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How to Handle Nausea During Your Pregnancy

One of the most dreaded pregnancy symptoms is morning sickness (or in some cases, day and night sickness as well). On the plus side, nausea is usually a sign that the mother's body is producing an adequate amount of hormones, leading to less of a chance of a having a miscarriage. On the negative side, there’s the seemingly never-ending, inconvenient and sometimes dangerous nausea and vomiting that can make it difficult to keep anything down.

Nausea during pregnancy is most prevalent during the first trimester when hormone levels are rising.  Usually beginning around 14 weeks, and easing off somewhere around the 21st week, many women begin to feel their best during their second trimester after the nausea and vomiting lessen. The drop in nausea is directly related to a slowing production of certain he  pregnancy hormones.  When hormone levels stop climbing, the nausea stops for most women. Other women, however, experience nausea and vomiting throughout their entire pregnancy.

Medical science still hasn't quite figured out why some women are more susceptible to morning sickness than others, or why some women have more severe nausea and vomiting in one pregnancy and may have in others. 

Nausea during pregnancy is inconvenient.  Depending on the severity of an individual case, nausea and vomiting may be disruptive to daily activities and in some cases it may limit where expectant moms go and what they do.  It is most important during this time, the frequent small meals and try to avoid any foods that may trigger an attack.  It has been reported that for some women eating potato chips and drinking lemonade, has helped to ease nausea symptoms.  Taking an additional folic acid supplement may also help.   Just make sure to talk with your doctor before taking any additional medications. 

Besides being inconvenient, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can sometimes be dangerous. Serious nausea and vomiting during pregnancy  can result in a condition known as hyperemesis, which is typically diagnosed when a woman has lost at least 10% of her body weight because of nausea and vomiting. If you experience significant nausea and vomiting, you can become dehydrated and your electrolytes balance may become imbalanced – which can be dangerous for everyone. The usual treatment for this is a combination of anti-nausea medications and intravenous fluids to replace the fluids you have lost. You may need to be placed in the hospital temporarily for treatment or some women who have long-term hyperemesis may receive home health and complete IV therapies at home.

In addition, there are a number of ways to handle nausea during pregnancy. No one method works for every mother to be – some methods work better than others and some methods work for a while then stop. Keep trying to find something that works for you, and talk to your doctor if nausea and vomiting are becoming particularly problematic. There are several prescription medications that have been successfully used to treat nausea during pregnancy, Phenergan being one of the most common, along with a medication that has been used to treat chemotherapy nausea. 

The old standard advice of saltine crackers and ginger ale is still valid, as the saltiness of the crackers helps to settle the stomach for some women. On the other hand, some women find that potato chips work better, so feel free to indulge! In addition, although ginger ale contains only minimal amounts of ginger, ginger has long been utilized to help ease a troublesome tummy. Some studies suggest that ingesting large amounts of ginger during pregnancy can cause problems, so you may want to be cautious. For some women, just the scent of ginger can be calming, as can the scent of fresh lemons.

Some women find that bland foods are soothing, while other women find they have less problems with spicy foods. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find a woman who will report throwing up dry toast and plain oatmeal, but being able to easily eat spicy Chinese food without any problems. See what kinds of foods sound appealing to you and give them a try. In addition, most women find that if they eat frequent, small meals throughout the day, they feel better and have less nausea.

If you aren’t able to get control of your morning sickness with food choices alone, know that some women find that wearing acupressure anti-nausea wrist bands helps. Lying on your right side when you lay down also helps your stomach empty more quickly and may help reduce your nausea symptoms.

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