Many women experience what is commonly called morning sickness. Around 8 out 10 newly pregnant women will experience nausea, with or without vomiting. While for most this is simply an annoying fact of life. For others it can have a substantial impact on their lives for up to three months or even longer.
Who is at risk from morning sickness?
As every professional maternity nurse knows, there are several key factors that suggest you might be at risk from morning sickness. These include.
- Having had morning sickness with a previous pregnancy.
- A history of motion or travel sickness.
- Having a BMI of 30 or above.
- Multiple pregnancy (twins or triplets).
Preventing morning sickness
While many view morning sickness as a fact of life. There is a lot that can be done to prevent it. Our maternity nurses have a checklist of techniques that can help keep morning sickness at bay.
- Get up slowly. Some women find that eating something like a dry cracker or a piece of unbuttered toast even before they get out of bed can reduce the symptoms of morning sickness.
- Schedule rest periods. Because nausea is made worse by tiredness. Actually planning to rest during early pregnancy can keep morning sickness at bay.
- Cold food. Some women experience nausea because pregnancy changes their sense of smell. Meaning that hot food floods their olfactory system with information that make them feel ill.
- Wear loose comfortable clothing. Tight waistbands can make nausea much worse.
- Avoid greasy foods. Baked potatoes and simple pasta dishes often work better.
- Avoid cooking . It sounds ridiculous but it’s much easier to eat food if you haven’t cooked it.
Dealing with morning sickness
Severe nausea and vomiting can make life miserable. If you’ve tried out the solutions we’ve suggested and they haven’t helped, it’s time to talk to your GP or midwife about anti-sickness remedies. The most common treatments are anti-emetics and antihistamines. Anti-emetics have side effects which are rare but an include muscle spasms. Not all antihistamines are safe to take in pregnancy so it’s important to take advice from a medical professional.
Some women find ginger supplements can help reduce nausea. Although there are no trials that have proved the claim. Because ginger isn’t considered to be a supplement in the UK there are no licensed medical preparations. A good pharmacist can help you find a preparation that will work for you.
While it can seem obvious that you have morning sickness. It’s vital to get a proper medical diagnosis as other conditions such as a urinary tract infection can cause similar symptoms.
Above all remember how important it is to be able to talk to somebody who can sympathise with your situation. It really helps to be able to discuss any aspect of your pregnancy with someone who can help you come to terms with any aspect of the way your body is changing.