Nausea and vomiting are often the first indications that a woman is pregnant. While these symptoms of pregnancy are referred to as “morning sickness,” they don’t only occur in the morning. Morning sickness can occur any time during the day. While some pregnant women never experience a twinge of nausea, more than half of all women do experience morning sickness at some point during their pregnancy.
Causes of Morning Sickness
During pregnancy, many changes are taking place in a woman’s body. The increase in hormones that occurs during pregnancy can cause nausea, which can lead to vomiting. During pregnancy, a woman also has a heightened sense of smell. Foul odors can instantly make a woman gag and bring on a bout of morning sickness.
When Morning Sickness Occurs
Morning sickness can occur at any time, but it is most common during the first trimester of pregnancy. While morning sickness can occur as early as two weeks after conception, most women experience morning sickness between their sixth and 12th weeks of pregnancy. For some women, the symptoms are worse in the early morning and get better throughout the day. For others, morning sickness can last all day long.
Preventing Morning Sickness
Eating small meals every few hours throughout the day can help prevent morning sickness. Having something in your stomach at all times can help to keep stomach acids at bay, reducing the likelihood of nausea and heartburn. Avoiding smells and foods that trigger nausea can also help prevent morning sickness.
If you are experiencing morning sickness, speak with your healthcare provider about taking antacids. Antacids can be effective in combating pregnancy-related nausea. Sniffing and eating fresh lemons, eating crystallized ginger or ginger candies and drinking ginger ale–made from real ginger–can also help to relieve pregnancy-related nausea.
When to Call the Doctor
If you experience nausea or vomiting that prevents you from eating or from keeping foods down, or if you have a fever in conjunction with morning sickness, you should contact your healthcare provider. Hyperemesis gravidarum can be caused by severe nausea and vomiting; it can lead to weight loss and electrolyte imbalance. Mild forms can be treated with antacids and rest, but severe forms may require intravenous fluids.