For such a joyful event, pregnancy has one heck of a way to introduce itself. The absolute elation of finding out you’re going to be a mom goes down the toilet quicker than your first bout of morning sickness.
Even though it is one of the most unpleasant symptoms, you’ll be pleased to know it disappears relatively soon, and there are ways to manage morning sickness.
For most women, the first sign they’re pregnant is morning sickness, or Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy (NVP), which is a pretty good way to sum it up. About 80% of pregnant women experience it in varying degrees, while some show no symptoms at all.
A far more severe form of morning sickness is Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), which Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, suffered from during both her pregnancies.
According to Medscape, HG affects about 2% of moms-to-be and usually needs hospitalization to treat the extreme dehydration. While morning sickness abates by 12 to 14 weeks, Hyperemesis Gravidarum only starts to ease around 21 weeks.
So what does morning sickness feel like? As already mentioned, not everyone experiences it in the same way. We’ve put a rating together from very mild to very bad.
With very mild NVP, you don’t feel sick every day, and nausea passes relatively quickly. There is also little to no vomiting.
Mild morning sickness has you feeling a bit "off" in the morning and sometimes the smell of certain foods can trigger it. Even though you feel like you may vomit, it passes quickly.
You feel sick most mornings, but it gets better as the day goes on. You'll find you can’t cook certain foods because of the smell and you occasionally "dry-heave" or even vomit.
A day doesn’t go by where you don’t vomit, and sometimes you feel so nauseous or ill that you cannot eat for a few hours. With moderate morning sickness, it’s most common in the early part of the day but can sometimes last longer.
You battle nausea throughout the day and often vomit more than once. You can’t keep food down and the smell of certain foods results in a loss of appetite and vomiting.
With severe morning sickness, you need to plan your day around it. Nausea can be too bad for you to get out of bed. Moreover, you can vomit throughout the day, up to five times or more.
You can’t keep food or liquid down, and you may have a fever. If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to contact your GP.
The good news is it’s not all doom and gloom. There are certain things you can do to ease morning sickness. We asked a few expectant mothers how they coped and they shared a few of their remedies with us.
Ginger was mentioned a few times. It’s a safe and gentle way to settle your stomach and also help with nausea.
Look for soft drinks with real ginger or grate some fresh ginger into hot tea. Even ginger cookies or candy will help.
Ice chips, frozen lemonade, and even good old snow-cones can help soothe an upset tummy while taking in fluids at the same time.
You could even make your own ice cream to relieve nausea and get in some vitamins.
Quite a few women mentioned carbohydrates as a way of dealing with their nausea. Bread, mashed potatoes, and dry toast help too.
You can also keep a few soda crackers next to your bed and eat a few before you get out of it. In my first pregnancy, whenever I ate pizza, the nausea went away.
Having carbs with proteins is an effective and delicious way to help with fatigue during the day. Snack on apple slices and string cheese or whole wheat pita and hummus, and you’ll definitely feel better.
When food is the last thing on your mind, try eating smaller meals but more frequently. Also, prepare fresh snacks with crispy veggies, yogurt, and fruits instead of hot meals.
There is less smell which means (hopefully) less nausea. Note that if you eat too many greens, don't freak out when you see the green poops.
It’s not only the scent of food that can leave you feeling queasy. Any strong smells like detergent, perfume or the garbage can trigger nausea.
What you can do is carry a sprig of something fresh in your purse, like lavender or rosemary. A small bottle of lemon extract will also work.
The diary itself won’t relieve morning sickness, but you can track it. By taking notes of when it’s at its worse, and when you don’t feel too terrible, you might be able to pick up a pattern and even note what triggers it.
This will definitely help in the long run.
Taking the right vitamins could ease morning sickness and ensures you’re getting the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D and folic acid.
Probably one of the most obvious ways to ease morning sickness and make sure you get through the first trimester is to look after yourself. It’s also the most difficult, what with the pressures of work and home.
For example, taking time out for homeopathic treatments or a few days away from the office will leave you feeling rested and ready to tackle another day.
There are hundreds and thousands of women who have had it before you, and another hundred thousand that will experience it after.
If you want to share your experiences with morning sickness, don't hesitate to post below. I would be very happy to reply.
Amy Duncan is the founder of KindMommy, a blog where she's providing helpful information about pregnancy and many useful tips for young parents. Besides writing, Amy loves to cook and travel with her friends and family. You can also find Amy on Twitter (@AmyKindmommy).