Morning sickness

Your body is behaving like never before; you're throwing up at the smell of beer. Not hungover? Guess you're pregnant then. Let us help you cope.

Woman clutching her stomach

Yes, even people with manicures can get morning sickness.

What is it?

A common and unpleasant part of being pregnant for many women. It can range from feeling queasy to finding it almost impossible to keep food down without chucking it up again. Women often feel most nauseous on waking, hence the term ‘morning sickness’, but it can actually strike at any time of day.

What’s the cause?

In general, it’s linked to the increased hormone activity of early pregnancy, while stress and exhaustion are also sometimes blamed. Symptoms can appear as early as the fifth week of pregnancy and last until the 16th week, but there is no firm rule here. Some women are unfortunate enough to suffer throughout the duration of their pregnancy.

Who is affected?

Sources show that 60-80% of pregnant woman experience symptoms. That queasiness means you’re producing all the right natural chemicals to make the pregnancy progress properly – in fact, women who experience morning sickness are believed to have less chance of miscarriage.

Are there any risks?

Although morning sickness is regarded as a normal part of the pregnancy process, if you experience prolonged and severe vomiting then consult your doctor or midwife. You run the risk of severe dehydration, which makes vomiting worse. In rare cases, it could even cause kidney failure.

Deal with it

There are lots of ways to help keep morning sickness at bay. Every expectant mother will find their own method, but here are some popular methods. Just be sure to consult your midwife or healthcare provider if you’re considering any of the following to be sure it’s right for you:

  • Eat what you want, whenever you want it. However, try to stick to a balanced diet and avoid skipping meals when you’re feeling grim, as food can often help to ease the nausea;
  • Steer clear of strong smells (as pregant women are often oversensitive to odours). When cooking, be sure to ventilate the room;
  • Avoid coffee and tea, or any caffeinated product. Peppermint tea is often said to ease morning sickness, as is food or drink containing ginger;
  • Eat before you get up in the morning, while you’re still in bed (at least you’ve got the perfect excuse for brekkie in bed). Morning sickness sufferers recommned crackers or dry cereal;
  • Get plenty of rest, as some morning sickness sufferers find the condition is worse when they’re tired.

Photo of woman’s stomach by Shutterstock.

Next Steps

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015