Everything you need to know on Morning Sickness Symptoms
Even with the negative press surrounding morning sickness symptoms, the period of pregnancy is perhaps one of the most interesting times in a woman's life. We all could agree that while the hormonal changes could spice up some ethereal beauty for her, it is also possible to precipitate many stressful events. The popular and dreaded morning sickness is one of such events. Morning sickness symptoms usually show up in the first trimester of pregnancy and often is the first tell-tale sign for most women.
Although some women do not experience morning sickness symptoms in any way, you must have the necessary information to guide you through the process. This is vital because some extreme form of it could leave the expecting mother disoriented and unproductive.
In this article, we would explore all that you need to know about morning sickness symptoms.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is one of the first tell-tale signs of pregnancy which occurs in the first few months, usually diminishing in the second trimester. It is characterized by nausea and occasional vomiting. Since this is a common occurrence in most pregnant women, it's no surprise that there are several ways to reduce the effects of the body's symptoms. Interestingly, there are little to no complications from its symptoms.
That said, a similar condition, referred to as Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), causes severe nausea and vomiting, which could leave the expectant mothers feeling tired and weak. Although they present with the same symptoms, HG and morning sickness are not the same thing despite differences in severity. Both of these conditions have different side effects and present with a varying spectrum of complications and risks.
It is important to properly differentiate and diagnose these conditions to necessitate appropriate treatment procedures. If left untreated, HG could eventually harm the unborn baby because it causes electrolyte imbalance and unexpected weight loss.
HER Foundation reported that some women might progress from morning sickness to Hyperemesis, which requires hospitalization and treatment with intravenous fluids. To a large extent, that feels like too much to bear with regarding pregnancy. Notwithstanding, the joy of motherhood sufficiently trumps the stress that pregnancy puts on the mother – No wonder women are ready to go at it again, despite the challenges.
When Does Morning Sickness Start?
One of the foremost things to understand about morning sickness is that it is incredibly common and quite varied. A study carried out by HER Foundation reported that several women form support groups through the period of pregnancy to share tips and general ideas on how to address possible challenges. While this may help provide emotional help for the amazing yet stressful period, it does not necessarily address the expectant mothers' individuality. It is generally believed that every woman experiences morning sickness symptoms earlier in the day, hence the name.
However, studies have shown that some might be sick all day, while a ratio experiences the symptoms later in the evening or when they have not had enough rest. About 70% of women who participated in the research reported experiencing nausea, while the remaining 30% experienced vomiting.
Morning sickness usually starts around the sixth week of pregnancy and extends to the twelfth week or late into the second trimester in rare cases. In any case, morning sickness symptoms clear off once the body gets used to new hormonal changes and physiological adjustments necessary to sustain both mother and fetus throughout the entire gestation period and beyond. According to a theoretical graph plotted by Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, morning sickness symptoms usually peak around the eighth and ninth week of pregnancy and wanes after that. Generally, the symptoms completely disappear after the fourteenth week.
Morning Sickness Symptoms
Although nausea and vomiting are the primary symptoms of morning sickness, there are other associated symptoms, most of which are individualized and may be observed in an expectant mother. Most first-time mothers confuse morning sickness with seasickness, especially in the first week. Some describe it as a queasy hangover feeling. Often, morning sickness symptoms are exacerbated due to the keen sense of smell in most pregnant women. This heightened smell causes an aversion to certain food groups that could precipitate nausea and vomiting.
Except in cases of Hyperemesis gravidarum, the typical presentation of morning sickness include:
- Nausea, which is best described as a queasy feeling of seasickness. Nausea is the most common morning sickness symptom and gradually decreases by the fourteenth week.
- A queasy feeling often followed by intense hunger pangs.
- Heightened sense of smell with an accompanied aversion for certain food groups.
- Strong queasy feeling that leads to vomiting.
- Nausea occurs right after a meal.
While morning sickness will not have any harmful effect on the developing child, it is important to consult the doctor if you have difficulty keeping down fluids or food. Hyperemesis gravidarum and severe morning sickness will need to be diagnosed by a medical practitioner and properly managed.
Morning Sickness Causes
Is there a definitive cause of morning sickness? Not exactly. Although there are several postulations on the causes of morning sickness, there is no practical evidence supporting any of them. Nonetheless, several physiological changes occur in the body during pregnancy that could factor into causing morning sickness. Some of these include:
Increased levels of pregnancy hormone hCG
Reports have shown those morning sickness symptoms usually peak around periods of high hCG production until the body adjusts to the new changes.
Increased levels of progesterone and estrogen
Both of these hormones have direct effects on smooth muscles and thus reduce the digestive tract's effectiveness. This often precipitates feelings of nausea and queasiness.
Increased production of hormones
This causes a rapid stretching of muscles and ligaments, especially those of the uterine region, to make room for the developing fetus.
Increased production of saliva
Results in an increase in the incidences of queasiness and nausea.
Gastrointestinal Reflux (GERD) and heartburn
These increase the chance of vomiting and nausea.
As earlier discussed, several factors come into play for the development of morning sickness. While a number of these factors are individualistic and could sometimes be a result of external circumstances. Other general causes of morning sickness include:
Fluctuating hormone levels
This is regarded as the principal reason for developing morning sickness. Due to physiological changes in the body, there is a surge in certain hormone production, leading to an imbalance. On average, there is an estimated level of hormone balance expected at every stage of pregnancy. A slight increase or decrease beyond this estimated value could either increase the chances of morning sickness or decrease it, depending on the individual.
