Pregnancy Symptoms: What’s the Deal with Morning Sickness?

woman on couch feeling ill from morning sickness

For many women, morning sickness is one of the most dreaded side effects associated with early pregnancy. While the idea of recurring nausea certainly isn’t appealing to anyone, it will help if you know what you can expect and how you can limit the symptoms.

What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness is the name for recurring nausea and vomiting that typically occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy. It’s extremely common, affecting about 70% of pregnant women, and many women find their morning sickness symptoms are triggered by certain foods or smells.

Does morning sickness only happen in the morning?

Despite the name, morning sickness can occur at any time of day, and for many women, the timing is inconsistent. You may experience symptoms every day, a few days a week,  throughout the day, or at seemingly random times. And while most women have morning sickness only during the first trimester and into the second, other women have morning sickness throughout their pregnancies. 

What causes morning sickness?

The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown. Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy, including numerous hormonal adjustments. Hormones including human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), estrogen, progesterone, prolactin and relaxin surge through your body, enabling necessary biological changes to allow for a healthy pregnancy, but causing some side effects along the way. In addition, there are often changes in blood sugar levels, which might also contribute to morning sickness.

Does morning sickness definitely mean you’re pregnant?

A few days of nausea doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant, but if you’re sexually active, it shouldn’t be ignored. It’s likely a good idea to get a medical pregnancy test. If you are indeed pregnant, you’ll want to know as soon as possible so that you can start exploring your pregnancy options. If you’re not pregnant, and your nausea persists, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Is morning sickness dangerous?

While morning sickness is no fun, it isn’t typically dangerous for most women. In some instances, however, it can become severe, developing into a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. This occurs in about 2% of pregnant women. With hyperemesis gravidarum, a pregnant woman may vomit three times a day or more, which can lead to dangerous dehydration and weight loss. This typically requires being admitted to the hospital to receive IV fluids and medications.

How can you treat morning sickness symptoms?

Standard morning sickness symptoms are often treated via common sense home remedies meant to settle the stomach. Avoiding spicy or greasy foods and instead eating simpler, dry foods like crackers, breads and cereals is a common approach. Many women also claim that sipping ginger ale can help. Some over-the-counter supplements and medications may also help relieve symptoms, but you should consult your doctor before taking anything new. It’s also important to stay hydrated, so be sure to drink plenty of water and get sufficient electrolytes.

If you believe you may be pregnant, it’s time to find out for sure. At Sira in Gainesville, we offer free medical pregnancy testing for any woman, with no insurance required. Contact Sira today at 352-377-4947 to schedule your free appointment.

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