One of the hardest parts of the first trimester of pregnancy is morning sickness. It usually develops during the first couple months as hormone levels increase. Ranging from mild, occasional nausea to sever, continuous, debilitating nausea with bouts of vomiting. In most cases, symptoms may be worse in morning, but they can strike day or night.
There is no way of predicting how long your morning sickness will last even if you have suffered it before. Usually, nausea and vomiting last through the first trimester of pregnancy. However, some women continue to feel sick into the second.
When you are feeling sick try to remember there is good news! Some studies have shown that mild to moderate sickness is a sign of a healthy pregnancy, and less risk of miscarriage.
Changing what, when, and how much you eat along with changes to the way food is cooked helps. During morning or all day sickness, you may find that eating five or six small meals, rather than the usual three large ones, is easier on the body. Make sure each meal contains some protein and carbohydrate, like a whole wheat tortilla or bread with hummus and a slice of tomato. For breakfast try easily digestible, light cereals, a small glass of orange juice, and whole wheat toast. Choose low fat, healthy foods you know you like. Aversions to food because of nausea are normal and understandable.
The following tips work well not only when you wake up feeling nauseous, but also when you get that queasy feeling during the day.
- Eat small, dry snacks.
- Lie quietly for a while before you get out of bed. Have a cracker or dry snack on your side table, or ask you husband to bring you a slice of fresh lemon or orange, or a dry, bland cracker/toast.
- Avoid large drinks. Have frequent small ones between meals.
- Avoid spicy, fried foods, and fatty foods like very rich sweets.
- Avoid excessive consumption of pickles, chutney, and other foods rich in salt.
- Do not spend much time in the kitchen and avoid the strong smell of certain foods when shopping.
- Prepare food when feeling least nauseous.
- Taking lemon or orange juice in the morning and before meals relieves nausea of early pregnancy.
- Suck an ice cube till the nausea passes.
- Sip on cool water.
See your doctor if you have severe, persistent nausea and vomiting. This is a rare complication of pregnancy which can lead to dehydration and malnutrition, sometimes calling for prescribed medication and in some cases even hospitalization. Although drugs are best avoided in pregnancy, especially in the early months, there are some that have been in use for many years with no apparent danger to the developing baby.