Fun fact: more than 90% of women experience nausea during pregnancy, so you're definitely not alone.
With symptoms including, feeling tired all the time and extreme nausea, morning sickness can feel very debilitating, especially if you have work and/or public transport to contend with.
What is morning sickness?
When you're pregnant, your body starts producing a hormone called hCG in large quantities, which gives your baby all the nutrients it needs in those first early weeks. The side effects of the hormone can cause you to feel weak and poorly/ But be rest assured, once the placenta takes over, your hCG levels should drop and your morning sickness will ease off too.
My morning sickness feels worse than normal
We know being sick is gloomy and sometimes quite isolating, but the good news is, chances are nothing is wrong with you or your baby, this is all supposed to happen. So, as long as you're drinking lots of water and not losing weight, then your baby's wellbeing should not be affected.
However, if you are throwing up very frequently and unable to leave the house due to severe nausea, you could have a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Kate Middleton suffered with it throughout all her pregnancies, and thanks to the exposure of the condition, HG is now starting to be recognised by medical professionals as very incapacitating.
Having been described in this way - "HG is morning sickness like a hurricane is a little bit of rain”", you can imagine that the condition will make you violently nauseous. In fact, it can cause you to throw up, up to 50 times a day. You’re more likely to develop HG if you’re
- having a multiple birth
- if your mum or sister had the condition while they were pregnant
- or if you’re prone to migraines and travel sickness.
Although the condition itself won’t harm your child, the effects of dehydration and being unable to keep down food can affect the healthy growth of a baby. If you are experiencing symptoms like these, book an appointment with your doctor immediately and he/she can provide the best advice going forward.
How long will the morning sickness last?
Your morning sickness should subside between 14 weeks and 16 weeks, but for some women, it can continue a little longer. For an unfortunate few, it lasts throughout pregnancy, but fingers crossed that's not you!
8 of the best morning sickness remedies:
1. Ginger supplements
Ginger has a long history as a cure for upset stomachs. One of its active compounds, 6-gingerol, is known to help relax gastrointestinal muscles, and research has shown that ginger supplements can ease morning sickness.
However, keep in mind that how effective they are will depend on how sensitive you are to certain smells and flavours. If you're wincing at the smell, then ginger may make your symptoms worse or give you heartburn. In any case, check with your GP before taking any supplements during pregnancy.
2. Vitamin B6Taking a little extra vitamin B6, in the form of supplements, has been shown to reduce morning sickness symptoms in some mums-to-be. Doctors recommend 25 mg of vitamin B6, three times a day, in addition to your prenatal vitamins.
3. Acupressure braceletsThese are often called 'sea bands', you might remember being given them by your mum on long car journeys to help car sickness. But, guess what, they are equally effective for morning sickness, as it's all about applying gentle pressure on the balls of your wrist, to hit certain nerve centres in the body. When you experience a wave of nausea, press on the button on each wrist 20 to 30 times at one-second intervals, the sensation should be relaxing and make you feel less sick.
4. Over-the-counter heartburn medicationResearch has shown that most OTC heartburn medications are safe during pregnancy and can help ease morning sickness. For example, you can buy Omeprazole over-the-counter in 10mg doses. Always ask the pharmacist if what you're buying is safe to take while pregnant, and avoid any medication that contains aspirin.
5. DIY aromatherapyDo your own form of aromatherapy by having a relaxing bath with one of the following essential oils, that have been shown to ease nausea and calm your stomach:
6. Change your eating patternsEat plain foods, little and often. Anthing fried, rich or spicy could trigger your nausea, so stick to potatoes, pasta, rice and dry crackers when your morning sickness it at its worst in the first trimester. Also, protein-rich foods such as nuts, that are rich in vitamin B, are great too. Sip plain water or lemon juice inbetween to stay hydrated. For more snacks and drinks that can help, read our detailed article here.
7. ReflexologySome complementary therapies, such as reflexology, may help you to cope with morning sickness. Reflexology follows the principle that your feet represent a map of your body and certain pressure points are related to different bodily organs. The point located below the ball of the foot corresponds to the stomach and if massaged correctly, can considerably ease nausea for some women. If reflexology doesn't work for you, it is certainly relaxing and an enjoyable treatment. Make sure you go to a qualified therapist, experienced in treating pregnant women.
8. Soothing music and pulsations appThere are certain phone apps, specially designed to ease morning sickness using sounds, pulsations and soothing music. One example is Nevasic, described as 'a uniquely engineered audio program that eliminates the symptoms of sickness'. Th app has proven to be a great success with a number of women. You can also buy it in CD form, to play around the house or in the car stereo while driving.