Morning Sickness (or All Day Sickness!)
Pregnancy comes with a few perks. The proverbial “glow” that comes from being with child. Closer parking. An ability to blame our unsightly midsection issues on being the “baby bump.” But nothing puts a damper on the excitement of pregnancy like morning sickness. Whether you are generally queasy or just can’t keep anything down, morning sickness can strike at any time within a pregnancy, making its name something of a cruel joke.
If you experience morning sickness, you are not alone. More than half of all pregnant women experience it, making it one of the most common concerns during pregnancy. Symptoms vary from sensitivity to smells to vomiting. Morning sickness is especially known for rearing its ugly head during the first trimester and leaving soon after, though some moms continue to experience symptoms throughout the entire pregnancy, only obtaining relief after delivery.
While morning sickness is not harmful to you or your baby, it is important to keep your health care provider informed so that she or he can assess what the best measures of care are for you throughout your pregnancy. If you experience excessive vomiting, weight loss or dehydration, seek immediate help, as this may be a rare but more serious condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
The general nausea experienced in the first trimester is usually attributed to an excess amount of hormones circulating in a mother’s body. Some health care providers even consider morning sickness the sign of a healthy pregnancy, because they believe it indicates the placenta is developing well. Why some women get sick and others do not is somewhat of a medical mystery. Many old wives’ tales have circulated over the years to answer this very question.
For instance, extreme nausea is an indicator that you are carrying a girl. No doubt, other wives’ tales regarding pregnancy predictions come to mind: if you carry low, it must be a boy. If you have an insatiable appetite, you may be carrying multiples. If you have heartburn, your little one will have a lot of hair. While these suspicions have yet to be proven by medical data, the link between extreme nausea and carrying girls has now become more fact than fiction. According to a 2008 University of Washington study, pregnant women surveyed who were most sick (those requiring hospitalization for more than three days for nausea and dehydration) had an 80 percent chance of giving birth to a girl.
For many pregnant women, gender prediction is of secondary concern. The primary objective is simply a matter of making it to the end of each nauseating day. Midwife Suzanne Ryan suggests that pregnant women carry a bag of almonds with them at all times. Simply consuming a few handfuls every two hours can be an easy way to ensure that there aren’t peaks and valleys in the body’s glucose levels. Also, drinking ginger tea, taking B6 vitamins (50mg) daily and wearing sea bands are natural measures that have been found to provide relief. In extreme cases, some physicians may prescribe Zofran , a drug used for reducing nausea in cancer and radiation patients.
Some creativity may be required in handling day-to-day activities if you find yourself in the throes of morning sickness. It’s important to know your limits and ask for help. Eat small meals frequently throughout the day. Avoid odors and smells that trigger nausea. And perhaps most importantly, put baby booties in a place where you can easily see them in the “throne room” to remind yourself of the treasure awaiting you beyond this season.
Lauren Greenlee is thankful that morning sickness was but a brief part of her pregnancies. She and her family reside in Olathe.