Morning or Pregnancy Sickness
Why am I feeling sick or throwing up?
Nausea (feeling queasy and sick) and vomiting (being sick) is the most well-known symptom of early pregnancy. It starts in most women when they are roughly 5 or 6 weeks pregnant, but for some it can start as early as 2 weeks after conception.
Experts think that the main reason you get nausea and vomiting during your pregnancy is due to the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) that circulates around your body.
Some experts also believe that the changes taking place in your body could also contribute to pregnancy sickness. Other changes could include:
- A change to the senses. This may mean that you find some tastes and smells make you feel sick.
- Having higher levels of the hormone progesterone. This causes your blood pressure to fall because progesterone acts to relax your muscles and widen your blood vessels.
- More relaxed stomach muscles. This means you have less stomach acid, which slows down your digestion.
- Having higher levels of the hormone oestrogen, which makes your liver work harder to break foodstuffs down.
Will I just feel sick in the morning?
Some people call it morning sickness, but it can happen at any time of the day, sometimes for the whole day and even during the night. In fact, the nickname 'morning sickness' is very misleading.
Does everyone get pregnancy sickness?
About eight out of ten pregnant women will feel sick at some point and half will throw up at least once. If you are very lucky, you may never feel sick at all.
If you are expecting two or more babies, the levels of pregnancy hormones in your blood will be even higher and so the nausea and vomiting you may experience could be more severe.
How long will my pregnancy sickness last?
Levels of the hCG hormone are highest for the first 3 months (trimester) of pregnancy. So the good news is that although pregnancy sickness can feel pretty awful, it should get much better around 12 to 14 weeks. If you are very unlucky though, you may have sickness all through your pregnancy.
What can I do about my pregnancy sickness?
Unfortunately, it is impossible to get rid of your sickness as there is no magic cure, but there are a few things that might help to ease the symptoms:
- Eat little and often. Have small meals and frequent snacks to avoid your tummy from becoming empty and to prevent your sugar levels from dropping. For snacks, keep foods like dried fruits, rich tea or ginger biscuits, fruit, vegetables and nuts to hand. Try to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet during pregnancy.
- If you feel really sick when you wake up in the morning, try eating something bland before you get out of bed, like dry toast or a biscuit.
- Herbal teas, like peppermint or ginger, can help.
- Get a fresh lemon, cut it in half and give it a good sniff.
- Keep up your fluid levels - keep sipping on water, especially if you have thrown up to make sure you don't become dehydrated.
- Brush your teeth regularly in the day as the refreshing taste of the toothpaste can help to combat the metallic taste in your mouth.
- Go for a walk, taking big, deep breaths of fresh air.
- Move slowly as sudden movements may make you feel queasy.
- Avoid getting too hot. Sucking on an ice cube can help relieve nausea.
- Acupuncture wristbands work for some - these are normally used to prevent travel sickness and so you can find these in the travel section in high street chemists.
- Try not to get too tired or stressed out.
Should I be worried about my pregnancy sickness?
Normally pregnancy sickness is not something to be overly worried about and your healthcare team shouldn't need to get involved. However, if you are being sick more than once a day for a number of days in a row, if you can't eat or drink without being sick or if you are losing weight, you should speak to your doctor or midwife right away. The main concerns would be that you may be getting dehydrated, or that you might have developed a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarium (excessive pregnancy sickness) which needs medical treatment.
Try not to worry about the affect your sickness will have on your baby - nature is very clever and your baby will take all the nutrients he or she needs to develop normally. So however bad you feel, and however much you are managing to eat or drink, your baby should be doing fine.
Feeling sick when you are pregnant is thought to be a good sign that your hormone levels are high and your pregnancy is strong. But it is important to know that it is completely normal for about two in ten women who have successful pregnancies never to feel sick at all.
If you are suffering with pregnancy sickness, try to remember that it should get better with time.