Morning sickness is a term used to describe symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, food aversions, and fatigue commonly felt by most pregnant women during the first trimester. Around 50% of all women experience it.
If you have morning sickness, you might wake up and feel bad, or you feel perfectly fine until you smell one specific scent that triggers it. That trigger scent can even be something you loved before. For example, some women vomit when they smell greasy pork, others when they smell melon, and some even say it’s the smell of their partner.
When does morning sickness strike?
Morning sickness can occur at any time of the day. It can start as early as three weeks after conception.
How long does it last?
It often lasts until about week 12, and the symptoms will gradually fade by the end of the first trimester for most women. However, some women may be affected by nausea and vomiting throughout their pregnancy. This condition is known as hyperemesis gravidarum and can lead to dehydration. So, it’s important to let your doctor know if your nausea and vomiting seem to go on for too long.
What causes morning sickness?
Some doctors think morning sickness is a good sign because it means the placenta is developing well. Elevated levels of hormones like hCG and estrogen may play a role in the symptoms. Other possibilities include a heightened sense of smell and a sensitive stomach.
How can you treat morning sickness?
Try to have foods rich in vitamin B6, such as avocado or bananas. Taking a vitamin B supplement may also reduce your nausea if you can swallow the pills, but they probably won’t prevent you from vomiting. A typical dose of vitamin B6 for morning sickness is 10 mg to 25 mg, 3 times a day. If you plan to take some medications, it’s important to check with your doctor because some pills can be dangerous to take while you’re pregnant.
Other ways to deal with morning sickness:
- Eat more often but smaller quantity per meal
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Avoid processed and fatty food
- Drink plenty of water
- Drink ginger water or ginger tea – ginger has natural anti-nausea properties that can reduce your symptoms
- When you can’t stand certain smells, try sniffing fresh scents such as lemon or other scents you find refreshing
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat, MD. (1 February 2019)