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Tips for surviving morning sickness


If you’ve ever had bad morning sickness, you’ll know the term is pretty much incorrect.

Morning sickness can start first thing in the morning and continue for the next 24 hours, while others may complain of a little bit of nausea in the morning which disappears after eating.

There is no way to predict if you’ll feel fine during your pregnancy, or if you’ll suffer through, struggling to keep any food down. Morning sickness usually starts at about four to six weeks’ gestation and most women start to feel better by the end of the first trimester. Some women will have symptoms right through pregnancy.  

AMA spokesman and Brisbane obstetrician Gino Pecoraro said morning sickness will affect all of us at some stage, and there are many different theories about why it occurs.

What causes morning sickness?
Some studies have shown that it may be a direct effect of hormones including human chorionic gonadotropin, oestrogen and progesterone. The production of these rises during the first trimester and then drops off again.

“Basically there a whole heap of metabolic reasons for why you may be feeling seedy,” Dr Pecoraro said.  Hormones are secreted by the placenta which may cause nausea and reduce your blood sugar levels.

Dr Pecoraro says if you have more placenta, such as having twins, there may have more side effects. And a women’s sense of smell and sensitivity to odours is enhanced during pregnancy. Some of these smells can trigger the gag reflex and make you feel nauseous.  

What can you do about severe morning sickness?
If you are suffering from severe vomiting and nausea, you don’t have to do it on your own. Dr Pecoraro said the best way to manage was to seek some help.

“There are a number of things we can do to help such as eating frequent small meals, taking antacids, drinking milk, putting a couple of pillows under your head when sleeping and avoiding certain foods that trigger the gag reflex,” Mr Pecoraro said.

Drinking plenty of fluids, including ice or ice blocks, can help as dehydration can make nausea and vomiting worse. Eating first thing in the morning can help, as can snacking on dry crackers or sucking on boiled lollies.

And keep food simple and easy to make. Taking ginger can also help with feelings of nausea, and some doctors recommend vitamin B6.

Is morning sickness dangerous?
While you may be feeling like you’re never going to start feeling better, babies are generally fine during morning sickness.

“Generally speaking, as mums get worse, babies will continue to do well,” Dr Pecoraro said. “They are designed to take the nutrients they need.”
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