Together with a missed period, morning sickness is often the first symptom of pregnancy, however not all expectant moms experience it in the same way. The exact cause of nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of pregnancy isn’t known, but research suggests a number of factors are involved.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes morning sickness, however oestrogen levels tend to be at their highest during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and this can heighten your sense of smell, which may explain why certain smells can make you feel sick.
Other factors which might cause morning sickness include:
- An increase in progesterone: As these hormone levels increase, there is less movement in your small intestine, oesophagus and stomach, which can cause nausea
- An increase in the human chorionic gonadotrophin hormone can lead to nausea and vomiting in the early stages of pregnancy
- A lack of vitamin B6 can cause morning sickness and a more severe form of the condition, hyperemesis gravidarum, which might require a stay in hospital to combat dehydration.
How Can I Treat My Morning Sickness?
If you’re struggling with morning sickness, there are a few simple lifestyle and diet changes you can make which will help relieve and prevent symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
- If you feel sick first thing in the morning, give yourself time to get up and out of bed slowly
- Eat a piece of dry toast or crackers before you get up in the morning
- Keep drinking plenty of fluids – water is best – and sipping “little and often” rather than big gulps
- Eat smaller meals more regularly, and aim for foods that are high carbohydrates (such as bread, rice and pasta) and low-fat
- Try eating savoury foods, such as toast, crackers and crisp bread, rather than sweet or spicy foods
- Eat cold meals rather than hot ones, as cold foods smell less
- Get as much rest as possible, if you’re tired it can make your symptoms worse
If you have persistent and severe nausea and vomiting, your doctor might recommend prescription medication. Don’t take any over-the-counter remedies or supplements without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first.
How Can I Prevent Morning Sickness?
Try and get the right amount of vitamin B6 you need through a healthy, balanced diet rather than taking supplements. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you which supplements are safe to take during pregnancy. Natural, whole-foods which are rich in vitamin B6 include: whole cereals (oats and wheat germ), brown rice, soya, bananas, peanuts, potatoes and milk.
See Your Doctor
If the problem persists, then we advise you to see your doctor.
Joanne Hart for HelloDoctor.com