If you already have a positive pregnancy test under your belt and have woken up this morning with a queasy feeling, don’t be too worried. It’s called morning sickness and it is completely normal. In fact, if you ask several mothers, you will find out that morning sickness is one of the most well-known symptoms of pregnancy.
Not all women experience morning sickness though. Nausea and vomiting are related to pregnancy but are not indispensable to it. Even if you don’t have nausea and vomiting, you can still be pregnant and there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with you. You are simply lucky not to have gone through morning sickness.
How early does morning sickness start?
Although textbooks may have a say on how early morning sickness can start, exceptions are plenty since it varies from one woman to another. No two individual are same, neither are two pregnancies, but it has been observed that in three out of four women, nausea and vomiting begin around week 4 to week 9 and peak somewhere between week 7 and week 12.
Most expectant mothers cease having these symptoms by the end of the third month, but some may continue experiencing them well into the second trimester. Rarely, a woman carrying multiples fetuses may experience morning sickness during the third trimester as well.
It is pertinent to mention here that although morning sickness starts early on in pregnancy, it can also strike later on for the first time. This is because the growing fetus tends to push on your intestines and stomach, which may trigger symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
Morning sickness is a misnomer. You can continue to suffer from nausea and vomiting throughout the day till bedtime. It does not harm your baby or you; so there’s nothing to be worried about.
Why do you get morning sickness?
Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) is a hormone which helps to build the placenta inside your womb. Understandably, its levels along with that of estrogen increase during pregnancy, so much so that hCG levels double every week during the first trimester. The body is often unable to tolerate such rapid changes in hormonal levels and fail to maintain a balance, resulting in the sick feeling that you get.
The more hCG you have in your system, the more queasy you might feel. Some people can tolerate these changes better than others; so they don’t fall sick. Psychology does play some role, but there is no evidence yet to prove that.
Newly pregnant women, especially first-timers, frequently develop a higher sense of smell than others. Morning sickness, therefore, results in them refusing to eat certain foods and get agitated in presence of certain smells. Skipping meals, in turn, contributes to an empty stomach and a general nauseous feeling.
How can you know if you are more susceptible to having morning sickness?
Apart from hormones, stress and fatigue play an important role in determining whether you will experience these symptoms or not. The fact that women who are pregnant for the first time have been observed to be more susceptible to developing morning sickness validates the idea that both physiological as well as emotional factors are involved.
Genetics and sensitivity of the brain’s command center undoubtedly mediate nausea and vomiting, but anxiety plays its part too. First-timers are often unsure about how to get through the nine months, and are less prepared emotionally and physically for the onslaught of hormones. Emotional stress has been known to trigger gastrointestinal upsets, and it is hardly surprising that nausea and vomiting are found more frequently in emotionally fragile moms-to-be than in those who are not as nervous.
Can you do anything to ease morning sickness?
The icky feeling usually goes away by 12-14 weeks in most women. So unless you are too sick, you don’t require medicines to treat morning sickness. The right kind of meals, drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding anything that seems unpleasant enough to set off your sickness should be enough to keep it in check.
It is not a good idea to miss meals while you are pregnant because an empty stomach increases your chances of getting nauseous by several folds. Carrying a stash of snacks to keep your belly filled most of the time is usually helpful. Scientific studies have shown ginger to be able to control nausea and vomiting to some extent.
Finally, you must aim to be relaxed at all times. Reducing your stress may help in lowering the severity of your queasiness indirectly.