Morning sickness is one of the first signs of pregnancy, and despite its name, morning sickness may occur at any time during the day. Generally it begins around the sixth week of pregnancy, and stops around the 12th week. Some women experience morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy, and some who never experience it at all. It does not harm your baby, unless the sickness becomes so severe that you are unable to hold down food enough to keep nutrients in your body to allow the baby to grow. However, if you morning sickness is unbearable you could have hyperemesis gravidarum and your treating physician should be notified.
What Causes Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is caused by a rise in hormones that occurs with pregnancy. It is completely normal and occurs in 70-80% of all pregnancies. In roughly 1% of these pregnancies, a more intense form of morning sickness occurs. While it can be controlled and is generally not harmful to your baby, without monitoring and assistance from your doctor, it can potentially create harm.
When Morning Sickness Gets Out of Control
If your morning sickness gets unbearable or so frequent that you have trouble keeping anything down at all, you should contact your doctor right away. You could potentially have a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition is noted by severe nausea and vomiting, along with weight loss, and electrolyte imbalances. Usually this condition is treated with antacids, dietary changes, and rest. If the case is more severe than most, a hospital stay may be required so that you can get IV fluids. Do not take any medication for this condition without consulting your doctor first!
How to Ease Morning Sickness
To make the morning sickness a little easier, there are several things you can do.
If you allow yourself plenty of time to get out of bed, (about an hour or so before you actually need to get up) and start slow then you should experience less morning sickness. Another tip: drink fluids either before or after your meal (about half an hour) but not with your meals. If the smells of food cooking bothers you, open a window while you cook/or have someone cook for you.
Avoid making Morning Sickness Worse
Just as there are things that will help to alleviate morning sickness, there are things that will actually make it worse. Skipping meals will enhance the morning sickness, as will lying down after meals. Eating spicy foods (or cooking them) could also make your morning sickness worse.
You should contact your doctor if your morning sickness prevents you from keeping any food down, if your morning sickness is accompanied with a fever, or the morning sickness persists into the second trimester, after the 13th week of the pregnancy. Relax! You will get through it.