Nausea and vomiting are common during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. The exact cause of these symptoms is not fully understood, but they are thought to be related to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. The hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is produced by the placenta and can be detected in the blood and urine of pregnant women. High levels of hCG may contribute to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Other possible contributing factors include:
- Increased sensitivity to certain smells and tastes
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Morning sickness (which can occur at any time of the day)
- Stress or anxiety
It is important to note that not all pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting, and the severity of these symptoms can vary. Some women may have only mild symptoms, while others may experience more severe vomiting that may lead to dehydration and malnutrition. If you are experiencing severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, it is important to speak to your doctor or midwife for advice and treatment. Here are some tips to help alleviate nausea during the first trimester:
- Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day instead of three large ones. Avoid having an empty stomach, as this can worsen nausea. If you feel nauseous upon waking up in the morning, try eating a small snack (like crackers or toast) before getting out of bed. Let the food digest for a few minutes before slowly getting up.
- Drink liquids between meals, but avoid drinking for 30 minutes before and after eating solid food.
- Use ginger in cooking or eat ginger snacks or candy, as ginger can help with motion sickness and nausea.
- Avoid citrus juice, milk, coffee, and caffeinated products, as these can worsen symptoms.
- Avoid fried, greasy, spicy, acidic, very sweet, or strongly-odored foods.
- Try using motion sickness bands that use acupressure (such as sea bands).
- Consider over-the-counter medications that are safe during pregnancy:
***Note that all of these antihistamines may cause drowsiness, so it is recommended to start with a half-tablet and increase as tolerated to minimize side effects. It’s important to consult your healthcare provider before beginning any medication or supplement regimen. Keep in mind that this information is for educational purposes only and may not be suitable for everyone’s unique circumstances.