Pregnancy-induced nausea, often called “morning sickness,” is one of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy. Some studies suggest that as many as 70% of moms-to-be will have morning sickness at one time or another during their pregancy. “Morning Sickness” is a bit of a misnomer, as nausea from pregnancy can happen at any time of the day. The nausea may be severe and constant, or it might be sporadic and mild. Regardless, morning sickness will typically ease up as your pregnancy progresses.
Researchers are not certain what causes nausea during pregnancy. It may be that the rapidly changing hormone levels in your body, combined with an enhanced sense of smell and excess stomach acids are to blame. Other theories suggest that nausea during pregnancy is caused by the buildup of hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin). hCG continues to build up in your system until about the 12th week of your pregnancy, at which point the levels of hCG starts to decrease. This theory seems to be most consistent with actual experience.
Not all moms-to-be will experience nausea. Some research has linked a lack of nausea to an increased rate of miscarriage, but there have been other studies that suggest the opposite. There is no conclusive research to suggest that a lack of morning sickness indicates any sort of problem with the pregnancy.
Nausea during the later stages of pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors. Sometimes, a pregnant woman who has problems with her liver will become nauseous, especially during the third trimester. Just like any other woman, a woman in late pregnancy can have vomiting due to the flu or some other sort of stomach virus. Also, because late pregnancy is often a time of pain and discomfort, the pain associated with late pregnancy can be responsible for nausea, as well.
Nausea during the later stages of pregnancy can also be a sign that a woman is going into labor. Nausea can sometimes indicate a transition from false labor to true labor. If this occurs prior to the 37th week of pregnancy, it is of particular concern, as giving birth before this time indicates a preterm labor.
There are a variety of things that a mom-to-be can do to alleviate morning sickness. They can include:
– Avoid foods that are high in fat, especially saturated fats.
– Avoid foods with strong smells that could trigger nausea.
– Sea bands or motion sickness wrist bands may help some women who have morning sickness.
– Eat small, frequent snacks and meals to avoid feeling either hungry or too full.
– Use rice cakes or crackers to counteract nausea.
– Make sure to keep hydrated.
– Many women have had success using a variety of ginger products, such as ginger root supplements or ginger tea to help combat morning sickness.
– Your nausea may be caused by the iron in your pre-natal vitamin. If you believe this is the case, speak with your health care provider about other options.