I am 9 weeks pregnant and I am experiencing really bad morning sickness. Actually, it’s ALL DAY sickness! I am nauseous all the time and vomit at least once a day. My doctor told me that it should pass soon, but is there anything I can do in the meantime to feel better?
Unfortunately, morning sickness is really quite inappropriately named, because most women who experience it will tell you that it can be morning, noon and night sickness! The nausea you are feeling is caused by the increased level of pregnancy hormones in your body and is usually most severe in the first trimester. The nausea can be triggered if a woman hasn’t eaten for several hours (this is likely how the name came about, because when you wake up in the morning your stomach is empty), but nausea can be equally triggered by certain smells, or even looking at certain foods can do it.
If your nausea leads to vomiting, you might be worried about your baby’s health. But unless you are experiencing severe and very frequent vomiting, your baby’s health is not affected. Studies show that a woman who’s healthy when she conceives has sufficient reserves to nourish her growing baby, even if she can’t eat well for the first several months of pregnancy. If your vomiting is severe, or if you are dehydrated and losing a lot of weight, see your doctor immediately as you might have a more severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum and may require medication. This is a rare condition though, and affects less than 1 percent of pregnancies.
For many women experiencing morning sickness, the following tips can help to manage the nausea.
- Eat several small meals a day to prevent an empty stomach and to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Include a protein-rich food with each meal.
- Don’t drink a lot of fluids with your meals. Instead, drink between meals.
- Keep a bland food (such as crackers) by your bed and eat some just before getting up.
- Avoid odours that make you nauseous. Carry some peppermint oil with you in your bag which you can smell if you suddenly encounter an odour that makes you feel sick. Drinking peppermint tea might also help.
- Use acupressure wristbands, which are marketed to relieve motion sickness.
- Hang in there! Know that the nausea and vomiting usually pass within 3 to 4 months.
Tanya Strusberg is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) and teaches prenatal education to pregnant women and their partners in Melbourne.
She and her husband Doron have two beautiful children, Liev and Amalia.
To learn more visit www.birthwellbirthright.com