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Morning Sickness

What is morning sickness?

Find out more about Morning Sickness and its symptoms.

Author: Natasha Dadour MPH, MPAS, PA-C, Physician Associate.

What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness refers to symptoms of nausea with or without vomiting that occurs in about 90% of early pregnancies but may persist on through to the middle of 2nd trimester. Hyperemesis Gravidarum refers to the extreme nausea and vomiting disease in pregnancy which is life threatening to mother and fetus if not treated.

What causes Morning Sickness?

Genetics, hormones and ethnicity /race; with a higher incidence occuring in Caucasians versus Africans and Asians, all likely contributing factors. Studies demonstrate that if a woman’s sister, mother or grandmother had morning sickness during pregnancy, then they too could expect to experience it. Interestingly, the genetic material from the male’s sperm is not thought to trigger morning sickness. Other prediciting factors include whether it is a first time pregnancy, if a woman has been taking prenatal vitamins (then less likely to experience it, or to a lesser degree), whether or not a woman has a history of gasotro-oesophageal reflux disease (with those having GORD more likely to suffer), and whether a woman has migraines with nausea and or motion sickness in general. Women who have experieced nausea when taking a combination (estrogen+progesterone) oral contraceptive is also a predicting factor. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hcg) – the hormone produced in pregnancy may have a role as estrogen and progesterone alone do not explain why women experience morning sickness.

What are the symptoms of Morning Sickness?

Nausea and vomiting not only occur in the morning, but also all day long and at nighttime. As long as a woman’s vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, weight) are within normal limits, then there is no threat to the mother nor the fetus. Signs of dehydration (dizziness, weakness, dry skin, dry mouth, low and or dark urine output, headache) and or a 5% reduction in baseline weight are threatening signs and patients should seek immediate medical care.

What are the treatments for Morning Sickness?

How does one treat morning sickness? Morning sickness tends to be severe when there is no food in the stomach and when a woman is exhausted. Scaling lower on the day to day duties, drinking small sips of water and eating smaller meals more often throughout the day are protective. Avoid odors and foods that trigger nausea. Eating bland and high carbohydrate containing foods can help treat acute nausea and vomiting. Ginger (chews, cookies or tea) is a natural antiemetic.

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