How to prevent nausea or ‘morning sickness’ during pregnancy?

    Morning sickness, also known as nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP), is a common and often uncomfortable symptom experienced by many pregnant individuals during the early stages of pregnancy. Morning sickness tends to be more severe in pregnancies with multiples (e.g., twins or triplets) due to higher hormone levels. Several factors ranging from hormones to sensitivity are held accountable for morning sickness during pregnancy.

    Increased levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin

    Hormonal fluctuations, particularly increased levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen, play a significant role in triggering morning sickness. These hormonal changes are more pronounced during the first trimester of pregnancy when morning sickness is most common.

    Heightened sensitivity to odors

    Pregnancy can heighten a person’s sensitivity to odors, and certain smells that were once tolerable or even pleasant may become nauseating during pregnancy. This heightened sensitivity can contribute to feelings of nausea and vomiting.

    Gastrointestinal changes

    Pregnancy can lead to changes in the gastrointestinal tract, including delayed gastric emptying and relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter. These changes can result in acid reflux and the regurgitation of stomach contents, contributing to nausea and vomiting.

    Hyperemesis gravidarum

    While morning sickness is generally considered a normal part of pregnancy, severe and persistent cases of nausea and vomiting, known as hyperemesis gravidarum, can occur. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a more serious condition that can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and weight loss. “When there is vomiting excessively in a day and the mother is unable to tolerate anything consumed, when the mother does not pass adequate urine or very highly colored urine and when the mother is severely weak, feels dizzy and vomits blood, it is said to be hyperemesis gravidarum,” explains Dr. Deepa Rajendran, MBBS, MS – Obstetrics & Gynecology, Consultant Fortis Hospital, Richmond Road, Bengaluru. Pregnant individuals experiencing severe symptoms should seek medical attention for appropriate management and treatment.

    Here are a few remedies that can alleviate morning sickness condition

    “Nausea during pregnancy is a very common condition affecting most pregnant women. Though there is a common terminology “morning sickness” it can occur throughout the day. It usually occurs within 12-14 weeks of pregnancy, however for some it can last for few more weeks or even throughout the pregnancy,” says Dr. Rajendran and suggests a few remedies which include diet and lifestyle modifications that can improve the symptoms:

    • Get plenty of rest, as fatigue and tiredness can further aggravate nausea and vomiting
    • Avoid spicy, oily, very sweet foods
    • Eat small frequent meals that are rich in carbohydrates like rice, toast, crackers, potatoes, and bananas.
    • Drink plenty of fluids but in sips and avoid drinking large quantities at once, especially with meals.
    • Avoid any smell or noise which you feel is triggering the nausea.
    • Ginger is known to be very beneficial, especially when consumed with food or in the form of ginger candies.
    • Comfortable clothing and well-ventilated rooms.
    • Distract yourself and take the help and support of your family

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