If you’ve noticed that since your mom’s been pregnant that she’s been hogging the bathroom A LOT in the mornings, cut her some slack.  Many women go through morning sickness when they are pregnant and while it is usually not serious, it can make things harder for moms-to-be. Read on to find out more about it!

So What is Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness is the nausea (with or without vomiting) that many women experience when they are pregnant.  And although it is called morning sickness, it can happen at any time throughout the day or night.  For most women, morning sickness is the worst in the first three months of their pregnancy then gradually fades as the pregnancy advances.

How do You Know if You Have Morning Sickness?

The primary symptoms of morning sickness is nausea and sometimes vomiting due to being pregnant.  Most women realize that this is a normal symptom of pregnancy and that no treatment is needed.

However, it is recommended that a woman call her doctor if she:

  • Has unusually severe nausea or persistent vomiting
  • Cannot hold down fluids and is showing signs of dehydration like a dry mouth, dark urine or light-headedness
  • Has a fever or increased heart rate

What are the Causes and Risk Factors for Morning Sickness?

You might be surprised to hear this, but doctors still don’t know exactly why many pregnant women get morning sickness!  Most doctors believe, however, that part of the problem is because of the hormonal changes that take place in a woman’s body during pregnancy. Two hormones in particular — estrogen and a human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone are the most likely suspects.

Sometimes, however, women can get nausea and vomiting due to another problem not related to the pregnancy, such as a problem with the liver or the thyroid gland.  These conditions will need to be treated before the nausea will go away.

While any pregnant woman can get nausea while she is pregnant, some women are at a higher risk, including women:

  • Who already have sensitive stomachs
  • Who have had morning sickness with previous pregnancies
  • Who have problems with migraines
  • Who experienced nausea if taking medications with estrogen
  • Who are pregnant with more than one baby (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Who have a family history
  • Who are carrying a girl (though no one knows why!)

Is Morning Sickness Serious?

Generally, morning sickness is considered to be a normal part of pregnancy. However, if it is severe enough it can lead to problems, including:

  • Low birth weight for the baby, due to lack of nutrients while in the womb
  • Damage to the throat (esophagus) due to a lot of vomiting

 

How is Morning Sickness Diagnosed and Treated?

Doctors will diagnose morning symptoms based on signs and symptoms that a woman reports. However, if they suspect something else might be wrong – such as problems with the liver — they will sometimes order blood tests to be done.  They might also order a urine sample, since some women who have urinary tract infections can also have nausea.  Sometimes they will also do an ultrasound if they suspect multiple babies.

Many time women can cope with morning sickness with at-home remedies (see below). If not, the doctor might prescribe medications such as:

  • B-6 supplements, which have been shown to reduce nausea naturally
  • Antihistamines which can also help to bring down nausea (and are also used for motion sickness)
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • For severe morning sickness, a drug called Diclegis may also be prescribed

Are there Any At-Home Remedies for Morning Sickness?

Fortunately for your mom, women have been coming up with ways to deal with morning sickness for a long time — and here are some of the following tricks that can help:

  • Eating small, frequent meals and snacking often; morning sickness can get worse on an empty stomach
  • Keeping crackers by the bedside and eating them before getting out of bed in the morning to keep the nausea away
  • Keeping well-hydrated (which is good for a pregnancy anyways!)
  • Eating foods that are high in proteins or carbohydrates
  • Avoiding fatty, greasy, fried, spicy or acidic foods that can upset the stomach
  • Avoiding any foods that seem to trigger nausea
  • Sipping fluids throughout the day instead of drinking a lot all at once
  • Eating cold or room temperature foods which tend to have less of an aroma
  • Brushing teeth and rinsing out the mouth after a meal
  • Avoiding lying down right after a meal
  • Getting out of bed slowly in the morning

Are There Any Alternative Ways to Treat Morning Sickness?

Many women use complementary and/or alternative treatments in order to get relief from their symptoms in a more natural way.  Some of these treatments include:

  • Some women will wear wristbands that put pressure on certain pressure points to help reduce nausea; some of this wristbands will help stimulate the pressure point with a low-level electrical current; this practice is called acustimulation and does appear to help some women control their morning sickness.
  • This refers to the ancient Chinese art of placing tiny needles on different pressure points throughout the body to keep nausea at bay.
  • Ginger tea, ginger lollipops or ginger ale are all tasty ways that women can take advantage of this spice which does indeed appear to help treat morning sickness and other forms of nausea.
  • Many women find that certain smells like citrus or mint can help ease a queasy stomach as well.

So be patient with your mom in the mornings — morning sickness can make it hard to start the day.  Help her out by not complaining if  you have to wait a long time for the bathroom!