“Morning sickness” is a misnomer. (In fact, the technical medical term is “nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.”) For some pregnant women, the symptoms are worse in the morning and ease up over the course of the day, but they can strike at any time and, for most women, last all day long. The intensity of symptoms can vary from woman to woman, too.
Overall, this condition affects about three quarters of pregnant women during the first trimester. About half of pregnant women suffer from both nausea and vomiting, one quarter have nausea alone, and one quarter luck out altogether. The nausea usually starts around 6 weeks of pregnancy, but it can begin as early as 4 weeks. It tends to get worse over the next month or so.
About half of the women who get nausea during pregnancy feel complete relief by about 14 weeks. For most of the rest, it takes another month or so for the queasiness to ease up, though it may return later and come and go throughout pregnancy. A small percentage of women have symptoms that persist continually (or nearly so) until delivery.
Of course, just because morning sickness is common—and likely to last “only” a few months—doesn’t mean it’s not a challenge. Even a mild case of nausea can wear you down, and bouts of round-the-clock nausea and vomiting can leave you exhausted and miserable. Talk with your caregiver about your symptoms and the possibilities for relief.
What causes nausea and vomiting during pregnancy?
No one knows for sure what causes nausea during pregnancy, but it’s probably some combination of the many physical changes taking place in your body. Some possible causes include:
*Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone rises rapidly during early pregnancy. No one knows how hCG contributes to nausea, but it’s a prime suspect because the timing is right: Nausea tends to peak around the same time as levels of hCG. What’s more, conditions in which women have higher levels of hCG, such as carrying multiples, are associated with higher rates of nausea and vomiting.
*Estrogen. This hormone, which also rises rapidly in early pregnancy, is another suspect. (It’s possible that other hormones play a role as well.)
*An enhanced sense of smell and sensitivity to odors. It’s not uncommon for a newly pregnant woman to feel overwhelmed by the smell of a bologna sandwich from four cubicles away, for example. Certain aromas instantly trigger the gag reflex. (Some researchers think this may be a result of higher levels of estrogen, but no one knows for sure.)
*A sensitive stomach. Some women’s gastrointestinal tracts are simply more sensitive to the changes of early pregnancy. Also, some research suggests that women with a stomach bacterium called Helicobacter pylori are more likely to have nausea and vomiting. Not all studies confirm this link, though.
*Stress. Some researchers have proposed that certain women are psychologically predisposed to having nausea and vomiting during pregnancy as an abnormal response to stress. However, there’s no conclusive evidence to support this theory. (Of course, if you’re constantly nauseated or vomiting a lot, you certainly may begin to feel more stressed!)
¤ Are some pregnant women more likely than others to feel nauseated?
You’re more likely to have nausea or vomiting during your pregnancy if any of the following apply:
*You’re pregnant with twins or higher multiples.This may be from the higher levels of hCG, estrogen, or other hormones in your system. You’re also more likely to have a more severe case than average. On the other hand, it’s not a definite thing—some women carrying twins have little or no nausea.
*You had nausea and vomiting in a previous pregnancy.
*You have a history of nausea or vomiting as a side effect of taking birth control pills. This is probably related to your body’s response to estrogen.
*You have a history of motion sickness.
*You have a genetic predisposition to nausea during pregnancy. If your mother or sisters had severe morning sickness, there’s a higher chance you will, too.
*You have a history of migraine headaches.
*You’re carrying a girl. One study found that women with severe nausea and vomiting in the first trimester were 50 percent more likely to be carrying a girl.
¤Will my nausea affect my baby?
The mild to moderate nausea and occasional vomiting commonly associated with morning sickness won’t threaten your baby’s well-being. If you don’t gain any weight in the first trimester, it’s generally not a problem as long as you’re able to stay hydrated and can keep some food down. In most cases, your appetite will return soon enough and you’ll start gaining weight.
If nausea keeps you from eating a balanced diet, make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need by taking a prenatal vitamin.
Severe and prolonged vomiting, however, has been linked to a greater risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and newborns who are small for their gestational age. However, a large study of women who were hospitalized with severe vomiting found that those who were able to gain at least 15.4 pounds during their pregnancy had no worse outcomes than other women.
In any case, count it all joy when you are faced with diverse symptoms. Fix your eyes on the joy in the making. The joy of The Lord is your strength!
Credits: Baby CenterClick here to read the concluding part (how to get relief)