Can You Prevent Morning Sickness? An Expert Explains
Let's be honest — morning sickness is no one's favorite part of pregnancy. Constantly wondering whether or not you are going to vomit is not an ideal state of being by any means. You're queasy, everything is unappetizing, and you're wondering how all this throwing up could possibly be OK for your baby. It may not be a stellar experience, and morning sickness may be there for a reason, but that doesn't stop mothers-to-be from wanting to avoid it. So can you prevent morning sickness?
As Parents noted, approximately 70 percent of women experience morning sickness at some point during their pregnancy. And though morning sickness is incredibly common, it's also different for everyone. Some women experience nausea all day, some just vomit in the mornings or evenings (or afternoons). Most women tend to grow out of their morning sickness towards the end of their first trimesters, but some do happen to hold onto it throughout their entire pregnancies.
So where does it come from? Morning sickness may have a biological component, as being so nauseous typically encourages you towards bland, simple foods, and so, may reduce your exposure to foodborne illness and disease. According to Women's Health, pregnancy hormones, specifically estrogen and human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), play a vital role in supporting the newly fertilized egg, and could also be the reason you're queasy.
But, none of that information really helps when you're struggling to pull your head out of the porcelain god, right?
According to Dr. Adrienne Zertuche, MD, MPH, President of Georgia Maternal and Infant Health Research Group, the biggest predictors of morning sickness are factors that you cannot do anything about. (Great.)
"The women most likely to get nausea and vomiting in pregnancy are those that experience similar symptoms with estrogen-based medications (e.g. birth control pills), motion, and migraines," Zertuche tells Romper. "Other risk factors include a history of heartburn or acid reflux, being pregnant with a girl, and having a mother that also got morning sickness during pregnancy," she continues.
Morning sickness can occur at anytime during the day, but there are ways to ease the nausea and vomiting. Keeping your own personal triggers in mind (body odor, the smell of food cooking, pungent aromas, and coffee are common ones), and making a conscious effort to avoid them can definitely help, too. "The evidence behind these recommendations is not incredibly strong, but many women do report improvement with these changes, so they are probably worth a shot," Zertuche adds.
Eating early, like as soon as you wake up, can help prevent that initial morning nausea, according to Fit Pregnancy. Keep a stash of simple snacks (like whole grain crackers, nuts, or granola bars) by your bed, and take a few bites before you get yourself up and out of bed. (On the same note, sit up slowly — getting up too quick can lead to additional nausea, go figure).
Throughout the day, go for balance in your meals. As the American Pregnancy Association (APA) suggested, eating small meals frequently can really help to prevent nausea and keep you from being too hungry or too full. Save drinks for in between meals; this will help get all the food calories you need, while still keeping you healthy and hydrated all day. "Stick with fluids that are cold, clear, and carbonated (sour is OK, too), like ginger ale, lemonade, and popsicles," notes Zertuche.
Being conscious about what you eat can prevent some unnecessary nausea as well. The APA mentioned that bland foods (chicken soup, broth, potatoes), plain fruits and vegetables, lemons, ginger, peppermint, and popsicles or Jell-O are all good choices if you're feeling sick often. "Avoid coffee, and spicy, fatty, acidic, odorous, and very sweet foods," adds Zertuche.
There are a number of supplements and treatments on the market that are said to help women combat morning sickness, and though there's no real research on their efficacy, many women swear they do help. If you're really struggling, and your doctor approves, trying one (or all) of them might work for you. If morning sickness is so severe that you are constantly throwing up and not keeping anything down, definitely talk to your doctor as there might be something else going on.
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