Congratulations on your pregnancy! As you begin on your journey, you’ll be faced with multiple challenges, one of the earliest being morning sickness.
What is morning sickness?
Morning sickness is a common condition where you experience nausea, vomiting or both during your pregnancy. While the name suggests it only happens in the morning, that’s actually not true—morning sickness can happen at any time of the day1.
The good news about morning sickness is it doesn’t harm your unborn child. The bad news is it can be very uncomfortable for you. It is perfectly normal, though, except in extreme circumstances where a pregnant woman suffers dehydration and nutrient deficiency because of too much vomiting.
How to deal with morning sickness
If you’re experiencing morning sickness, here are some things you can do to help alleviate the discomfort:
Things to do in the morning:
- Don’t get up too fast. You need to give yourself time to get up in the morning. It might help if you set your alarm earlier than the time you intend to get up so your body can adjust2.
- Make sure you always have something in your stomach. Keep crackers, cereal and other snacks handy so you can immediately put something in your stomach as soon as you wake up3.
Things to do throughout the day:
- As is the case in the morning, make sure you don’t leave your stomach empty throughout the day. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day and whenever you’re feeling sick until you’re feeling better. The reason behind small, frequent meals is of a hormonal nature: progesterone slows your digestion, which can then make you feel nauseated.
- For the same reason, you should drink fluids half an hour before or after meals—but never with your meals. This keeps your stomach from being too full, therefore reducing your urge to vomit3.
- Try the BRATT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, toast and tea. These are low in fat and easier for your stomach to digest1.
- Have a wide range of food at hand to prepare for your changing cravings throughout the day.
- Make sure to hydrate enough during the day. Doctors recommend 6-8 glasses of water, but you may also have ice cubes, dry ginger ale or flat lemonade. Just remember not to drink too much at once, and drink between meals and not with meals4!
- Also remember to keep yourself hydrated enough if you are vomiting a lot. You might want to consult your ob-gyn for a rehydration solution to help make sure you’re not dehydrated.
- Stay away from smells and avoid food that makes your nausea worse.
- Stay in cool places—warm areas may make you feel more nauseated3.
- Don’t eat spicy or greasy food! You’ll have to stick to milder flavors—even bland food—that do not have strong odor.
- Make sure to rest early. You need to get as much rest as possible throughout your pregnancy, but especially in the first few months. But don’t sleep right after eating a meal—this can make morning sickness worse when you wake up3!
When should you go to a doctor?
While morning sickness is perfectly normal in a pregnancy, there are instances that call for a visit to your doctor. Go see your doctor if you are:
- Vomiting too much and you have very dark urine, and/or if you have not passed urine in over six hours
- You can’t keep fluids or food down for 24 hours
- You feel dizzy or faint, especially when you stand up
- You’re losing weight
- You experience abdominal pain5
- Your heartbeat is too fast / you feel your heartbeat racing or pounding1
- You still have severe morning sickness by your fourth month3
You’ll have to find the right combination of food and drinks, vitamins and lifestyle changes to help manage your morning sickness effectively, but these tips help in managing the symptoms so you can continue functioning daily without nausea and vomiting getting in the way—and you and your child can stay healthy until the next trimester of your pregnancy.
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1 “Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Accessed September 10, 2020. https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/pregnancy/morning-sickness-n...
2 “Morning Sickness Remedies.” American Pregnancy Association. Accessed September 12, 2020. https://americanpregnancy.org/health-fitness/morning-sickness-remedies-4...
3 “Common pregnancy complaints.” Public Health Agency of Canada—Government of Canada. Accessed September 12, 2020. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/pregnancy/complaints.html
4 “Morning Sickness.” Health Direct. Accessed September 12, 2020. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/morning-sickness
5 “Vomiting and morning sickness in pregnancy.” NHS. Accessed September 12, 2020. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/morning-sickness-nausea/