What's Good About Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is an experience shared by most
women who have been pregnant: it is the mild to severe nausea or queasiness
that comes with or without vomiting in the first trimester of pregnancy, often
before a woman is even aware of having conceived. It often occurs in the morning,
when HCG levels are usually the highest, but can occur at any time of the day.
It is believed to be caused by rising levels of HCG, but may be exacerbated
or triggered by low blood sugar. It may also be exacerbated by stress, traveling,
motion sickness, and certain foods or odors. Common foods or odors which trigger
morning sickness include those which may have never bothered you before: coffee,
cigarette smoke, cleaning products, nail polish, gasoline, meat, and in my case,
my husband's shaving cream! Some women can tolerate eating only one type of
food and have difficulty tolerating any odors related to cooking.
Skipping meals is the worst thing you can do when
you have morning sickness since morning sickness generally occurs on an empty
stomach. Women often have a normal or increased appetite after the wave of
nausea or vomiting passes. Eat frequent, small meals. Some women find that
morning nausea and vomiting are set off by brushing their teeth shortly after
they wake up. . .or by drinking water afterwards. Brushing your teeth after
breakfast can help prevent this, and is probably better for your teeth (which
do need extra care during pregnancy).
Morning sickness may be accompanied by a mild headache, dizziness, or abdominal
discomfort. It is NOT characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, or
fever; if these symptoms are present, you should contact your physician. Remember
that just because you're pregnant and have nausea and/or vomiting, it's not
necessarily due to morning sickness. You could have the flu, food poisoning,
appendicitis or anything else that causes nausea or vomiting in a non-pregnant
woman. In fact, acute appendicitis is the most common non-obstetric surgical
condition in pregnancy; gallbladder surgery is second. The risk of gallstones
and other gallbladder problems actually increases in pregnancy as well.
Levels of HCG peak in the 8th - 9th week of pregnancy;
generally morning sickness diminishes by the 12th - 14th
week of pregnancy and concludes by the 16th week of pregnancy. For
a minority of patients, morning sickness continues daily for nine months with
fluctuations in severity.