek medical support if you observe morning sickness is lasting beyond 21 weeks. If the symptoms of morning sickness are so severe, such instances also require quicker support from qualified health professionals. Some of the acute signs include loss of body weight (by more than 2 pounds), vomiting blood, vertigo or excessive dizziness, acute signs of fluid loss or dehydration or pain in lower abdomen and inflammation.
In such cases, you are advised to seek medical help as early as possible. Timely seeking of medical attention can avert risks such as preterm births or babies born with lesser than normal weight.
How to overcome morning sickness?
Doctors can prescribe medications to cure your morning sickness. Ensure that the medications are safe for your baby and you before consuming. Tell your doctor about any other medications that you may be consuming before taking these medications. Also, inform about the foods you regularly consume to your dietician. These information may help your doctor to avoid prescribing pills that may interact with the medicines your already consume and with the foods you regularly take. It also becomes important to tell your treating doctor about your medical history as well as prior illnesses or allergies before taking the medications.
Some doctors also advise to start consuming multivitamin tablets a few weeks before you conceive. There are also acupressure based remedies available to overcome the symptoms of morning sickness.
There are a few home remedies that women often recommend as cure for morning sickness. These remedies include consumption of cold drinks with fizziness, snacking habits or eating small meals all through the period, staying away from excessively strong aromas and staying outdoors as much as possible.
In sum, morning sickness is observed to occur in the early trimester of your pregnancy. It is not harmful to your baby. But if the symptoms of morning sickness do not go away after 20 weeks (being the maximum time span) or if the symptoms are so acute, you are then advised to seek medical help without much delay.