With my first pregnancy I had almost no morning sickness at all…in fact I was almost excited when I did feel a bit nausea as my pregnancy felt more real! This came back to haunt me though as with Smushie I had morning sickness almost from the start right through to 16 weeks AND then it came back in my third trimester – and it was the full Monty too. My husband and I still talk about him finding me on the bathroom floor most mornings.
So this post is to shed a little bit of scientific light onto this challenge and to share some practical suggestions (from someone who has well and truly been in the trenches!).
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is the general term for the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP). Over half of all pregnant women will encounter morning sickness to some level during their pregnancy. It is most likely to occur first thing in the morning due to the heighten hormones and cortisol levels at this time. However, unlike the name suggests, morning sickness can occur at any point in the day (or night).
What Causes Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is associated with a number of significant changes that occur during pregnancy including:
– Drastic increase in hormones (especially human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen)
– Heightened sense of smell
– A sensitive gastrointestinal tract
– Genetics – it is true that some women are more prone to morning sickness then others. Women whose mothers had morning sickness have been shown to be more likely to develop the condition themselves.
– Sensitivity – You have a nausea command centre in your brain which for some are more sensitive than others, and therefore more likely to respond to hormones and other triggers of pregnancy queasiness. For example those that get carsick or seasick easily are more likely to have more severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
How Long Does Morning Sickness Last?
Morning sickness typically starts at week 6 and peaks between weeks 7-9 when there is a surge in pregnancy hormones. For most women morning sickness will ease up around weeks 12-16. However for a small percentage it can come back again in the third trimester (this was very much me with Smushie!)
What Can Help Morning Sickness?
Nutrition and maintaining hydration are crucial to managing morning sickness as well as the health of your growing baby.
Particular foods which are really helpful are:
– Dry whole-grain/wholemeal crackers and toast
– Fruit especially bananas due to their levels of potassium and sodium
– Plain nuts (unsalted, unroasted)
– Brown/basmati rice
– Ginger – you can by herbal tea infused with ginger or grate fresh ginger/lemon slice, in cooking as well as my Gingerbread Muffins!
Timing – you will find eating early in the day will really help especially with energy levels at the end of the day (as fatigue is also a big morning/afternoon/evening sickness trigger!). And yes this may mean you bring it back up but at least your body is not running on empty.
Smells – try to avoid or eliminate smells which bring on the morning sickness
Sea-bands – These 1-inch wide bands worn on both arms put pressure on acupressure points in the inner wrist. They cause no side effects and are widely available at drug and health food stores and have been shown to lessen pregnancy nausea.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Spray – made only with pure essential oils and flower essences for pregnancy nausea, a quick spritz of these refreshing essences to help through the moment, you try spritz a little onto your wrist and inhale.
Online Programme – In my BRAND NEW online Beautiful Bump pregnancy programme I have an entire module on morning sickness and expert tips how to manage this – so you can still enjoy your pregnancy! The launch special of this programme ends midnight on Sunday! I have been creating this programme over the last 18 months to make is full of expert information that you can access without even leaving the house! Best of all you get to be part of my private Beautiful Bump Facebook group – where you will get to meet other mums AND I am in everyday along with guest experts! For all details just click here!
Free-Videos! As part of the launch of my Beautiful Bump Programme I also have a completely FREE video series to help kick start your pregnancy nutrition! Just click here to access them!
I truly hope that was helpful! Morning sickness is not easy – just know you are not alone and it won’t be long before your bubs is here!
xxxx Dr Julie Bhosale
Note: This information is designed to be a general guide. For any pregnancy concerns please consult your LMC or general practitioner.