Causes of Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
Although the nausea and vomiting that occurs during pregnancy is called morning sickness, the queasiness can occur at any time.
Hormonal changes are believed to contribute to morning sickness, but a true cause hasn’t been established. Higher estrogen levels along with human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG (a hormone produced by the placenta) are associated with nausea.
Morning sickness is more prevalent in women expecting multiples, likely due to the higher hCG levels that occur in these types of pregnancies.
Other factors thought to contribute to morning sickness are:
- Heightened sense of smell
- Slowed digestion
- Acid reflux
Symptoms of Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
The most prevalent symptom of morning sickness is nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting. Most women experience the symptoms in the morning hours, but they can occur at any time of day.
The queasiness is also most common during the early weeks of pregnancy, usually around 4 to 6 weeks after conception. The symptoms often disappear in the second trimester, although, for some women, the condition persists throughout pregnancy.
Very rarely, a woman can develop hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness associated with excessive vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration. This condition requires medical treatment. Your OBGYN will treat hyperemesis gravidarum through administration of IV fluids, anti-nausea medications and possibly hospitalization.
Treatment for Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
There is currently only one prescription drug approved by the FDA for mild to moderate cases of morning sickness; it is named Declegis. Some OBGYNs may recommend mild over-the-counter antihistamines, anti-nausea medications, or up to 100mg of Vitamin B6 with or without Unisom daily to reduce symptoms. You must talk with your doctor before taking any supplements or medications.
Preventing Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
Tips to avoid or reduce symptoms of morning sickness, you should:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Avoid irritating smells
- Opt for multiple small meals daily in place of 3 larger ones
- Keep crackers at the bedside to munch on before getting up in the morning
- Suck on hard candy pieces
- Increase fluid intake with popsicles, ice chips, ginger ale or ginger tea
- Take prenatal vitamins with a snack. If necessary change vitamin brands or try taking them in the evening before bed
- Consider using acupressure bands developed for motion sickness
- Avoid spicy or greasy foods