Morning sickness is due to the changes in the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone which women experience early in pregnancy' says nutritionist Russell Bouwman. The symptoms of morning sickness don't just include nausea and sickness. Symptoms can include cramps, heart-burn, cravings, intense hunger, a metallic taste in your mouth and feeling of weakness and tiredness. Morning sickness may also be related to the increased sensitivity to odours that pregnant women experience, which can trigger nausea. Unfortunately this is all just part of being pregnant, and your doctor won't be able to prescribe you anything to relieve the symptoms, which are usually confined to the first trimester of pregnancy.
But its not all bad news as according to a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the USA, women who vomit during pregnancy are more likely to carry all the way to term and deliver healthier babies.
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, famously suffers from hyperemesis gravidarum, an acute and potentially dangerous form of morning sickness. For most women, the symptoms of morning sickness are mild to moderate but for an unlucky few, (on average 1 in 50 expectant mothers), morning sickness occurs in its most severe form. If you suffer from this condition, you may vomit so much that you are unable to keep any food or drink down and hospitalisation may be necessary in order to be intravenously fed fluids.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is pH neutral, so it can help settle the stomach acid which causes nausea. Add 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water first thing in the morning to help keep nausea at bay.
Almonds – Almonds are a great source of protein and calcium, both of which can settle your stomach. Soak 10 almonds (unroasted) overnight, peel off the skins in the morning before eating.
Water - drinking water is essential to compensate for the fluids lost during vomiting. Keep a pint of mineral water by your bed with the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt. The lemon juice makes the water more alkaline and this seems to settle the stomach.
Vitamin B6 - Some experts believe morning sickness is caused by high levels of oestrogen in the system. Oestrogen can build up when the liver isn't efficiently flushing away the excess. Vitamin B6 can help clear away excess toxins by optimising liver function.
Ginger – Ginger supplements have been proven to ease nausea by helping food to pass more rapidly through the digestive system, as well as reducing the stimulation to the part of the brain that prompts nausea or vomiting.
Become a protein grazer - Eat small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day so your stomach is not too empty or too full at once. Research suggests that high-protein foods were more likely to ease symptoms.
Snack attack - keep simple snacks such as ginger biscuits or crackers by your bed. When you first wake up, eat a small amount and then rest for a while longer before getting up. Snacking may also help you feel better if you wake up feeling sick in the middle of the night.
Take it slow - Getting up slowly in the morning, by sitting on the bed for a few minutes rather than jumping right up may also be helpful.
Smell the roses, or not - Try to avoid foods and smells that trigger your nausea. Due to your heightened sense of smell, you may find that certain foods that you enjoyed before you fell pregnant may make you feel queasy now. If so, you could try sticking to more bland smelling or tasting foods for the short term.
Remember, even if you are struggling to keep food down, it is vital that you keep on drinking. Drink small amounts often. Herbal teas like peppermint or ginger, fruit teas, hot water with lemon are all good. If you really can't keep water down. it is really important that you see your doctor. Anti-nausea medication may be necessary if your vomiting is excessive and you are becoming dehydrated. Some women may even need intravenous fluids in a hospital.
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