So, you’re pregnant!
And you feel the worst.
People love to brush morning sickness off with a cute, “awww, that special time!” comment and a “but you know that means the baby’s healthy!”. You will come across other mothers who remember clearly how it felt and will offer you commiserations. However, well wishes and smiles aren’t going to get you through it. Morning sickness is very rarely only in the morning. Many people find it worsens in the evening, and some people have the feeling of nausea or dullness all day long.
WHAT ACTUALLY IS MORNING SICKNESS? Why is this happening to me?
Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting that is normally experienced between 4 – 20 weeks of pregnancy. It’s still not known what exactly causes it, with various studies suggesting proteins in the blood, changes in hormone levels, high levels of hCG (the hormone that makes the 2nd line show up on your pregnancy test), or simply evolution – the body rejecting the majority of food to prevent anything toxic harming the baby’s growth.
There’s lots of ways to try to manage morning sickness, and you will find some things work better than others for you.
- In the morning: eat before you get up out of bed. Keep a little tub of crackers or dry cereal next to your bed, and nibble some before getting up. This will help balance you out and may prevent the nausea from hitting you the minute you stand up.
- Ginger. Ginger tea, ginger biscuits, ginger ale – anything involving real ginger root will help to settle your stomach.
- Lemon or Peppermint. If you are feeling nauseous, a sniff of lemon or peppermint will refresh you, clear your head and sometimes makes the feeling go away. You can use fresh lemons or mint leaves, or you can use essential oils.
- Small Meals. Some people find that smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, rather than the usual breakfast/lunch/dinner, prevents nausea.
- Sea Bands. These sea-sickness bracelets provide relief for some.
- Medication. If the above natural remedies aren’t helping you, you can be prescribed safe medication to help relive morning sickness. Speak with your doctor to find what’s best for you.
HYPEREMENSIS GRAVIDARUM (HG)
If your nausea and vomiting are severe (and accompanied by other symptoms such as dehydration or headaches), your doctor may diagnose you with HG. It is a very serious and severe medical condition, and one that you will need to manage with your doctor. Few people fully understand the unrelenting and debilitating effects of HG, and having people suggest eating crackers might drive you to despair. To read more about it, the HER foundation has a lot of information and support. You might also wish to join the support group on Facebook, or one in your town. Being around people who understand will help you to manage this illness.
Illustration by Annya Marttinen (her website is gorgeous!)