Morning sickness is a normal part of early pregnancy for about 80-90% of women. I think the term “morning sickness” was coined by working men who only saw their wives nausea in the mornings before they left for work. Many women I know have days when their nauseous feelings last all hours.
Not every woman experiences morning sickness, however, and if you are one of these fortunate ladies, please keep your good fortune to yourself out of pity for the rest of us.
Morning sickness is usually worse during the first trimester and very few women experience nausea throughout their entire pregnancy. Even if you are one of those few who feel sick throughout, you can still expect to have good days and bad days as morning sickness is not typically a constant thing. Only 1% of pregnant mothers experience excessive vomiting, known as ‘hyperemesis gravidarum’. For the rest of us, morning sickness is relatively short-lived and doesn’t harm us or our babies.
Sometimes morning sickness is triggered by a strong scent or odor – usually foods or substances that should be avoided anyway such as cigarettes, coffee, raw meat, strong cleaning chemicals, etc. I remember times when even the smell of a full trash can, or the perfume my Sunday School teacher wore, made me feel green. Morning sickness can cause vomiting or just flu-like nauseous feelings.
Staying well-hydrated and nourished is important to help combat morning sickness. I found that herbal tea was better than plain water for me. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day – even if you don’t feel like it. I had to set a timer and make sure I had a bite of something every hour on the hour and that seemed to help more than anything else curb the sick feeling.
Nibble something every couple of hours; fresh fruit, wheat crackers, yogurt, stir-fry veggies, and rice are all good choices that might help you. I found that trail mix, applesauce, and beef jerky were my go-to snacks during one pregnancy and helped me make sure I was getting enough nutrition during my first trimester. I also had relief using the preggo pops, hard candies with ginger flavoring to help relieve nauseous feelings.
As your body adjusts to the sudden rise in HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), known as “the pregnancy hormone”, most women will find their morning sickness subsides. This initial rise in HCG hormone happens when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus and is thought to cause the upset stomach most women experience as one of the first signs of pregnancy. There is a saying that strong morning sickness means a healthy baby and there is some truth to this old wife’s tale in that increased morning sickness can mean higher levels of HCG. It should also be noted that mothers carrying twins often experience more severe morning sickness for this same reason.
Take heart, dear mother, if you are struggling with morning sickness. It does get better! Usually, by the time you are well into your second trimester your nausea will begin to ease. Also, most women report that subsequent pregnancies are easier for them in terms of battling with morning sickness.