Pregnancy and sickness go hand in hand. Almost every pregnant woman out there would suffer from pregnancy sickness for at least a few months during her pregnancy. Usually caused by an abnormal increase in the hormonal levels (mainly of estrogen, progesterone and human chorionic goanditropin) in the body during pregnancy, pregnancy sickness (also called as morning sickness) is characterized by a feeling of lightheadedness and dizziness accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
While some women may experience pregnancy sickness only in the mornings, others may experience it at noon, night or throughout the day. And while the condition would usually subside after the first few weeks of the pregnancy (usually after the first trimester), it would persist till delivery for some women.
Pregnancy sickness is usually not that hard to handle. However, it can turn fatal in cases where the individual becomes dehydrated or malnourished due to frequent vomiting.
Symptoms and Triggers of Pregnancy Sickness in Women
Pregnancy sickness can usually cause a bevy of symptoms in women. Some of the more common ones include dizziness, queasiness, nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, frequent headaches, dry and cracked lips, dry mouth, increased salivation, heightened sensitivity to smell and noise, irritability and frequent chills, shivers etc.
Although pregnancy sickness is caused by hormonal changes in the body, it can be aggravated by certain triggers. Some of the more common triggers of pregnancy sickness include fatigue, certain smells, morning breath, empty stomach, certain foods, sudden movements, sleep disturbances, closed spaces and limited ventilation etc.
Treatment Options for Morning Sickness
It is considered wise to let your gynecologist know about your condition and the symptoms you experience with the same. In certain cases, severe pregnancy sickness can be caused by a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum which leads to severe bouts of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.
In addition to prescribing medications to control pregnancy sickness, the doctor would refer you to a dietician who would work with you to help manage the symptoms of the condition.
Controlling the Triggers
Finding out the triggers that cause pregnancy sickness can help you control the condition to a great extent. If you feel sick in the presence of certain triggers, try controlling them (or eliminating them completely) to feel better. For example, if you feel sick due to certain foods, avoid them until the condition passes.
Or if you feel sick in a confined space, move to a more airy location. By identifying what causes your pregnancy sickness and taking steps to control the same, you can effectively stay safe from the condition and its symptoms throughout the pregnancy.
Useful Home Remedies to Control Pregnancy Sickness
Take your Time to Get out of Bed
Pregnancy sickness is also called as morning sickness owing to its tendency to affect women in the mornings as soon as they get out of bed. If you feel sick every time you get out of bed in the morning, try waking up at least an hour or so before you usually get up. Don’t get out of bed though. Just lie down on the bed for some time, letting your body and mind get used to the surroundings. After an hour or so, get out of bed slowly. This approach would curb pregnancy sickness to some extent.
Keep Healthy Snacks Handy
If your pregnancy sickness is triggered by an empty stomach, keep some snacks handy at all times of the day. You can also opt to keep some snack beside your bed when you go to sleep in the night. This way if your stomach starts rumbling after you get up in the morning, you can immediately reach for a snack to satisfy the hunger pang before it makes you sick.
Change your Eating Habits
Pregnancy slows down the digestion process. This would make you feel extremely full after a meal. If a full stomach makes you sick, try reducing the amount of food you eat during meals. You can compensate this by eating more number of meals throughout the day. This would essentially mean that instead of having 3 large meals a day, you would be having 6-7 smaller meals a day. This would keep you full for longer periods and would effectively curb pregnancy sickness as well.
Drink Plenty of Water and Other Fluids
You would be advised by the doctor to drink plenty of fluids during pregnancy. In addition to keeping your body hydrated, this can keep you safe from frequent bouts of nausea and vomiting caused by pregnancy sickness.
It is considered wise to drink water or fluids at least half an hour before and after meals, but not in between. If drinking too much water makes you feel sick, you can switch to other beverages like lime water, ginger ale, peppermint tea and ginger tea etc.
Change your Diet
Avoid cooking as much as possible during the first trimester as your increased sensitivity to different smells and tastes can cause pregnancy sickness. For ex: spicy, sugary and greasy foods can aggravate the symptoms of pregnancy sickness. Foods with strong odors can also cause severe vomiting.
During pregnancy, you need to opt for cold, bland foods that are properly cooked. Avoid leftovers or junk snacks that could possibly contribute to pregnancy sickness. Raw fruits and vegetables would keep you full and healthy while bland foods like salads, baked potatoes, chicken soup etc. will keep you safe from pregnancy sickness.
Certain snacks that can be considered safe during pregnancy include lemonade tarts, pretzels, salted tomato chips (not too much salt though), crackers, lemons (to smell or lick), watermelon, grapes (the frozen variety), apples, pickles (non spicy variety), ginger (jam), popsicles and Jell-O etc. Keep some of these handy with you for sudden attacks of nausea or vomiting.
Get Plenty of Rest
Your body would get tired easily during pregnancy. And this can possibly contribute to pregnancy sickness. Make sure you get plenty of rest throughout the day. Take frequent naps but make sure you don’t take a nap immediately after a meal as it would aggravate symptoms like nausea, dizziness and vomiting. Make sure you go to bed early in the night. If you wake up in the middle, eat a snack before going to sleep again. This would curb pregnancy sickness to a great extent.
Alternative Treatments and Supplements for Pregnancy Sickness
Take Vitamin B6 Supplements
Taking about 50mg of Vitamin B6 daily as supplements can help women cope with nausea and vomiting caused by pregnancy sickness. Ask your gynecologist about these supplements and whether you could take the same to curb pregnancy sickness.
Depending on your body condition and constraints, he/she would prescribe an appropriate supplement. Do not attempt to buy OTC medications and supplements to curb pregnancy sickness as they could cause potential side effects to both the mother and the child.
Use Relief or Sea Wrist Bands
You can also talk to your gynecologist about the possibility of using wrist bands to curb pregnancy sickness. These bands are usually worn around the wrist and target the acupressure pulse points in the hands to curb nausea and vomiting caused by pregnancy sickness. There are two kinds of wrist bands used for the purpose. They include the normal relief bands that need to be worn throughout the pregnancy term, and sea bands that can be worn until the symptoms of pregnancy sickness disappear.