Dealing with morning sickness
Nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting, is a common symptom of early pregnancy.
About 50 to 70 per cent of pregnant women experience it in the first trimester. The good news is that this is completely normal, in fact, it’s usually a sign that your pregnancy is healthy.
The condition has been dubbed ‘morning sickness’ since that’s often the time when the symptoms are their worst. However, this does not mean that symptoms cannot occur at any other time of the day.
It’s believed that the symptoms are caused by the pregnancy hormone hCG, which is produced by the developing placenta and which helps to maintain the pregnancy. Other factors which cause morning sickness include low blood sugar and increased stomach acid. Stress and fatigue can also be causes.
- Keep some plain crackers, rice cakes or even a piece of chocolate at your bedside and eat something the moment you awaken, to raise your blood sugar before you get up.
- Opt for small meals; eat five to six small meals to avoid an empty stomach and to stabilise your blood sugar.
- Include sufficient amounts of protein in your diet (meats, fish, eggs, cheese) and complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, grains) to meet the requirements of your developing baby.
- Some nutrition experts recommend taking 50-100 milligrams of a vitamin B6 supplement to prevent nausea. Take your regular prenatal vitamin as well.
- Avoid spicy or greasy foods.
- Ensure you are getting adequate rest
Coping with morning sickness
- Relax. Breathe slowly – in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Determine the foods and smells that make you feel queasy and avoid these as much as possible.
- Suck or chew ice chips, or suck on a freshly cut lemon.
- If brushing your teeth makes you gag, try a mouthwash instead. Use it frequently to keep your mouth fresh.
- To neutralise the acid in your stomach, try a glass of milk or two calcium tablets.
- Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea. Grate it on vegetables or other foods.
- Drink chamomile or ginger tea.
- Maintain your fluid intake.
If your symptoms of nausea and vomiting are persistent (occurring more than once or twice each day), prevent you from eating or drinking altogether, or continue past your first trimester, report this to your healthcare provider.