Morning sickness can rear its ugly head in a variety of manners, from nausea and vomiting to lightheadedness and dehydration, and it’s estimated that 80 percent of all pregnant women experience at least some symptoms. So what can you do to cope?
All day sickness
As any woman who has experienced morning sickness can attest, it’s certainly not limited to just the mornings.
From sunrise to sunset and even overnight, morning sickness is rarely exclusive to the first few hours of the day, despite its misleading name.
According to Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service (CYWHS) in South Australia, around nine out of 10 women will stop feeling the effects of morning sickness once they reach 16 weeks gestation. Some women, however, aren’t that lucky.
While 90 percent of women move through their second trimesters with barely an upset tummy, the other 10 percent suffer through weeks 20, 25, 30 and even 35 with every morning sickness symptom known to man (and woman).
Just ask Tanielle, a 29-year-old mother of two from the Gold Coast. “With my first pregnancy, I was sick until week 20,” she says. “Four years later when I was pregnant with my daughter, I had morning sickness through the entire pregnancy — right up until the day she was born.”
What causes morning sickness?
While the cause is not fully known, researchers believe morning sickness is due to the influx of pregnancy hormones that surge through your system, particularly during your first trimester.
In general, morning sickness is normal, and doctors have found that it poses no risk to the baby, unless the morning sickness is very severe.
Betterhealth.vic.gov.au reports that vomiting and retching may strain the abdominal muscles and cause localised aching and soreness, but the foetus remains unharmed, as it is well-cushioned inside the sac of amniotic fluid.
Prolonged vomiting — that is, when it’s so frequent that it eventually leads to dehydration, weight loss and hospitalisation — can deprive the baby of proper nutrition, however, and it increases the risk of the baby being underweight at birth.
Tips to ease the pain
- Sip on dry ginger ale or flat lemonade.
- Try to avoid going more than a few hours without eating. This may mean you need to eat smaller, more regular meals rather than sticking with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Snack on dry crackers or plain biscuits and a cup of tea. Some women find that it helps to keep a supply of crackers by their beds and in their purses, so they can dip in when necessary.
- Book an acupressure appointment; the therapist will apply pressure to the proper points for combating nausea. The treatment is said to relieve symptoms within 24 to 48 hours.
- If possible, avoid fatty foods and caffeine.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your fluids up; at least six to eigh glasses a day is best.
- For some women, sucking crushed ice is helpful in alleviating nausea.