Vomiting in Pregnancy


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Vomiting, nausea and morning sickness are often characteristic of pregnancy. Not everyone goes through it. But it is perfectly normal to be experiencing it.

Morning Sickness During Pregnancy

Morning sickness can be one of the initial signs of pregnancy and makes its first appearance around the 6th week, peaking around the eighth and ninth weeks. Morning sickness generally tapers off by the 12th week and may disappear completely by the 14th week. Vomiting can occur at any time of the day as many women report that nausea during pregnancy is worse in the morning while others experience it throughout the day. The intensity may vary from one woman to another, and the queasiness may come and go without warning.

Apart from the uncomfortable feeling, morning sickness or even mild nausea is enough to leave you feeling exhausted and will wear you down quickly. Mothers-to-be get miserable at the thought of the approaching morning nausea and hate to leave the bed, fearing another vomiting session at the start of the day.

Is Vomiting During Pregnancy Normal?

Although morning sickness is not a very pleasant experience, it is considered to be normal during a healthy pregnancy. This pregnancy-related condition affects a majority of pregnant women, with the symptoms reducing as time passes by. However, you should immediately get in touch with your doctor if the severity and frequency of vomiting increases. If one persistently vomits through the day and loses weight, she runs the risk of dehydration. Also if this condition is ignored or left untreated, the baby and mother’s health will be compromised.

What Are The Causes Of Vomiting And Nausea In Pregnancy?

While there is no single cause responsible for vomiting and nausea in pregnancy, there are a few that are common and affect a majority of pregnant women. Increased hormone levels of hCG are one common reason for vomiting during pregnancy. Also, digestion loses efficiency as the muscles of the digestive tract relax with high levels of oestrogen and progesterone in the body. Pregnancy also enhances the sense of smell which makes you react to the faintest smells around you. Since during such times you may feel like skipping meals, this could lead to a nauseous and empty feeling.

Let us examine a few probable causes of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy in detail:

1. Rise In hCG Levels: The Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormone rises quickly during the early stages of pregnancy. The rise of hCG can be linked to nausea and vomiting as the timing of both the occurrences is quite close, especially since the nausea peaks around the same time.

2. Multiple gestation: Carrying twins or triplets pushes the hCG levels higher, leading to bouts of nausea.

3. Oestrogen: Like other hormones, oestrogen levels go up too, especially during the initial stages of pregnancy, and are a possible cause of morning sickness.

4. Growing Sensitivity To Smells And Odour: Newly pregnant women often can smell things from afar and are overwhelmed by the aroma which could trigger the gag reflex in an instant. Research points out that this could be a result of higher oestrogen levels.

5. Sensitive Digestion: Few women are able to handle the changes of early pregnancy, especially when the digestive tract becomes sensitive towards all kinds of food and their tastes. Also, the presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the stomach stimulates vomiting and causesnausea.

6. Stress: Vomiting and nausea can also be a result of stress or rather the response to stress. Women who are psychologically predisposed to having morning sickness are more likely to experience it than others.

7. Maternal Genetics: Women whose mothers experienced morning sickness are more likely to experience it.

8. History of Motion Sickness: Women who suffer from motion sickness and migraines are more likely to experience morning sickness.

9. Position of the Corpus Luteum: ltrasound studies indicate that if the corpus luteum is located in the right ovary, there are higher chances of experiencing nausea and morning sickness .

10. High Intake of Fat: Women who consume higher quantities of unsaturated fats before pregnancy are more likely to experience nausea and morning sickness.

Will It Affect Your Baby?

Mothers to-be are often worried about nausea and vomiting affecting the babies but generally mild bouts of vomiting do not harm the growing foetus. However, it is best to consult your doctor if the symptoms continue beyond the 14th week to ensure that foetal growth and development are not hampered.

Hyperemesis gravidarum or severe morning sickness can cause unexplained weight-loss and upset electrolyte balances, due to severe vomiting. When this happens it is best to inform the doctor, as leaving it untreated could harm the baby.

How To Stop Vomiting & Nausea During Pregnancy?

How to prevent vomiting in pregnant women is a question that troubles to-be mothers and women are anxious to get rid of this extremely uncomfortable and queasy feeling. Treatment can be divided into natural and medical options, both having their own advantages when administered. Check the following remedies to ease morning sickness and make life a bit more bearable:

Home Remedies For Nausea During Pregnancy

  • Follow A Comfortable Routine:

Pregnant women are already a harried lot and it is best not pack too many things into a day, so try and pace your day well. Stress and tiredness will worsen the feeling, so resting and taking time off work are bound to help you.

