Congratulations on your pregnancy!
I have a confession to make. I’ve been pregnant three times and haven’t enjoyed it very much. Between the morning sickness, sciatica and the Braxton Hicks (you can read more about them here) I was sick, sore or tired more often than not.
If you’re one of the lucky ones you’re going to get through your pregnancy with no symptoms at all. However, if you’re like me there are going to be some rough patches along the way.
So on that cheery note let’s talk about morning sickness.
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What Is Morning Sickness?
First off – the name ‘morning’ sickness is really a misnomer. It’s very possible that you’re going to feel sick morning, noon, and night.
Morning sickness is usually one of the first signs that you’re pregnant. It’s most common in the first trimester of a pregnancy through it can continue through the entire three trimesters.
Some women throw up daily (or all day). Others, like myself, just feel nauseated without actually throwing up.
When Does Morning Sickness Start?
Morning sickness usually starts when you’re about 5-6 weeks pregnant and typically ends at around 14-16 weeks.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
While no ones knows for certain what causes morning sickness it’s most likely linked to the hormonal changes which occur during pregnancy. In early pregnancy, your body produces large quantities of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). When your placenta is ready to take over the job of nourishing your baby (at about 12 weeks) the levels of hCG drop. This is often the time when most women start to feel better. However, some women will continue to have morning sickness for longer or even for their entire pregnancy.
Morning sickness can be triggered by certain factors. For some women, certain smells can send them running for the bathroom. I found that my nausea was always worst on an empty stomach.
Your nausea may also become worse if you are tired, stressed or hungry.
How Long Does Morning Sickness Last?
The short answer is it really depends.
Typically, you’ll start to feel better by about 14 to 16 weeks. However, some women will continue to feel sick for their entire pregnancy.
Personally, over three pregnancies I have found that I have felt the worst from 5 weeks to 9 weeks. And from 9 weeks to 12 weeks I gradually started to feel better.
Is There a Cure For Morning Sickness?
Sadly, only time (or giving birth) can make your morning sickness go away. There are a few ways to minimize the sickness but be warned that they don’t work for everyone. You may need to experiment to find out what works for you.
Morning Sickness Tip #1: Don’t Run On Empty
Try not to let your stomach get too empty. This tip may seem completely counter-intuitive. I mean, who wants to eat when all you feel like doing is throwing up. However, give it a shot.
It’s a tip I was given by doctor when I was pregnant with my first. She suggested that I eat a small piece of cheese every hour or so in between meals to keep nausea at bay. I ended up switching the cheese for nuts and trail mix (far easier to carry around).
In general, it seemed to work and I always did feel my worst in the morning before I had eaten anything. If the idea of cheese (or nuts) turns your stomach then find something which works for you. Saltines seem to be a go-to first-trimester staple as they’re pretty bland but I suggest finding a protein source if you can handle it.
Morning Sickness Tip #2: Don’t Assume It’s Business As Usual
When you become pregnant you’re often forced to listen to your body. Sometimes it means cutting back on the activities you love. It can be hard to accept but even though you don’t look pregnant (yet) your body is going through some pretty massive changes.
I had a friend who had pretty bad morning sickness when she became pregnant with her first. Her doctor, after asking a few questions, soon found out that my friend had not cut back the amount of running she was doing daily. One she had stopped running her nausea and vomiting decreased dramatically.
And, when she became pregnant with her second child she reduced her running schedule right away and didn’t suffer the extreme morning sickness she had experienced with her first pregnancy.
Morning Sickness Tip #3: Slow Things Down
I found that my morning sickness was the worst in my third pregnancy. The difference – I was TIRED. Having a 4-year-old and an 18-month-old at home with me meant that I was on Mummy duty for over 12 hours a day. And, if I had a bad night and was more tired than usual my morning sickness was also far worse than usual.
Slow down and listen to your body. If you’re able to nap, take a nap. I found that during my first trimester all I wanted to do was sleep. Take it easy when you can and get to bed early. Postpone those plans to go out at night until your second trimester.
Morning Sickness Tip #4: Reach For The Ginger
I wish I could say that ginger was a miracle cure-all for your morning sickness. The truth is it works better for some people than for others. However, if it gives you some relief from nausea then it’s worth trying. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) officially recommends taking 250 mg of ginger four times a day. (source)
There are so many different forms for you to try. There’s:
Ginger Candy (if you need an excuse to eat candy)
If ginger doesn’t do the trick then there are other natural remedies you can try.
If ginger tea doesn’t work then you could try
You can also try these wristbands intended to help with motion sickness.
Morning Sickness Tip #5: Get Help
Remember that you’re not in this alone. If the vomiting or persistent nausea is making your life unbearable then get help. Call your doctor as you may need medication to help with your morning sickness
Hang in there. If you’re lucky your morning sickness will go away at about 14 weeks and you will get your energy back.