However, you could have an average hormonal balance level and still experience some minimal morning sickness symptoms, most of which abate once the body adjusts.
Quite frankly, stress is terrible for your body, more so when you are growing another human in you. Increased stress levels predispose the body to several health risks and increase the chances of developing severe morning sickness symptoms.
With most people, emotional stress and edginess trigger stomach upset, worsening nausea, and vomiting associated with morning sickness. Asides from this effect, it is generally advised that every expectant mother stay away from any stress factors, as they could impair their health status.
As it is with the effects of stress, fatigue, in any of its varied forms, could worsen or even trigger morning sickness. Furthermore, it is important to note that one of the side effects of morning sickness, especially when severe, is fatigue.
First-time mothers usually experience more morning sickness symptoms than those who have gone through the process before. This can be easily explained in the light that the body is new to the physiologic changes. Additionally, the anxious pregnancy jitters experienced by first-time mothers increase their chance of developing morning sickness.
This is one of the most debated causes of morning sickness. Hot weather has been said to trigger morning sickness symptoms, but researchers have linked that to personal opinions and individual tendencies. Nonetheless, extremes of weather should be looked out for in preventing the occurrence of morning sickness.
The human composition differs, and so does sensitivity. In some pregnant women, the brain reacts faster to hormonal surges, and pregnancy triggers faster than others. There is a high chance of developing morning sickness for this group of women, sometimes with severe symptoms. Those who get carsick or seasick easily have a higher chance of developing morning sickness than others who are rarely nauseous or queasy.
When science says “family is everything”, you'd soon realize that many things in the medical domain can be traced to the effects of genetics. If any one of your close relatives had to deal with morning sickness symptoms, there is a high chance you will go through the same. However, the severity might differ due to the individualistic variableness of the condition. Regardless, a publication from HER organization reported that remedies that work for a woman could also work for other close relations. Now may be the time to give your sister a call to discuss her pregnancy journey. In any, this is just speculation, and you could end up sailing through the journey without any morning sickness symptoms.
Morning Sickness Risks
Except in rare cases, there are no known risks of morning sickness unless it results in electrolyte imbalance and severe dehydration. Morning sickness does not cause any harm to the mother or child. In cases where the mother experiences severe symptoms, a medical practitioner should make a diagnosis to diagnose and treat Hyperemesis gravidarum.
You should call your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Spotting or bleeding
- Blood in the vomit
- Fast heartbeat
- Frequent headaches
- Inability to keep food and liquid down.
Morning Sickness Prevention
Due to pregnancy's delicate nature, it is important to consult with your doctor if you opt for a drug approach treatment to prevent morning sickness.
Try out any of these simple steps to reduce your chance of developing morning sickness or reducing its severity
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid spicy foods
- Take prenatal vitamins at night
- Take regular short naps
- Eat small servings of foods
- Optimize proper, and efficient ventilation
- Drink water before and after meals.
Morning Sickness Treatment
It is advised that you give morning sickness enough time to diminish on its own. Nonetheless, there are few tricks that you can try to treat the symptoms. Some of these include:
- Get a prescription from your doctor: Often, pregnant women are advised not to use any drug in treating morning sickness symptoms but rather try alternative remedies. Regardless, you can get prescription medicine to treat some of the symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. Anti-nausea medications such as scopolamine are approved for use in pregnant women by the FDA.
- Use a Supplement: Prenatal vitamins are useful in replacing the nutrients you might be losing due to vomiting. Slow-release vitamins also reduce nausea symptoms, especially when taken with a meal.
- Wear Acupuncture Wristband: Some sea-band wristlets are used to treat seasickness, apply pressure on the acupuncture points on the inside of your wrist, and are used to reduce pregnancy nausea safely.
- Rest and Leisure: One of the easiest ways to treat morning sickness symptoms is adequate rest and leisure time. Stress and fatigue aggravate the symptoms and thus need to be combated.
- Optimize diet: Pregnancy Diet high in protein will reduce the incidence of vomiting and nausea. Additionally, bland, easy-to-digest solids, and carbonated drinks, especially those with lemon or ginger, will help you keep more food and liquid down and reduce the risk of indigestion and GERD.
- Stay Hydrated: Morning sickness symptoms can be easily lessened with proper hydration. Asides from drinking lots of water before and after meals, the expectant mother can also add fruits and veggies with high water content to her diet plan.
Morning Sickness FAQs
Is my pregnancy healthy if I don't have morning sickness?
Absolutely. Morning sickness is not a metric to measure the healthiness of a pregnancy. Several women go through the entire nine months of pregnancy without showing any common morning sickness symptoms.
How do I take care of morning sickness emergencies?
Pregnant women are always advised to be prepared for any situation. If you are experiencing severe morning sickness symptoms, it is recommended that you have some medications at hand. Additionally, have some backup plans if you need to vomit when you have no access to a bathroom.
What medications can I take for my morning sickness?
It is advised that pregnant women consult their doctor before taking any medication throughout the pregnancy. Usually, antihistamine drugs are prescribed to control nausea and vomiting. Also, prenatal vitamins come in handy in treating morning sickness symptoms.
Remember, you might not be able to do much in ultimately preventing morning sickness, as it is a response of your body to its new state. It is best advised that you welcome it and find your way around managing the symptoms rather than outrightly fighting it. This article has provided you with enough information to manage this condition effectively.
Morning sickness symptoms could show up in various forms, but the standard way to prevent and treat them remains the same across different individuals. Nonetheless, it is more vital that you remember to consult your doctor before adopting any treatment procedure. Your health and that of your unborn child matter!