Nausea is very common in the early weeks of pregnancy. Some women feel sick, and some are sick. It can happen at any time of day – or even all day long. For many women the nausea and sickness will then improve around the 12th to 14th weeks; but unfortunately some continue to experience sickness throughout their pregnancy.
Hormonal changes in the first three months are probably one cause. Symptoms can be worse when you first wake up, hence the ‘morning sickness’. This can be because you have not eaten and your blood sugars are low. Some experts believe this is the body’s way to make you rest as this can be the one thing that makes a difference.
It can be one of the most trying problems in early pregnancy. It comes at a time when you may be feeling tired and emotional, and when many people around you may not realise that you are pregnant.
- If you feel sick first thing in the morning, give yourself time to get up slowly. If possible, eat something, like dry toast or a plain biscuit, before you get up.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep whenever you can. Feeling tired can make the sickness worse.
- Eat small amounts of food often rather than several large meals, but do not stop eating.
- Drink plenty of fluids – try sipping regularly to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid foods and smells that make you feel worse. It helps if someone else can cook. If not, go for bland, non-greasy foods, such as baked potatoes, pasta and milk puddings, which are simple to prepare.
- Natural ingredients such as camomile and ginger can help so try tea, ginger ale and crystallised ginger or ginger capsules, which are available in health food shops. Ginger biscuits may not help as they may not contain much natural ginger but lots of calories.
- Sea bands can also reduce nausea by pressing on the acupuncture points on the inner arm. It is important to wear them in the right place – 3 fingers up from the crease on the wrist between the tendons (see Sea-Band.com).
- Ask those close to you for extra help and support.
- Distract yourself as much as you can. Often the nausea gets worse the more you think about it.
- Wear comfortable clothes. Tight waistbands can make you feel worse.
- Avoid smoking as this can aggravate the sickness.
- If you are sick, rinse your mouth with plain water to prevent the acid in your vomit attacking your teeth.
Contact your GP or midwife if:
- None of the remedies mentioned above seem to work.
- You vomit more than four times a day.
- You are loosing weight.
- Your vomit contains blood or looks like ground coffee.
- You lose more liquid than you can keep down.
- You are thirsty and not passing much urine.
Some pregnant women experience severe nausea and vomiting. This condition is known as hyperemesis gravidarum and needs specialist treatment.
The doctor will assess you for signs of dehydration. They may prescribe an anti-sickness medication. They may refer you for assessment by a specialist so that you can be given intravenous fluids (a drip) to rehydrate you.