Nausea At The End Of Pregnancy
Nausea At The End Of Pregnancy: You’ve been pregnant for nine months now. Your belly has swelled to impossible proportions. If you can’t stand up straight (or sit), you’re officially carrying around too much weight. And you’re not even close to due yet. It should be all downhill from here. Right?
Not always. Third-trimester nausea is one of those pregnancy mysteries that no one seems able to explain. While most women experience some form of morning sickness throughout their pregnancies, many others get sick later on, after they’ve already gone home from work and eaten dinner with friends.
The cause of this particular type of nausea varies widely. Some experts believe that it may result when hormones are out of sync, while others think that it’s related to food allergies or sensitivities. There’s also a theory that it’s caused by something called “visceral hypersensitivity,” which basically means that your body is overly sensitive to signals about what’s going on inside. For whatever reason, though, nausea at the end of pregnancy tends to strike between four and eight weeks postpartum.
Women who experience nausea late in pregnancy sometimes call it “morning sickness” because it hits them as soon as they wake up, but technically, it isn’t really morning sickness since it doesn’t happen in the morning. Nausea at the end of pregnancy, more commonly known as postnatal nausea, affects an estimated 90 percent of new moms.
Some possible causes include:
- Motion sickness
- Food poisoning
- Gas pains
- Abdominal pain
- Hormonal imbalance
- Excessive sweating
- Mood changes
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Sinus problems
- Hot flashes
- Changes in sex drive
- Trouble sleeping
And if any of these sounds familiar, don’t worry; we’ll talk about how to treat each symptom next.
Postnatal Nausea Treatments
Because nausea comes and goes so dramatically, it’s difficult to know exactly what’s happening until you see your doctor. In general, try taking antiemetics (drugs designed to reduce nausea) before you eat anything, especially foods that seem likely to trigger vomiting such as spicy meals or fatty foods. Over-the-counter drugs such as Bonamine (dicyclomine hydrochloride) and Maalox (magnesium hydroxide) are often used to combat nausea. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes, both of which make nausea worse.
If your nausea persists, your physician will probably want to run tests to rule out other conditions. A simple blood test can determine whether you have low levels of vitamin B6, folic acid or iron. Other potential causes of nausea include motion sickness, irritable bowel disease, thyroid problems, kidney issues, liver disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, ulcers and gallbladder problems. An ultrasound exam can reveal tumors or fluid buildup in the uterus, while a CT scan can detect lung cancer.
If nothing else helps, your physician may prescribe medication to ease the discomfort. Ask your health care provider about prescription medications that contain dolasetron mesylate (brand name Domperidone). These medications help fight nausea without making you groggy. When taken 30 minutes prior to eating, domperidone reduces the frequency of episodes in patients who suffer from chronic nausea.
Your doctor may also recommend acupuncture, massage therapy, relaxation techniques and acupressure over-the-counter treatments, including ginger root tea, herbal medicines and vitamins. Many people swear by acupuncture, although studies haven’t shown its effectiveness. Massage may relax tense muscles and improve circulation, but studies show conflicting results regarding its ability to relieve nausea. Relaxation therapies, such as meditation or guided imagery, can also help decrease symptoms.
Finally, consider trying herbs and supplements. Ginger, peppermint, chamomile and valerian root appear to be effective against nausea, according to various studies. Vitamin C may also help prevent nausea.
To find out more information about treating and preventing nausea, take a look at the links on the following page.
Many pregnant women use ginger as a natural remedy for morning sickness. To reap its benefits, grate fresh gingerroot into hot water and drink it. Ginger contains chemicals that act on certain receptors in your brain stem, reducing the amount of serotonin released during bouts of nausea. This chemical reaction makes ginger useful for relieving nausea associated with motion sickness, food poisoning and digestive disorders. However, research indicates that ginger does little to alleviate nausea resulting from hormonal imbalances or visceral hypersensitivity.
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