What is morning sickness?
This is nausea and vomiting that occur during pregnancy. The term ‘morning’ is a misnomer as it can happen at any time throughout the day. Morning sickness is very common, although the degree of nausea and vomiting differs from woman to woman, and from pregnancy to pregnancy.
For most women, the sickness stops by the fourth month of pregnancy, at the latest. For a few, however, it persists throughout pregnancy.
What causes morning sickness?
The actual cause is unknown. However, the hormones HCG and oestrogen have both been implicated, as has low blood sugar.
What can be done to help?
The following have been shown to help:
Eat little and often
Drink plenty of water, fruit juice or herbal tea. Camomile, peppermint and ginger teas are all helpful in reducing nausea. Some women also find that drinking flat cola helps.
Avoid fatty and spicy foods.
Avoid alcohol and coffee.
Keep some plain biscuits by the bed and eat them slowly before getting out of bed in the morning. Or ask your partner to make you some dry toast.
Nibbling crackers, dry toast or crystallised ginger can help reduce nausea.
Is morning sickness dangerous?
Morning sickness is not dangerous. However, a few women may vomit so much that they become dehydrated. This is a condition called ‘hyperemesis gravidarum’ and medical attention is needed. Signs to look out for are:
Vomiting more than three or four times a day.
Being unable to keep anything down, even water, for more than 36 hours.
Passing small amounts of dark urine.