Although it’s called morning sickness, it can happen at any time during the day. For most women it stops around the 12th - 14th weeks. If you are still experiencing nausea and vomiting and you are past the 1st trimester, it’s highly recommended that you visit your healthcare professional because you could have a case of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Doctors aren’t quite certain what causes it exactly, but it only affects less than 3% of all pregnancies. The condition can be easily identified if you are excessively vomiting multiple times a day and it is impeding on your daily activities.
What Causes Nausea or ‘Morning Sickness’ During Pregnancy?
Despite significant research being done by scientists to understand the cause of nausea or vomiting in early pregnancy, the reason for morning sickness in pregnancy is yet to be discovered. Researchers have discovered a link between the HCG Hormone (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) commonly called the pregnancy hormone and increase in nausea and vomiting, so they conclude that the two are closely related, but are not certain as to why.
Some of the theories as to why women become nauseous during pregnancy are related to stress and fatigue. Other theories suggest that since your body is going through many changes, your stomach sensitivity is heightened.
When Does Nausea Start in Pregnancy?
For most women it starts between the 4th - 6th week. Throughout the next month that follows nausea and vomiting can intensify and occur multiple times throughout the day. Most women report that it finally stops after usually the 14th week, but it can continue even into the 2nd and 3rd trimester. This symptom of pregnancy is different for all women, about 25% may not even experience it.
It can happen at any point in the day. It was coined morning sickness because it usually starts in the early morning and wears off as you become active throughout the day. Every woman's body is different though, so it is difficult to generalize. Some women report experiencing nausea in the evening, especially when they get off their feet and relax after a long day.
What Helps with Pregnancy Nausea?
Here are some tips for minimizing the effects of nausea during pregnancy depending on the time of day you feel it.
If you feel more nauseous in the morning:
Try waking up slightly earlier than you normally would and allow yourself more time to get out of bed and start the day. Keep a stash of crackers or cereal that you can nibble on first thing in the morning to have something in your stomach before you get up. Salted crackers or whole grain cereals can calm your stomach sensitivity. Allowing yourself extra time to slowly get moving can help you ease into your day and decrease nauseousness.
If you feel nauseous throughout the day:
Avoid eating big meals, eat smaller meals more often. Drink LOTS of water, but avoid drinking while eating. Try limiting water intake to 30 minutes before or after meals. If you’re feeling nauseous often throughout the day it could be a sign of dehydration. Drinking plenty of water can help flush out toxins and ease stomach sensitivity. Listen to your body and avoid eating foods that smell off to you. If you feel like eating, eat, if not then avoid eating until you feel slightly better.
Lemon and ginger are natural remedies for vomiting and nausea. Ginger tea, ginger candies are commonly used as sources of relief. Smelling and ingesting lemon, even in small quantities can help relief sensitivity to food as well.
Napping right after eating can actually increase nausea, so avoid napping after a big meal. Also avoid being in a very warm temperature setting as increased heat can actually be a cause of nausea.
If you feel nauseous in the evening:
Cook healthy, lighter meals and avoid eating greasy or very spicy meals. For a little while, when nausea is more intense, try eating foods that are more bland like basic grains (plain white rice, potatoes), steamed or baked vegetables, and bland vegetable or chicken broth with few ingredients.
When to talk to your healthcare practitioner?
In general, you should ask for the advice of your doctor regarding prenatal supplements. Vitamin B6 has been proven to reduce nausea and vomiting and is critical for healthy brain and nervous system function. It is possible to consume enough vitamin B6 through food sources, but when nausea is a symptom, a doctor may suggest taking a supplement.
As all women are different, some natural or home remedies may not work for you. In this case, you may want to consider using a stronger, prescribed cure. Talk to your healthcare practitioner to see which prescription is best for the types of nausea or morning sickness you are experiencing.