By Jonathan Whitborn
Tired of tossing your cookies?
Morning sickness is a common complaint of pregnant women, especially those who pray to the porcelain god on a daily basis. Despite its name, morning sickness can occur at any hour, and can begin as early as the third week of pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, morning sickness typically occurs during the first trimester, but others aren’t so lucky, though, and will battle morning sickness for the duration of their pregnancy.
Cause remains a mystery. In another cruel twist, the cause of morning sickness remains a mystery. Theories abound, but many health professionals believe that morning sickness is the product of many factors, such as higher levels of hormones, physical changes and a greater sensitivity to foods and odors. Regardless of its origin, morning sickness has been making pregnant women miserable for centuries. In fact, the earliest recorded cases of morning sickness date back to as far as Elizabethan England (1558-1603). Now that’s a true Shakespearian tragedy!
In addition to disrupting daily activities in a most unpleasant way, morning sickness poses potential health risks to both mother and child. Woman with severe morning sickness may lose excessive amounts of weight—frequent vomiting and a complete loss of appetite have a way of doing that. A malnourished mother can lead to a malnourished fetus, which can suffer growth abnormalities if deprived of essential vitamins and nutrients over a prolonged period of time. Because of these potentially life-threatening complications, women with brutal bouts of morning sickness should contact their doctor immediately.
10 Survival Tips
For those with mild to moderate morning sickness—and most pregnant women fall into this category—we offer these 10 survival tips.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and constipation. A cup of ice chips equals about a 1/2 cup of fluid, likewise for a cup of watermelon cubes.
- Make a running list of “bad trigger odors” and post each in your office or on your refrigerator to alert others. Trust us, your friends and family will thank you.
- Avoid the grocery store smells. Call in your order and have it delivered, or have someone else do your food shopping.
- Put on an extra sweater rather than turn up the heat. You lose more fluids when you turn up the thermostat.
- Summer heat, humidity and stale air seem to aggravate morning sickness. Purchase quiet air conditioner and drink plenty of fluids.
- Stop subscriptions to any magazines with perfumed pages, which often trigger nauseas feelings.
- If you crave pickles, eat them. Dill pickles are often preferred, and dillweed is considered a calmative in certain cultures. Pickles contain “built-in” fluids and fiber.
- Calm your stomach with ginger ale and crackers. Smelling a lemon or drinking lemonade also works in lieu of ginger ale. Crystallized ginger and ginger candies can also help soothe the stomach. There are even specialized products for morning sickness, like Preggie Pops, suckers infused with aromatherapy oils that can help soothe your stomach.
- If you have young children in diapers, make plans for regular child care until you are over the crisis.
- Re-think any travel or entertainment plans. You don’t want to get on a plane and end up feeling sick because of a bumpy flight, the smell of meals or strong cologne on a nearby passenger.
October 2010, Updated August 2012
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