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Managing Morning Sickness

What is ‘Morning Sickness’

The symptoms of morning sickness include nausea and vomiting.  Starting as early as week 4 of your pregnancy that queasy feeling of morning sickness may be one of the first pregnancy signs you notice. The good news for most women is nausea and vomiting of morning sickness will normally disappear after the first three months, but an unlucky few will have to endure it for most of their pregnancy. 

It’s not known exactly what causes morning sickness, but it’s thought to be related to your body’s reaction to all the changes that are starting to occur such as:

  • You’re producing increased amounts of hormones (for example, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), oestrogen and progesterone) to help support your pregnancy. These can be at higher than normal levels during the first few pregnancy months before the placenta has grown enough to take over supporting your baby.
  • Your blood pressure may be fluctuating
  • Your blood sugar level may be low

Morning sickness is a normal part of being pregnant and usually has no effect on yours or your baby’s health, unless it becomes severe and leads to dehydration which requires medical attention. In fact, having morning sickness in early pregnancy has been associated with a lower risk of miscarriage.

Tips for managing morning sickness

There is no ‘quick fix’ for morning sickness, but here are some tips that may help you manage your symptoms find relief from its miserable effects:

Things that may help

  • Try to eat small meals more often – being hungry may make your nausea worse
  • Eating a plain cracker or biscuit first thing in the morning (before you get out of bed) may help
  • Make sure your clothes are not too tight across your stomach
  • Try to keep hydrated, particularly if you have been vomiting – drink water or try some clear soup, weak tea or diluted juice. Sucking on an ice-cube is a good alternative if you are having trouble keeping anything down. 

 Things to avoid

  • Don’t take any medicines (including over the counter or health store products) before talking to your doctor or midwife
  • Avoid smells that may trigger your morning sickness – some people are affected by food smells so get someone else to help prepare and cook your food
  • Avoid moving around when you are feeling sick as this can make things worse 
  • Stay away from foods, such as fatty or spicy foods, that may make you feel nauseous.

When Morning sickness can become a problem

About 1 in 1000 women have severe morning sickness (called hyperemesis gravidarum) which can lead to dehydration and weight loss, and may affect the baby’s nutrition.  Morning sickness can also lead to depression and anxiety.  If you have nausea or vomiting that does not stop, have lost weight quickly or are feeling stressed or worried talk to your doctor or midwife.

Always talk to your midwife or doctor about any problems you may be concerned about.