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The ‘Dos and Don’ts’ of Morning Sickness

Buffy Michelle Maynard, APRN Family Nurse Practitioner Whether you’ve recently found out that you’re pregnant or have been keeping the news under wraps for a few weeks, you might be wondering about morning sickness. It’s no secret that NVP or Nausea and Vomiting in pregnancy is common, but it may be something you’ re concerned about. At Baptist Health, we want to give you the hard facts: this post is designed to demystify morning sickness and its symptoms.

You’re Not Alone

The first thing we want to tell you: you’ re not alone. According to the US National Library of Medicine,

“ Up to 80% of pregnant women experience morning sickness in their first trimester.”

But you may be wondering, “When does morning sickness start?”  In the first trimester of pregnancy; generally, between weeks four and six of your pregnancy. It may continue well into your fourth month of pregnancy.Morning sickness can start any time during the first two months and can happen ANYTIME of the day, not just the mornings.  Most patients’ intense nausea and vomiting subside around weeks 13-15, although some patients can experience morning sickness throughout their entire pregnancy.

Here’ s a Baptist Health Resource that women in your community love:

Understanding the “Why” of Morning Sickness

Main Reasons that Pregnant Women Get Morning Sickness
  • Like a superpower: pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell, and heightened sensitivity to certain smells (meat, garbage)
  • Enhanced gastric reflux
  • Rising hCG hormone levels and rising estrogen levels
  • Stress

Dos & Don’ ts

For morning sickness remedies and relief, here are a few things that may work to soothe your symptoms. For a more extensive list, you can download our ultimate guide to navigating your pregnancy, hereEvery patient and every pregnancy are different, therefore it is a great idea to keep a log of things that make you nauseated. This will help you avoid foods, drinks and situations that make you nauseated.Here are a few helpful tips:
  • Take folic acid BEFORE you ever get pregnant, once pregnant try taking your prenatal vitamins and folic acid at night.
  • Eat before you get hungry
  • Do NOT over eat, or you may see your meal again
  • Try not to lie down for at least 30 minutes after eating.
  • Brush your teeth after eating
  • If your morning sickness is worse in the mornings, try eating a saltine cracker before you ever raise your head from your pillow.
  • Lemon and ginger are proven to help reduce nausea and vomiting in both pregnant patients and cancer patients.
  • Some patients are able to relieve the nausea by sniffing fresh lemon, ginger and oranges
  • Avoid strong perfumes, incense, other strong smells, spicy foods, crowded rooms, and loud noises.
  • Make sure to get plenty of sleep
  • Avoid getting over heated or just being in a hot room
  • Take antacids as directed by your physician for heartburn or reflux.  
  • Try eating several small frequent meals/snacks throughout the day that are high in protein and carbohydrates. (Crackers, low fat yogurt, bread, cottage cheese and ginger snaps).
  • Make sure to stay hydrated- water is recommended however, if your nausea does not allow it, then opt for sour or fizzy drinks such as lemonade, or Ginger ale.
  • Make sure your drinks are super cold, this helps alleviate nauseous feelings as well
  • There are several “morning sickness” snacks available on the internet and local drug stores, make sure to discuss any herbal medications/snacks with your physician prior to taking.  A safe and often effect treat are ginger lollipops.
For those that experience nausea and vomiting to a severity that prevents them from keeping down liquid or foods there are other measures that can and sometimes must be taken.  There are some medications that can be taken during some certain trimesters that can help alleviate the nausea so that adequate nutrition is maintained throughout the pregnancy.  This is something that is special to each patient and should be discussed with your Obstetrician for a treatment plan that best fits you and your growing baby.

Just in Case

Even though morning sickness is a common part of pregnancy, there are certain situations in which you need to pay extra attention.
  1. If your vomiting is preventing you from keeping food down
  2. If morning sickness brings fever or pain with it
  3. If you are becoming dehydrated (pay special attention that your urine is not getting too dark, your heart is not racing and you are not having a rapid heart rate or becoming short of breath doing your normal daily task)
In any of these cases, don’ t be alarmed, however it is best to contact your Obstetrician to make sure they are aware of your symptoms and can schedule a further evaluation if needed.

Myths & Misconceptions

Myth #1: If you had morning sickness with your first child, you’ re 100% sure to have it with any subsequent pregnanciesIn fact, about a third of women do not have morning sickness that mirrors the symptoms from an earlier pregnancyMyth #2: If you have morning sickness past your first trimester, something is wrong with your babyWomen generally experience morning sickness between the 4th and 14th weeks of pregnancy. Beyond that, it’ s best to check with a doctor, but many women often experience morning sickness through until the end of their pregnancy. Each woman’ s pregnancy is unique, and morning sickness can manifest as a continuous symptom and for some women, it may not be limited to the early hours of the day.Myth #3: Morning sickness = girl babiesAlthough some studies have claimed that women who exhibited the signs of morning sickness eventually birthed female babies, the numbers are negligible, and do not serve as a pattern to prove that the theory holds any weight.The journey has only just begun, stick with us for more helpful content as you move through your path to motherhood. Want more detailed information? We’ ll give you a full approved food list, recipes and information about prenatal vitamins, pregnancy checklists, causes of morning sickness and much, much more. Download our FREE guide to Living an Active and Healthy Pregnancy.

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