Throwing Up In The Morning
Throwing Up In The Morning: Morning sickness is one of pregnancy’s most well-known symptoms. But while pregnant women often spend time discussing their nausea with family members or close friends, few talk about what they do when they throw up in the morning — or at any other time for that matter.
Nausea during pregnancy comes in two forms. Some women feel nauseous all day long, especially if they’re on medication to relieve morning sickness. Other women will have occasional bouts of nausea, usually between five and 10 minutes duration. Nausea may occur as frequently as several times per hour, although this happens less than 1 percent of the time. It’s not unusual for women who don’t want to take medication to try acupressure bracelets or other home remedies instead. If you’re interested in trying an alternative treatment, read on for more information on how these devices work.
If your nausea occurs after eating food, then you probably suffer from gastric reflux disease. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects approximately 20 million Americans. This type of nausea usually goes away within a half-hour or so after you stop eating. Your doctor should diagnose GERD based on medical tests and symptoms like heartburn, indigestion and difficulty swallowing. He or she might prescribe medications to treat the underlying problem.
For some women, morning sickness is just a temporary inconvenience. For others, however, it becomes a constant source of distress. While the exact cause of morning sickness isn’t known, researchers believe that hormones produced by pregnancy affect receptors in areas of the brain controlling hunger and nausea. Women whose pregnancies are high risk due to complications such as diabetes or obesity are more likely to develop morning sickness. However, even healthy women who carry their weight gain naturally can experience morning sickness.
The good news is that morning sickness doesn’t mean you’ll miscarry. Most women experience mild morning sickness, which means vomiting once every three months or so. Moderate cases last longer, while severe cases happen rarely. Severe morning sickness includes prolonged periods without throwing up, as well as frequent episodes lasting longer than 24 hours. Morning sickness typically begins around week four and lasts until delivery.
So why does morning sickness occur? Low blood glucose levels and dehydration can trigger nausea in some women. Blood sugar rises quickly after waking each morning, causing nausea among those who don’t eat breakfast.
Dehydration can make you nauseated because the body senses that it needs water and signals the stomach to secrete fluid into the small intestine. When this process fails, nausea results.
This article covers some tips for preventing morning sickness, including taking daily supplements, avoiding alcohol, smoking and caffeine, and learning relaxation techniques. To find out more about treating morning sickness, see the links on the following page.
Tips for Preventing Morning Sickness
Avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol consumption increases the amount of prostaglandins, chemicals that signal pain messages throughout the body. Prostaglandins stimulate the lining of the uterus to contract, making room for the fetus. Cigarette smoke contains substances similar to prostaglandins, so both can increase the likelihood of miscarriage. You should quit drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes altogether during pregnancy.
Eat smaller meals. Eating larger meals in the evening makes you retain fluids overnight, leading to bloating and constipation. Eat six small meals through the course of the day rather than three large ones. This helps keep your blood sugar level steady. Avoid foods high in fat and cholesterol, including fried foods, fatty meats, butter, cheese, ice cream and desserts. Drinking soda and coffee stimulates secretion of insulin, which can lead to hypoglycemia. Also avoid spicy foods, salty snacks and overly processed foods.
Take vitamin supplements. Taking prenatal vitamins containing folic acid reduces the risk of certain birth defects. Vitamin B6, vitamin C and zinc reduce the incidence of premature births. Calcium helps maintain bone strength, reducing the chance of osteoporosis later in life. Iron supplementation prevents iron deficiency, which could result in fatigue and anemia. Be sure to consult with your health care provider before adding new supplements to your routine.
Relaxation techniques. Stress management methods help decrease morning sickness. Try meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation or biofeedback. Meditation involves sitting quietly, focusing on breathing and relaxing all parts of your body. Yoga and progressive muscle relaxation involve physical exercises designed to relax tension and stress. Biofeedback teaches patients how to control specific muscles using electrical stimulation, sound or light.
See your physician regularly. Prenatal visits allow doctors to monitor your general health and check for signs of potential problems. They can rule out conditions such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, urinary tract infections and thyroid dysfunction. Doctors can also perform ultrasounds and other diagnostic procedures to detect abnormalities.
Keep track of symptoms. A diary or journal allows you to record changes in mood, sleep patterns, appetite, bowel movements and overall energy level. Keep track of any activities that seem to worsen your symptoms.
Treatments for morning sickness
There are no cures for morning sickness, but some treatments provide relief. Treatment options vary according to severity. Mild cases respond well to nonprescription over-the-counter medicines such as ginger root tea, peppermint oil capsules and ginger candies. Loperamide hydrochloride tablets can induce vomiting if taken in higher doses. Acupuncture has been shown to offer relief in moderate cases.
Acupuncture works by inserting thin needles into acupuncture points along pressure point pathways called meridians. Researchers believe these points release endorphins, chemicals that produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Acupuncture therapy combined with herbal medicine provides complete relief in 60% to 70% of patients, compared to 13% to 29% for placebo therapy.
Homeopathic Remedies Homeopathy uses tiny amounts of medicinal plants, minerals or animals to treat illness. Because no active ingredients exist, these drugs cannot interact negatively with prescription medications. People suffering from morning sickness should consider homeopathy. Two popular remedies are belladona and cimicifuga; both contain plant extracts. Belladona acts as a diuretic, antiemetic and antispasmodic. Cimicifuga relieves digestive disturbances, flatulence and dyspepsia.
Nutritional Supplements Nutrients found in foods and supplements provide essential nutrients needed to grow a baby. Folate (vitamin B9), vitamin B12 and iron help red cells absorb oxygen, which gives them greater capacity to transport carbon dioxide. Zinc improves immunity and regulates cell growth. Magnesium helps relax nerves and muscles, allowing you to get better rest. Vitamins A, D and E support skin tissue development.
Lifestyle Changes Diet plus exercise, adequate rest, fresh air, sunlight and social interaction all contribute to feeling better. Take breaks from stressful situations and limit caffeine intake. Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly. Learn relaxation techniques. Cut down on smoking.
Preventing morning sickness requires knowledge about nutrition, lifestyle factors and self-care. See the next page for more resources on dealing with morning sickness.
You can prevent nausea with simple steps such as standing up slowly, walking gingerly, chewing gum and keeping your head upright. Avoid lying down immediately after eating. Afterward, lie down in a dark, quiet place.
Drink plenty of fluids such as clear broth, decaffeinated tea, fruit juices and unsweetened drinks. Avoid dairy products and greasy foods. Smaller meals spaced far apart give you a sense of fullness. Avoid late night snacks.
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to see similar ones,