Arguably, one of the worst symptoms that affects nearly 70% of all pregnant women is nausea in the early morning. You may be wondering why you’ve developed morning sickness, what causes it, and if there’s any way to prevent or treat it.
We know all the rewards and obstacles of pregnancy and how overwhelming of a time it can be. That’s why, here at 8 Sheep, we've put together a fact sheet for all the information you need to know about morning sickness.
What Is Morning Sickness During Pregnancy?
Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting that happens during pregnancy, especially in early pregnancy during the first trimester. It typically happens by nine weeks, with most symptoms improving by your second and third trimester.
Although it’s coined “morning sickness,'' you can unfortunately experience this at any time of the day. Don’t worry — you are not hurting the baby when you throw up, and it’s rare that this nausea and vomiting means you or the baby are sick.
Morning sickness is usually mild and goes away about midway through your pregnancy, or by the second trimester.
Most women who experience morning sickness will feel nauseous for a short amount of each day and may vomit once or twice. Some may experience nausea for several hours in severe cases with more frequent vomiting, while other lucky ones never feel nauseated during their pregnancy. Every woman and every pregnancy is different.
You generally don’t need to feel concerned if you’re experiencing a mild bout of morning sickness seemingly randomly — that’s perfectly normal. But definitely talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you think there is anything unusual about your morning sickness or if it starts becoming severe.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
No one really knows what truly causes morning sickness. But many experts seem to agree that it’s most likely due to a combination of physical and metabolic factors, such as:
- Hormonal changes and high levels of hormones like estrogen
- Fluctuations in blood pressure, especially low blood pressure
- Physical and biochemical changes as a result of pregnancy and developing your child
Who Is Most Affected By Morning Sickness?
Many women experience morning sickness, but there’s no common link that determines who will experience it or who will have more persistent morning sickness symptoms.
The only common trait is pregnancy, and most likely, the increased amount of hormones your body is making.
However, some women are more prone to it than others. Some of the potential risk factors include:
- If you are pregnant with multiple babies (i.e. twins, triplets, etc. — congratulations!)
- Having a personal history of severe morning sickness with a previous pregnancy
- Having a history of migraines
- Being prone to motion sickness
What Are the Symptoms of Morning Sickness?
As you probably can guess, with morning sickness, you are experiencing bouts of nausea and vomiting. Although it’s typically worse in the morning, it can strike at any time of the day.
As a result, you can experience a loss of appetite and even feel anxious. This is normal, so make sure to talk to your partner, friends, family, or healthcare provider about how you've been feeling – both physically and mentally.
One easy remedy to make morning sickness easier is to get support through it, and that starts with letting your loved ones know what you’re going through!
Does Morning Sickness Affect My Baby?
You are not hurting your baby from throwing up.
Vomiting and retching may strain your abdominal muscles and cause you aches or soreness, but the actual act of vomiting doesn’t hurt the developing baby.
In fact, numerous studies have shown that moderate morning sickness is associated with a reduced risk of miscarriage.
That said, you do want to watch your symptoms and make sure you aren’t becoming dehydrated after morning sickness, because that can cause complications for you and your baby.
What Are Some Complications From Morning Sickness?
One of the biggest complications of morning sickness is dehydration, leading to pregnancy complications if left untreated. However, keeping on top of your water intake, especially after throwing up, is the best way to prevent dehydration.
Some women experience a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).
Some complications of HG include:
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Extreme anxiety
- Dehydration, which can pose problems for you and your little one
Thankfully, less than 3% of women experience this. If you’re one of them, there’s no need to panic. This is only temporary, and there are ways to manage it:
- Eating small meals and high-protein snacks
- Eating crackers, toast, or dry cereal first thing in the morning
- Avoiding strong-smelling foods that can trigger nausea
- Avoiding high-fat or spicy foods
- Avoiding meals before lying down for bed
Many women experience morning sickness — know that you are not alone! However, trust your body because you know it best. If you think something is unusual and you may be experiencing something beyond morning sickness, don’t hesitate to reach out to your OB-GYN or healthcare provider.
Is There Any Way To Prevent Morning Sickness?
Unfortunately, there aren’t really any surefire ways to prevent morning sickness, but there are a few things that can help!
- Eat a few crackers or toast in the morning to help settle your stomach — this tip isn’t limited to just those experiencing HG. Keep a few crackers at your bedside and eat a couple as you get up for the day. This small snack can be a helpful way to balance your stomach and keep you from feeling queasy, but keep in mind that it might not be the perfect solution.
- Make sure to take it easy in the morning as you get up, too. If you’re prone to motion sickness, getting up too quickly or moving around too fast, especially in the morning, can aggravate morning sickness.
- Avoid spicy foods and fatty foods. Bland foods like bananas, rice, dry toast, plain baked potato, gelatin, broth, tofu, or applesauce are typically better for upset stomachs.
- Eat healthy snacks between meals such as yogurt, peanut butter on apple slices or celery, cheese, milk, or nuts.
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and try some caffeine-free ginger tea to settle your stomach.
- Get plenty of rest!
- Wear loose-fitting clothing that isn’t tight around your abdomen.
- Eat five or six small meals a day instead of three large ones. An empty stomach can also trigger nausea.
- Opt for high-carbohydrate foods, which are generally well-tolerated by the stomach.
- Be aware when cooking and preparing your own food if sight, texture, or smell can trigger your nausea as well.
- Try our Organic Bedtime Tea, which is a calming chamomile tea made to help you relax.
There are different ways to manage morning sickness, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. If you’re thinking about taking medication, reach out to your doctor to make sure it is safe to take, even if it’s over-the-counter medication like nausea medication.
If you’ve vomited, please make sure to replenish with liquids and high-carbohydrate and high-protein meals.
When Should I See a Doctor?
Severe vomiting is not a normal aspect of pregnancy, so make sure to seek medical care right away. Make sure to call your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Severe nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
- Weight loss
- Unusual-looking vomit
- Symptoms of severe dehydration, such as lightheadedness, weakness, and intense muscle cramps
Chances are if you are experiencing mild or moderate morning sickness, there is nothing to fear. This is a common symptom of pregnancy that is normal and temporary. Make sure to keep on top of your liquids to prevent becoming dehydrated.
If you’re experiencing morning sickness, you’re not alone. Around half to two-thirds of women report experiencing morning sickness to some degree.
We are here to remind you that it’s temporary and normal, and that you are not hurting your baby if you experience mild bouts of it.
At 8 Sheep Organics, our goal is to help you experience your nine months of pregnancy as comfortably as you can. We hope this article helped!