Morning sickness is not a term to be understood literally. Namely, morning sickness, also referred to as nausea or vomiting of pregnancy or nausea gravidarum is a condition which can take place during many other times of the day.
Commonly triggered by the hormonal imbalances which appear during pregnancy, morning sickness is a frequent occurrence in this stage of a woman's life. However, those who are taking hormonal drugs or undergoing hormonal replacement therapy may suffer from morning sickness too.
Morning Sickness is Not Just a Morning Thing
Even though morning sickness reaches its peak during morning hours, gradually decreasing during the day, the vomiting and nausea can be present during all hours of the day. In fact, the morning sickness is considered to be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.
Yet, during this period, women need to be very careful since vomiting can trigger dehydration in some situations, along with weight loss, alkalosis and hypokalemia, even though such cases are rare.
Usually, morning sickness appears quite early in the pregnancy stops around the 12th week, with the symptoms appearing both during the day and during the night.
Why Do Women Have Morning Sickness?
There are several different causes behind morning sickness. As it was mentioned above, the main reasons behind this occurrence are increased levels of estrogen, taking into consideration that these levels may be 100 times higher.
Alternatively, this condition can be caused by low blood sugar affecting the placenta. However, studies are yet to confirm this, even though many pieces of information back the theory up.
Another hormonal cause are the levels of progesterone located in the uterine muscles, preventing the child from being born early. Even though this biological intervention is very important, it can lead to increased levels stomach acids, possibly resulting in gastrointestinal reflux.
Chorionic gonadotropin levels increase during pregnancy too, causing the nausea directly, due to them stimulating the ovaries to produce estrogen.
Additionally, taking into consideration that, during pregnancy, female senses become much more sensitive, especially the sense of taste and smell, women respond to odors more prominently and this can trigger nausea and even vomiting.
This does not complete the list of causes. Basically, morning sickness can stem from the levels of bilirubins, because of the increased presence of liver enzymes.
Recently, researches have discovered that morning sickness may be a defense mechanism of the fetus itself, using it as a protection from the harmful toxins that the mother may consume. Facts which back this scientific theory up are the frequency of morning sickness in pregnant women, the fact that fetus is the most vulnerable to toxins during the first 3 months of its life and a close connection between food which pregnant women do not digest well and the toxins that these types of food contain.
Even though pregnant women may not be too happy about the morning sickness, it makes them less likely to face miscarriages or give birth to children with defects. Moreover, morning sickness keeps the mothers safe as well, helping them expel the potentially dangerous toxins out of their body.
How To Protect Your Baby and Yourself
During you period of morning sickness, you are advised not to take any drugs unless your doctor recommends you to. Rather, eat several crackers or some similar food before you get out of bed in the morning. However, do not eat anything which seem capable of making you nauseous. Focus on consuming smaller portions of meals more frequently during the day, preventing the morning sickness caused by the empty stomach. Foods rich in fat and spices are not recommended. On the other hand, foods rich in carbohydrates and proteins should be something you opt for.
In order not to tire, stress or expose yourself to odors and fumes, avoid preparing food during pregnancy. Additionally, drink a lot of water or fruit juices and consume ginger since it is famous for helping women overcome morning sickness. Vitamin B6 supplements can help prevent or manage the morning sickness but you need to be careful with it since overdosing can jeopardize your baby's health.
Wearing acupressure bands can help you deal with these problems, being a simple and cheap solution which can prove to be more than helpful.
Finally, do not wear clothes which constrict the abdomen since this can lead to irritation and nausea, among other problems. In any cases of severe nausea or vomiting, or any other forms of abnormalities, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
All in all, morning sickness is likely to appear during the first 6 weeks of pregnancy, usually disappearing around the 12th one. During this time, it is important not to take any medications on your own and to follow the instructions mentioned above. If you happen to be unable to stop the nausea or vomiting, seek medical assistance.