Bouts of nausea and occasional vomiting in the mornings are common symptoms of pregnancy, often referred to as morning sickness. However, morning sickness doesn't always occur in the morning—you may experience extreme bouts of nausea at any time of the day. It's common to first experience morning sickness about a month after getting pregnant, with symptoms later subsiding around the fourth month of pregnancy. Unfortunately, sometimes nausea will be present throughout your entire pregnancy and will only end when you deliver your baby. Morning sickness can be an extremely annoying part of pregnancy, but it is not typically dangerous. To help you cope with your symptoms and avoid nausea during pregnancy, here are some tips to help you.
Eat Bland Food as Soon as You Wake in the Morning
Many pregnant women find that eating bland food in the morning helps them overcome their nausea. Crackers are a common choice, but toast, rice, and bananas can also be effective at relieving morning sickness. You should try to eat something as soon as you wake up, even if you don't regularly experience nausea in the morning. It can stabilize your blood sugar and reduce symptoms throughout the day.
Snack Frequently throughout the Day and Avoid Large Meals
Eating small snacks throughout the day can help you avoid nausea, as sometimes having an empty stomach can make nausea symptoms worse. By choosing healthy snacks such as fruits or nuts, you can also get the nutrients you need to support a growing baby. You should also try to avoid eating a large amount of food all at once, as large meals can increase your nausea symptoms and the chances of vomiting.
Avoid Trigger Foods
Some pregnant women find that the smell of certain foods will trigger bouts of nausea. During your pregnancy, don't visit restaurants that serve those foods and ask your family members to keep them out of the house. Sometimes even looking at these foods can trigger nausea—in this case, you may want to ask a friend or family member to do your grocery shopping for you.
Ask an OB-GYN for Help
If your nausea symptoms are so extreme that you are unable to function or keep food down, schedule an appointment with an OB-GYN. There are two important reasons to do so.
The first reason is that prescription medication is available that helps alleviate the symptoms of nausea. An OB-GYN may prescribe medication when you are experiencing extreme bouts of nausea. Note that you should not take any over-the-counter medication or herbal supplements without asking your OB-GYN if it is safe to take during pregnancy, as some medications can harm a developing baby.
The second reason is that you may be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, which affects a small number of women during pregnancy. This condition is characterized by extreme nausea along with frequent vomiting. The vomiting can be so frequent and severe that it causes dehydration, which can put your baby at risk. You may also lose dangerous amounts of weight due to the inability to keep food in your stomach. If you do have hyperemesis gravidarum, your OB-GYN will likely prescribe intravenous fluids along with anti-nausea medication.
Not every trick to alleviate morning sickness works for every woman, so it's important to experiment until you find one that works for you. If nothing works for you and your nausea is severely affecting your life or if you begin to experience the symptoms of dehydration, schedule an appointment with an OB-GYN like Zeng, Xiao-Mei MD.