- Foods as Remedies
- When to See a Doctor
- Severe Symptoms
- Prognosis and Outlook
What is morning sickness?
The condition is neither harmful nor dangerous, but it certainly is uncomfortable and annoying. That’s more than enough reason to do something about it.
Causes of morning sickness
It may be caused in part by a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Morning sickness is worse in women who are having twins or triplets. Growing more babies means that you will have an increase in your hCG levels.
Many doctors actually consider morning sickness to be a good sign. It shows that the placenta is developing well. It may also be nature’s way of encouraging you to slow down and take it easy during the first trimester of your pregnancy.
Preventing morning sickness
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid people who are sick
- Avoid cat litter boxes and other pungent smells
Foods as remedies for morning sickness
Regular morning sickness can be effectively managed with a few dietary changes. This means changing the times you eat in addition to what you eat.
Here are some foods known to reduce nausea during pregnancy:
Foods high in folic acid
Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is the most important nutrient to eat during your first trimester.
Doctors usually recommend that B9 is taken as a prenatal vitamin. Folic acid can also be included in your diet through food. You can find high levels of folic acid in dark, leafy vegetables like spinach, or in beans, eggs, and liver.
Ginger naturally reduces nausea symptoms and should be a mainstay as long as you experience morning sickness. It’s perhaps best consumed in the form of tea, brewed in boiling hot water with a little honey.
Bedside crackers and toast
There is actually some truth to the morning in morning sickness. Nausea is much more likely when you wake up with an empty stomach. Rather than jump straight out of bed, keep some crackers or bread nearby and eat a little when you first wake up. This will help prevent your nausea before it starts.
Frequent small meals
Avoiding an empty stomach should be your goal. Early in your pregnancy, the hormone progesterone slows down your digestion significantly. This means that you’ll often feel either full or very hungry and not much in between. Eating five to six mini-sized meals over the course of your day is a good way to prevent pregnancy-related nausea.
There are also many other foods that are great for morning sickness, such as:
- Greek yogurt
- Sweet potatoes
When to see a doctor for morning sickness
Morning sickness is totally normal, but if you have the following symptoms you should see your doctor as soon as possible:
- Vomiting more than four times in a single day
- Vomiting blood
- Vomiting everything you drink
- Weight loss of more than 2 pounds
These could be symptoms of a more serious kind of morning sickness.
Severe morning sickness hyperemesis gravidarum
There is a condition related to morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. Its outward symptoms are similar to morning sickness, but it involves vomiting multiple times per day and a resulting weight loss.
Hyperemesis gravidarum usually begins during the fourth or fifth week of your pregnancy. It is a rare condition that can last well beyond the 12th week. It mostly affects women who are carrying more than one baby or have a history of motion sickness and migraines.
Check with your healthcare provider if any of these apply to you.
Pregnancy and Parenting Resources
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American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy."
American Pregnancy Association: "Morning Sickness Remedies."
Familydoctor.org: "Morning Sickness."
Harvard School of Public Health: "Folate (Folic Acid) - Vitamin B9."
KidsHealth from Nemours: "Severe Morning Sickness (Hyperemesis Gravidarum)."
Mayo Clinic: "Morning sickness."
Quarterly Review of Biology: "Morning sickness: a mechanism for protecting mother and embryo."
Stanford Children's Health: "Morning Sickness."
Wexner Medical Center: "The nutrition cheat sheet for morning sickness."