5 Tips on Easing Discomfort
Morning sickness, or nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), affects 85 percent of pregnant women. Surprisingly, most women who experience morning sickness tend to have symptoms throughout the day. Nausea is most commonly reported, with only half of women experiencing vomiting.
The cause of morning sickness is unknown, but risk factors can include a family history of NVP and a history of motion sickness or migraine headaches. For most women, symptoms usually start in the second month of pregnancy and peak in severity by the third month. The good news: Only a very small number of women will go through morning sickness beyond the fourth month.
Although most women will have only mild symptoms, morning sickness that requires medical attention can include:
• Vomiting multiple times throughout the day
with an inability to drink fluids.
• Weight loss.
• Abdominal pain or cramping.
• Signs of dehydration, such as a lack of urination or feeling dizzy upon standing.
Many moms-to-be realize they do not need to see their healthcare provider for morning sickness but wonder how to relieve discomfort. Five simple steps follow.
1. Take a prenatal or multivitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid before you even become pregnant. Taking vitamins before and early in pregnancy may improve morning sickness.
2. Eat small meals throughout the day. Being hungry, having an empty stomach or eating a large meal can make nausea worse.
3. Try ginger lollipops, candies or tea. Ginger has been shown to relieve nausea in pregnant women.
4. Do not lie down right after you eat. The digestive tract is more active when you are at rest and you may focus more on mild symptoms during periods of inactivity.
5. Drink or eat only things that sound good to you. While good nutrition is an important part of a healthy pregnancy, most providers advise their patients to eat whatever they can keep down in the first few months.
Chemen Tate, MD, is a practicing physician and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at The Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.