Whether it's Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up, or inmates in Orange Is the New Black, Hollywood loves a little morning sickness. From green-gilled nausea to the scramble for the nearest bin, sink or toilet, it's basically a faster way to indicate an on-screen pregnancy than a positive stick test.
Like most things though, Hollywood's depiction of morning sickness — most commonly known these days as Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy (or NVP for short) — isn't entirely accurate, and morning sickness in real life isn't as easy to drop as a plotline.
Outside of the movies, NVP affects somewhere between 70 to 80 per cent of pregnant people, and understanding it, the impact it has on your body, and the ways you can ease symptoms is a crucial step to navigating your pregnancy.
What is morning sickness?
Well, for one thing, it's not something limited to the mornings, so the name NVP is a little more fitting. Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is, in a lot of ways, exactly what it sounds like.
It's nausea and vomiting and fatigue, often triggered by certain smells or activities. Usually limited to your first trimester, the exact cause of it is unknown, but it's believed to be a side-effect of your body adjusting to the influx of pregnancy hormones after you conceive.
What does morning sickness feel like?
While it can vary, morning sickness generally involves nausea and vomiting, difficulties eating certain foods, exhaustion, and sometimes feeling a little down.
A peer-reviewed study in the Netherlands surveyed women who experienced variations of morning sickness, and of those, 33.6 per cent experienced daily nausea, 9.6 per cent regular vomiting and 44.4 per cent fatigue.
The combination of those things can make for a pretty uncomfortable early pregnancy, and leave many people on the phone with their healthcare provider looking for morning sickness relief.
Is it always limited to the first trimester?
Usually! But unfortunately, not always. Everybody is different, which means that every body is different, and the way you respond to pregnancy is going to be unique.
Generally speaking though, most pregnant women find that their symptoms usually lessen in the second trimester and that symptoms overall stop between 14 and 20 weeks.
Why do some people experience morning sickness and others don't?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of questions about pregnancy that don't have answers yet, and this is one of the big ones.
Doctors don't really know why some people experience that pregnancy queasiness while others don't — all they do know is that the answer seems to lie in those rapidly escalating hormones before things stabilise in the second trimester.
Will morning sickness affect my baby?
NVP on its own shouldn't have any impact on your baby, but some of the side effects like dehydration can — especially in severe morning sickness cases.
It's important to speak to your doctor or health professional if you notice severe nausea or other severe morning sickness symptoms to help you navigate this experience.
When is morning sickness not morning sickness?
For some people, nausea and vomiting can intensify and keeping any sort of meal down becomes impossible.
In these cases, you'll often find that you lose weight and you can become so sick that you find it hard to work or go about your life as normal.
When this severe morning sickness hits, it's likely evolved from morning sickness to a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. If you believe you might have hyperemesis gravidarum, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Remedies for morning sickness
Luckily, numerous studies have shown that there are plenty of morning sickness remedies that can help you to ease your symptoms, many of which can even be found in your pantry.
It's this combination of foods, drinks, natural remedies, prenatal vitamins and prescription medications that can have you saying goodbye to nausea and vomiting and hello to a smoother pregnancy journey.
Especially if you're vomiting. Drink plenty of water, but if you can't keep that down, there are many other drinks that can help with your fluid intake. Flat lemonade, electrolyte-based sports drinks, clear soup and weak tea can all help to relieve morning sickness and reduce nausea.
Our body needs to stay hydrated and healthy at the best of times and this also aids in reducing bloating.
Kin's Electrolyte Powder is packed with ingredients that work together to keep you hydrated, healthy and energised. Electrolytes and Vitamin C are essential for keeping your water levels up and for providing essential nutrients to support your body’s mineral and fluid balance.
- Many women report that they have found relief in using ginger as an aid to ease nausea. You can try it in many different forms and it's about finding what works for you. Ginger-based foods and drinks like ginger ale or ginger tea, and ginger candies or ginger lollipops can be useful. You can also buy ginger tablets from your local pharmacy, which are particularly concentrated and perfect for combatting morning sickness.
- Avoid having an empty stomach by eating frequent meals, but also avoid large meals where you can. Eating small meals of plain foods like rice, toast, lean meat, trail mix or plain, sweet biscuits can be a way of keeping your sugar levels up without disrupting your stomach.
- Also avoid eating spicy or fatty foods with complex carbohydrates as these have been found to make morning sickness worse.
- If you are struggling to keep any foods or liquids down, an icy pole or another water-based ice block can be a good alternative to keep you hydrated.
- Try supplements. Recent research suggests that probiotics have a really positive impact on morning sickness relief, while prenatal vitamins which are high in vitamin B6, such as Kin's Prenatal Vitamins, can also help ease an upset stomach, nausea and other morning sickness symptoms. In extreme cases, over-the-counter medications like anti-nausea tablets can help prevent vomiting.
- Acupressure wristbands that target your acupressure point on your inner wrist have also been shown to help combat nausea and help you to keep food down.
- And finally, get some rest wherever and however you can.
Managing morning sickness symptoms is never easy, but these tools and resources are can help make it a little easier to navigate. If you believe your symptoms are escalating or that you have hyperemesis gravidarum, you should speak to your doctor immediately.
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