This uncomfortable condition can be managed with some self-care tips. Despite its name, “morning” sickness can happen at any time of the day. But when does morning sickness usually start, and what are its causes and treatments? These are some of the questions we will answer today, so read on.
Medical researchers haven’t yet figured out exactly why morning sickness happens. However, the body’s reaction to the pregnancy hormone, hCG, has been suggested as a possible cause. This is the hormone that the body begins to produce after the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus.
Since morning sickness affects around 80% of pregnant women, it would almost seem to be an unavoidable part of pregnancy. However, some women don’t experience any symptoms of morning sickness at all. If you’re one of the 80%, though, some precautions and self-care tips can help manage and minimize the symptoms. Taking vitamin B6 during pregnancy can reduce the severity of morning sickness in some cases.
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The exact reasons for morning sickness are unclear, but here are a few things that may explain why it happens:
Rising hCG levels: One of the possible reasons for morning sickness could be the body’s reaction to rising levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. This is the hormone that the body begins to produce after the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining.
Nausea and vomiting linked to morning sickness could be your body trying to adjust to the changing hormones.
Every woman’s pregnancy is different, and so is their morning sickness, varying in its severity from mild to extreme. For some women, the symptoms might include mild nausea and stomach discomfort a few times a day. On the other hand, about 1% of women face extremely severe morning sickness symptoms and are diagnosed with a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. In this condition, women experience severe nausea, frequent vomiting, weight loss, and an electrolyte imbalance. Hospitalization is sometimes required in such cases, with some women needing a feeding tube and/or intravenous fluids to stay healthy.
How to treat morning sickness
With some self-care tips, home remedies, and natural treatments, you can significantly reduce morning sickness. Here are some tricks to keep in mind:
- Vitamins: Taking vitamin B6 during pregnancy can reduce the severity of morning sickness in some cases. Make sure to ask your doctor for advice and about the dosage.
- Ginger: Ginger has been shown to reduce nausea caused by morning sickness. Eating or drinking gingery foods and beverages can be a natural way to ease your symptoms.
- Have small, frequent meals: Instead of a few, heavy meals, try taking several small snack breaks throughout the day. This helps make sure you don’t overload your digestive system at any one time, making it easier to keep food down.
- Stay hydrated: The vomiting caused by morning sickness can dehydrate you, further aggravating symptoms. Make sure to take small sips of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
- Avoid spicy and rich foods: Very spicy or sugary foods can upset your stomach and cause nausea. It’s a good idea to stay away from them, as well as any food whose smell or taste makes you feel sick. Eat simple foods that can be easily digested. Here is a handy nutrition guide you can use to decide what to eat at the various stages of your pregnancy.
- Acupressure: Studies have shown that acupressure on the wrist might reduce symptoms of morning sickness and can be used as an alternative method to bring relief.
- Emotional support: Additional anxiety and stress can aggravate discomfort. Getting support from your friends and family can help ease your suffering and manage the symptoms.
For most women, morning sickness usually begins around weeks 5 or 6 and eases up by about week 12 or 14. For a small number of women — about 10% — it might last until week 20. In even fewer cases, morning sickness can persist throughout the pregnancy.
Morning sickness affects around 80% of pregnant women and is often one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Characterized by frequent nausea and vomiting, it starts at around week 6 of pregnancy and usually clears up by weeks 12 or 14. In most cases, it can be treated with natural remedies like having ginger, eating smaller meals, and staying hydrated. About 1% of women experience an extreme form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum, which may require hospitalization. In cases of severe vomiting, dark-colored urine, frequent dizziness, and difficulty keeping down liquids, talk to your doctor and seek appropriate treatment.