Your Guide to Surviving Morning Sickness: Common Questions and Tips to Ease It
The excitement many women feel when they find out a baby is on the way can quickly become dampened once morning sickness rears its ugly head. Although it is not dangerous, morning sickness can be downright unpleasant and many women are desperate to find ways to ease it.
The term “morning sickness” is laughable to most pregnant women. Morning sickness is a misnomer, unfortunately: all-day sickness is most accurate for many women. Morning sickness can strike anytime of the day or night, and for some women, the misery never takes a break.
It might help to know that you are not alone, though. Morning sickness is a rite of passage for most moms: according to the American Pregnancy Association, upwards of 85% of women experience morning sickness during their first trimester with 60-70% experiencing actual vomiting. Also take comfort in the fact that it does not last forever: morning sickness typically starts around the 6th week of pregnancy, peaks around weeks 8-9, and tapers off around weeks 12-14.
Here is everything you need to know about morning sickness and tips to feeling better fast.
Why Do I Get Morning Sickness?
The short answer: nobody knows. Despite the fact that millions of women suffer from morning sickness every year, the actual science behind it is scant.
There are several theories on what causes morning sickness. Some of them include:
- Hormones. The sudden rise in hormones triggers morning sickness as the body tries to adjust.
- Genetics. Scientists have found several genes associated with morning sickness.
- Evolution. A theory developed by some scientists is that morning sickness and strong aversions are a defense mechanism developed to protect the fetus from potentially harmful toxins. This would explain why it is strongest during the first trimester since that is when the baby is most vulnerable to toxins and dangerous substances.
- Nutritional Deficiencies. Another theory is that morning sickness is the result of nutritional gaps as the fetus fights to get more resources from the mother. This would be supported by the common remedy of taking vitamin B6 along with Unisom for morning sickness.
Whatever the cause, there are some factors that increase your risk for morning sickness, including if you:
- Are pregnant for the first time.
- Are pregnant with a girl.
- Are carrying multiples(twins, triplets, etc.).
- Are overweight.
- Have a sister or mother that experienced morning sickness.
- Experienced morning sickness in the past.
- Suffer from migraines or motion sickness
Is Morning Sickness Dangerous?
However, there is a difference between the uncomfortable queasiness of morning sickness and something much more. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition that recently gained attention as Princess Kate Middleton experienced this severe morning sickness with all three of her pregnancies. It only affects anywhere from 1-3% of all pregnancies, but it is severe enough to potentially harm the mother and baby.
Some of the common symptoms that mean more than just morning sickness include:
- Vomiting more than four times a day
- Dehydration and dizziness
- Losing more than 10 pounds during pregnancy
- Decrease urine output
- Increased heart rate
- Not being able to keep any food down
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call your provider.
Tips for Handling Morning Sickness
Even if your condition does not warrant a call to the doctors, morning sickness can have a negative effect on your job and life.
Unfortunately, there are very few medications that can be safely taken for morning sickness and they are typically reserved for the most severe cases. There has been a long history of morning sickness drugs that end up causing birth defects. One of the most infamous cases was the use of Thalidomide during the ‘50s and ‘60s that led to thousands of birth defects, some of them severe.
So what can you do? Here are some tips to manage your morning sickness and thrive during your first trimester.
Take a Break
Your body is working hard to grow an entirely new person: it deserves some rest! If your body is telling you that you need to slow down, take some time to rest. Tiredness has been shown to increase morning sickness.
Morning sickness can make going to work unbearable at times. Do not be afraid to take a day off here and there when you need it. Another idea might be to plan some vacation time around week 8-9 of your pregnancy when morning sickness is at its peak. It will give you the chance to get some much-need rest. It will also give you some privacy if you are not ready to tell your coworkers about your pregnancy yet.
I know, I know, exercise is literally at the bottom of the list of what you want to do right now. You’re more exhausted than you ever thought you could be, you’re cranky, AND you’re sick. You might be wishing that we just stayed at the suggestion to rest and go take a nap instead?
But exercise is actually an extremely useful way to manage morning sickness. It also works as a stress-reliever and distraction during this transitional time so it can help make dealing with your first trimester much easier. Plus, exercise leads to a healthier pregnancy, birth and even child.
There is no need to go out and run a marathon either. Depending on your exercise habits before pregnancy, you can pretty much keep up whatever you were doing. If you did not exercise before, though, there is no better time to start! Keep it slow and enjoyable: take your dog on a walk, take a fun pregnancy yoga class, or go for a swim.
Take a Prenatal Vitamin
This is a critical time during your child’s development. Between all that your body is creating and the (probably) limited diet you have right now trying to survive, you and your baby need any boost you can get. A prenatal vitamin is a must from the time you find out that you are pregnant. In fact, some doctors even recommend starting a few months before, if you are trying to get pregnant.
Sometimes prenatal vitamins can (temporarily) make morning sickness worse. If that is the case, try taking it with a snack. Taking it right before bed can also be useful. The more nutrition you have, the better your morning sickness will be. Do what you can to stay healthy by taking a prenatal!
Water, water, water! Dehydration can make morning sickness worse, so make sure that you are drinking your water. It can be especially hard to stay hydrated when you are not eating enough and vomiting throughout the day, so be conscious to have 8 to 10 cups per day.
Some women find it useful to put lemon or lime in their water since sour flavors are known to help ease the morning sickness and make it more interesting. Mineral or coconut water are also good ways to mix it up while staying hydrated.
Eat Healthy Snacks Throughout the Day
Blood sugar swings are every pregnant girl’s enemy. It is associated with worsening morning sickness, so eat healthy snacks throughout the day to avoid sugar crashes and an empty stomach. Try to have a little snack before bed and right when you wake up, even before getting out of bed, as well to avoid the morning part of morning sickness.
What foods are good for morning sickness? Try to stick with healthy snacks and avoid the chips and sweets that are likely calling your name. High protein is especially important during this critical time, so try milk, yogurt, or nuts. Everybody’s food aversions and cravings will be different, so do not try to force yourself to have something that makes you want to gag. If it is healthy and you can keep it down, go for it.
Smell Fresh Scents
Food aversions are only part of the story: smells can be an incredible trigger for morning sickness. Try to avoid any smells that set you off, but also sniff fresh scents to help relieve your morning sickness. Keep some lemon, or a fresh essential oil with you to smell if you cannot get away from something that might trigger your morning sickness, like strong perfume or a cup of coffee.
Although there are many remedies out there to help ease morning sickness, most women are still anxious for any extra help they can get. This is where natural tonics come into play. During pregnancy, you have to be careful what you put into your body and most women would like to avoid medication if they can.
A natural health tonic, like Hana Tonic, is the perfect opportunity to get a much-needed nutritional boost during an important time as well as help your body find balance and fight off morning sickness.
Hana Tonic is an easy-to-take liquid shot full of natural ingredients, including 1 gram of ginger, which has been clinically proven to help curb nausea, as well as B-vitamins, lemon, pineapple, and cayenne pepper. If you find that traditional remedies do not help, or do not help enough, then consider adding Hana Tonic to get your energy and life back!