6 Weeks No Morning Sickness
6 Weeks No Morning Sickness: For a percentage of people, morning sickness is simply a pregnancy symptom they never experience. That can change when you’re expecting — for some women it becomes an all-consuming, nauseating force that can stop them in their tracks or make it nearly impossible to do everyday tasks like grocery shopping or cooking dinner.
Morning sickness (also called “nausea and vomiting during pregnancy” or just “morning sickness”) affects between 30 and 50 percent of pregnant women. For those who have experienced this unpleasant condition, there are several things you can try to relieve your discomfort. And if you haven’t tried these yet, don’t worry; more than half of pregnant women experience nausea at one time or another throughout their pregnancies.
If you’ve been diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness), you know what we mean by nausea. If not, however, let us explain. Nausea is actually a protective mechanism our bodies use to alert us to potential danger. When something tastes bitter, spicy, or spoiled, our stomach sends out a message that something bad may be about to happen.
The same goes for sour or metallic foods. When we swallow food, our teeth grind it up into tiny pieces before it enters our stomachs. Our digestive system uses enzymes to pull apart proteins, fats, and carbohydrates so digestion can begin. However, sometimes our meals contain too many spices, chemicals, or acids to break down properly. This causes a chemical imbalance known as dyspepsia. A few hours later, our body releases a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK tells the brain that everything is under control and no further action is necessary. But if we eat something that seems unusually toxic, our saliva contains enough acid to burn through the lining of our stomach. Once inside, the acidic environment creates pain receptors that tell us to protect ourselves. We release CCK again and send messages to our brains telling us it’s time to vomit.
So how does this work? How can a healthy adult get sick from eating? Well, it has to do with the fact that most adults aren’t exposed to enough acid to trigger nausea. Our digestive systems need constant exposure to gastric juices to produce enough acid to digest our food. As long as our stomach linings remain intact, humans will continue to consume large amounts of food without experiencing any ill effects. Even though the average person produces only 5 milligrams of hydrochloric acid each day, that amount increases to 100 to 200 milligrams per day during pregnancy [sources: WebMD, MedicineNet]. With enough acid present, even spoiled or contaminated food can cause a reaction.
But why do some people become severely ill from consuming certain foods? Hyperemesis gravidarum occurs when someone experiences extreme abdominal pain and uncontrollable, excessive vomiting. About 1 percent of pregnant women develop severe cases. While rare, these patients require hospitalization because dehydration and malnutrition threaten their health.
Hyperemesis gravidarum usually begins around three months into a woman’s pregnancy, although it can start much earlier, especially among women who take medication to prevent miscarriages. Some researchers believe the severity of morning sickness depends on genetics, while others say environmental factors such as stress play a role. Women also report feeling better after they give birth.
If you’re not sure whether you’ll suffer from morning sickness, ask your obstetrician which symptoms might indicate the worst-case scenario (hyperemesis gravidarum) and what you should do if it happens. He or she may suggest you avoid certain foods and beverages altogether until you find out your tolerance level.
To help reduce the frequency and intensity of your nausea, try taking ginger supplements. Gingerols, one type of compound found in ginger root, have shown promise in treating nausea and vomiting. One study published in 2007 tested ginger against two other common antiemetics used to treat morning sickness. Researchers gave participants ginger capsules, dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), or meclizine (Antivert) every four hours over a 12-hour period, then asked them to rate the effectiveness of each treatment based on side effects. They reported that ginger was almost twice as effective as both Dramamine and Antivert. Another study showed ginger tablets were able to significantly reduce motion sickness compared to a placebo.
Another way to manage morning sickness is to exercise regularly. Exercise stimulates blood flow, which helps keep the gastrointestinal tract functioning normally. Research suggests exercising during early pregnancy reduces nausea and improves mood. Regular physical activity also burns excess fat stores in the abdomen, reducing bloating and gas.
And speaking of diet, avoiding foods that aggravate your nausea can go a long way toward making mornings less miserable. Foods high in starch, sugar, and salt tend to increase bloating and lead to overeating. Avoiding processed meats can also improve symptoms. Other tips include chewing thoroughly, drinking water frequently throughout the day, and keeping your distance from smokers, since cigarette smoke irritates the mucous membranes in your nose and throat.
Finally, consider acupuncture. Acupuncture relieves nausea in 75 percent of patients. Researchers think that stimulating acupressure points along the path of meridian energy lines in your body might decrease the production of prostaglandins, compounds associated with inflammation, and allergic reactions that can induce nausea and vomiting.
While morning sickness isn’t pleasant, knowing what triggers it can provide comfort and relief. So don’t be afraid to indulge in a little greasy pizza or fried chicken once in a while! Just remember to drink plenty of fluids.
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