Each year, around 300,000 women in Australia will become pregnant; of these, approximately 80% will experience some form of “morning sickness”. Some believe morning sickness to be an evolutionary adaptation, aimed at protecting mothers and their children from food poisoning, the heightened awareness of smell and nausea can prevent mothers from eating food, which may be contaminated, and protects the baby’s underdeveloped immune system from harm.
“Morning sickness” can, in fact, happen at any time, not just in the early hours, (the more official title is NVP, which stands for Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy). It is a normal, natural part of pregnancy, and is nothing to worry about. Below you’ll find all you need to know about the most common condition affecting newly pregnant women, and what to do to minimise its effects.
What are the symptoms?
Morning sickness usually manifests as intense nausea, either with or without vomiting, during the first trimester of pregnancy. Unpleasant smells, or even smells which were before no trouble at all, can cause an overwhelming feeling of sickness and nausea. The gag reflex can also become extremely sensitive, meaning it’s even easier to feel the need to vomit.
A far smaller percentage, around 2% of pregnant women, can suffer from a far more serious version of morning sickness called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). If you begin exhibiting the symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, then it is of the utmost importance for you and your child that you seek medical advice as soon as possible. The symptoms of HG can include:
- Vomiting multiple times a day
- Inability to gain weight or even weight loss
- Tachycardia (fast, pounding heartbeat)
- Unabating, persistent nausea
- Passing only a small amount of urine
- Urine is a dark colour
- Dizzy feeling/light-headedness upon standing
- Vomiting blood
For roughly half of HG sufferers, these symptoms begin to dissipate a bit later than those of the more typical morning sickness, at around the 21st week of pregnancy. Unfortunately for the other 50% of HG sufferers, these symptoms can persist for sometimes even the entire pregnancy. It is important that Hyperemesis Gravidarum is spotted and treated as fast as possible, for the wellness of the mother and the child.
What causes morning sickness?
The exact causes of morning sickness are still relatively unknown. There are such an array of changes happening to the mother that pinning down one particular aspect as the cause is a tough task. Most doctors would, however, agree that the largest contributors to morning sickness are the fluctuating levels of hormones that are created during pregnancy.
Oestrogen: Oestrogen levels in the bloodstream can increase to as much as 100 times those found in non-pregnant women, but there is no evidence to show that oestrogen levels in pregnant women who experience morning sickness are any different to those who don’t.
Progesterone: During pregnancy levels of Progesterone increase to relax the muscles of the uterus and prevent premature childbirth. These same chemicals can sometimes also relax the stomach and intestines, leading to a build-up of stomach acid and potentially even acid reflux and heartburn.
Human chorionic gonadotropin: Some believe that human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, a hormone produced by the embryo and placenta, may have an effect on morning sickness symptoms.
Other possible causes of pregnancy nausea
Low blood pressure/blood sugar: Sometimes the strain of providing blood and oxygen to two people instead of just one means that the mother’s blood pressure and blood sugar levels can sometimes become low enough to induce dizziness and nausea. This is only exacerbated when the morning sickness increases nausea and reduces appetite, making it harder to get enough sugar into the body.
Increased sensitivity to smells: During pregnancy, the mother’s nose can become far more sensitive, and this heightened sense of smell can sometimes lead the mother to notice smells which can trigger nausea that would otherwise be unnoticeable.
How long does morning sickness last?
Morning sickness generally begins between the 4th and 9th weeks of pregnancy and continues until weeks 12 and 14. The time at which symptoms peak is usually between the 7th and 12th weeks. However, please bear in mind, this can vary hugely between women. Some women experience no nausea at all while others can experience symptoms into the 2nd trimester and beyond. Some women can even experience the symptoms until shortly after the baby is born!
How can the symptoms be treated?
There are many over the counter pharmaceutical remedies, which can treat the symptoms of morning sickness. There are however also a host of natural and organic nausea remedies and non-medicinal methods which can treat the various symptoms of morning sickness, with less risk of side effects, for mother and child. Below are just a few…
- Make sure to get a good nights’ rest; exhaustion can exacerbate nausea
- Intake of both food and fluids should be in small but regular amounts, 6 to 8 small meals is better for the stomach than three large meals, and making sure you remain properly hydrated is vitally important
- Avoid spicy foods, or late night snacking, as these can also upset the stomach acids and the stomach lining
- Make sure your head is raised when sleeping, a few pillows should do the trick, this protects against acid reflux and as a result against nausea
- Ginger has been shown to reduce feelings of nausea, so use it whenever possible
- Using a Sea-Band acupressure band can help to relieve nausea. We would say that! However, we’re pleased to say that customers and professionals agree that acupressure is a safe and effective way to naturally relieve nausea. Check out our testimonials to find out more
How does Sea-Band work?
Sea-Band acupressure band can help to relieve nausea symptoms without any need for medication or expensive treatments. The Sea-Band works by applying a continuous pressure on the P6 (or Nei-Kuan) point using a plastic stud. A study in Italy found that the symptoms of morning sickness decreased by 70% amongst women who use Sea-Bands, and another study found that women wearing Sea-Bands also reported lower amounts of anxiety, hostility and depression.
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