Morning sickness is a common pregnancy-related condition characterized by nausea and vomiting, often occurring during the first trimester. Understanding when morning sickness starts, its symptoms, causes, and various remedies can help you better manage this uncomfortable experience.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness, or pregnancy nausea, affects about 70 to 80 percent of pregnant women. It usually starts around the sixth week of pregnancy and can last until the 14th week or longer. The exact cause of morning sickness is not entirely understood, but hormonal changes and increased sensitivity to odors are believed to play a role.
Morning Sickness Symptoms
While many women experience morning sickness in the morning, it can occur at any time of day. Monitor your symptoms and communicate with your healthcare provider to ensure the best possible care during pregnancy.
The primary symptoms of morning sickness include:
- Sensitivity to smells and tastes
Managing morning sickness can be a challenge, but you’ll be relieved to learn that various food remedies, natural approaches, over-the-counter treatments, and prescription medications are available to help alleviate pregnancy nausea.
Avoiding Nausea Triggers
The first step is to avoid feeling nauseated in the first place by steering clear of morning sickness triggers. Here are some tips to try:
- Avoid quick movements, especially when you have an empty stomach.
- Reduce screen time, as the moving images on a TV may trigger nausea.
- Wear loose-fitting cotton clothes that breathe well to keep your skin cool.
- Experiment with when you take your prenatal vitamins. Trying different times of the day or taking your vitamins with food may help reduce nausea.
- Wear peppermint- or lemon-scented hand cream to disguise other smells.
- Brush your teeth after eating.
Morning Sickness Food Remedies
Foods to Consume
Certain foods can help fight morning sickness symptoms, including:
- Dry, bland foods: Crackers, toast, and rice cakes may settle your stomach.
- Ginger: Try ginger ale, ginger tea, or ginger candies to help with nausea.
- Cold foods: Chilled food has less odor, making it more tolerable when overly sensitive to smells.
- Protein-rich foods: Lean meats, nuts, and legumes stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce nausea.
- Fluids: Sip on water and caffeine-free tea, suck on ice cubes, or drink electrolyte-rich beverages to stay hydrated. Just avoid chugging too many fluids at once.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods make morning sickness worse. Avoid the following:
- Fatty and spicy foods: Pizza, fries, hot sauce, and curry are harder to digest and may worsen nausea.
- Caffeine: Consuming too much caffeine causes dehydration, which may exacerbate nausea.
- Strong-smelling foods: Foods with strong odors, like onion and garlic, can trigger sensitivity and worsen morning sickness.
Changes to Eating Habits
Adapting how and when you eat helps reduce pregnancy nausea. Consider these tips:
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals: Stabilize your blood sugar by eating five or six small meals a day.
- Avoid lying down after eating: Give your body time to digest before lying down to reduce the likelihood of acid reflux.
- Keep snacks by your bedside: Eating a few crackers at bedtime and before getting up in the morning helps settle your stomach.
Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness
In addition to food-related home remedies for nausea, try these natural approaches before taking medicine:
- Exercise: Walking, swimming, and other gentle activities improve blood circulation and reduce nausea. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise routine during pregnancy.
- Acupuncture and acupressure: These therapies are known to help with morning sickness. Wearing a Sea-Band bracelet that applies pressure to the P6 or Nei Guan point on your wrist may provide relief. Acupuncture sessions with a trained professional may also prove beneficial.
- Prenatal massage: This treatment reduces stress and promotes relaxation, which can alleviate nausea. Choose a massage therapist trained in prenatal massage techniques.
- Aromatherapy: Essential oils like peppermint, ginger, and lemon can reduce pregnancy nausea. Place a few drops in a diffuser to freshen the air and relieve morning sickness.
- Anti-nausea breathing techniques: Slow, deep breathing calms your nervous system and heightens feelings of relaxation. Practice inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth. You may also find guided meditation apps helpful.
Over-the-Counter Morning Sickness Remedies
When you need some extra support, talk to your healthcare provider about these OTC medicines:
- Antiemetics: Medications like Emetrol alleviate nausea and vomiting by calming the muscle contractions that cause these symptoms.
- Acid reflux medication: Antacids and acid reducer medications neutralize stomach acid and reduce reflux-related nausea.
- Vitamin B6: Taking vitamin B6 supplements can greatly reduce morning sickness symptoms. It also boosts the production of serotonin and melatonin to improve your mental outlook and promote more restful sleep.
- Unisom: This over-the-counter sleep aid contains an antihistamine, which can help alleviate nausea. Unisom may be most effective when taken with vitamin B6.
- Ginger capsules: If you don’t like the taste of ginger, you can still get the anti-nausea benefits by taking ginger capsules.
Prescription Morning Sickness Remedies
If you’re unable to control your severe morning sickness symptoms with natural remedies and OTC medicine, talk to your doctor about trying one of these prescriptions:
- Zofran (Ondansetron): This anti-nausea medication prevents vomiting and relieves nausea in as little as 30 minutes.
- Diclegis (Doxylamine/Pyridoxine): This combination of vitamin B6 and the antihistamine doxylamine relieves morning sickness symptoms.
Seek Women’s Health Services in Brevard County
Managing morning sickness can be challenging, and each woman’s experience is unique, so you may need to experiment with different strategies until you find what works for you. Communicating with your healthcare provider is also important to receive additional tips and safety information.
Brevard Health Alliance offers exceptional women’s health services to expectant mothers. If you are experiencing morning sickness or other pregnancy-related concerns, contact us at our Sarno/Melbourne office location to schedule an appointment with one of our women’s health specialists. Your well-being is our top priority, so we encourage you to seek prenatal care early!