  • Avoid The Kitchen:

Begin your day by chewing on a few dry biscuits or cookies and spend some time in bed resting, before you get onto your routine. Keep a fresh stock of rusks or biscuits by the bedside to avoid the trip to the kitchen. Women, pregnant or not, find it difficult to stay out of the kitchen, but if kitchen and food smells are triggering nausea attacks, then ask for external help (a cook is the best option)

  • Eat All That You Can At Your Convenience:

As long as you are able to keep the food down, your baby is safe and protected. Avoid spicy, oil-rich and fatty foods which can aggravate your current condition. Eat in small portions but eat often. You will soon learn the kind of food that suits you and ones that don’t. Foods rich in Vitamin B6 like brown rice, sweet potato, banana, corn, chicken (if you are a non-vegetarian) and walnuts, are highly suggested. These are better than supplements which could induce vomiting, though nausea will reduce.

  • Stay Hydrated:

Drink water at regular intervals to keep your body hydrated as this is known to relieve symptoms of morning sickness including indigestion, heartburn and acidity. Adding a twist of fresh lime to water helps to avert the queasy feeling, as does drinking barley water. Colas, coffee and tea should not be considered as a part of your water intake as they are diuretics.

Stay Hydrated. Try Yoga

  • Try Yoga:

Connect to a trained prenatal yoga instructor to help you practice simple relaxation techniques like yoga nidra (deep relaxation) and shavasan (relaxation pose). You can practice yoga throughout your pregnancy as it will help you to keep your mind and body calm and keep stress levels at a minimum.

  • Sniff A Fresh Scent:

Certain smells and scents will turn your tummy and make you rush to the nearest washroom, so it is advisable to keep a bottle of fresh lemon extract in your handbag to get a whiff of freshness. This is especially helpful when you are in a crowded place or are unable to rush to an open space nearby..

  • Ginger- Your Super Food:

Touted as a stomach soother for ages, ginger is ideal to bring down morning sickness and vomiting and is known as one of top amongst home remedies for nausea during pregnancy. You could add a thin slice of ginger to hot water or your daily cup of tea. Ginger in various forms like ginger candy, gingerbread or even adding ginger to soup can be helpful. Ginger, however, isn’t recommended if your doctor has prescribed anticoagulant drugs for blood clots.

  • Try Sour Food:

Many women find sour food like lemons, tamarind, amla (gooseberry) and pudina (mint) soothing and help to keep nausea at bay. Plain lemonade can do wonders for your system while tamarind in the form of juice or chutneys is also a popular option. A fresh sprig of mint can be refreshing so keep a few in the refrigerator to tide over a particularly difficult morning.

  • Lie Down:

One of the simplest solutions to alleviate morning sickness and avoid beginning your day with vomiting is to stay in bed. Doctors recommend staying in bed when nausea strikes. Put on dark blinkers if you need and draw those thick curtains to keep sunlight out. Rest can do wonders to you and help you to address the issue without much effort.

  • Experiment With Aromatherapy:

Scents such as lemon, orange and mint are great to ward off that nauseous feeling. Pour a few drops of essential oil ) into a diffuser and inhale for some time. You can also add a few drops on your handkerchief when you travel outside.

Medical Treatment For Vomiting In Pregnancy

If the severity of vomiting and nausea increases, your doctor could prescribe medications that will reduce nausea and help you to retain food and fluid intake. These medications include:

  • Antacids for absorption of stomach acid and prevention of acid reflux
  • Metoclopramide to assist the stomach to push the food to intestines
  • Phenothiazine for severe vomiting and nausea symptoms
  • Antihistamines to keep motion sickness and nausea at bay
  • Vitamin B-6 supplements are also helpful in relieving morning sickness

A word of caution: The above medicines should be taken only after consultation with your doctor.

When You Should Call The Doctor?

You should call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms.

  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Fever
  • Infrequent urination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Frequent headaches
  • Inability to keep food down

Do this before your condition worsens any further. Severe morning sickness may require hospitalisation, and intravenous fluids may be necessary to address dehydration.

As an expectant mother, do not worry as you are not alone in this battle against morning sickness during pregnancy and more than 70% of women experience nausea and vomiting during their pregnancies.

Also read: How To Overcome Pregnancy Fears