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Managing Morning Sickness

Pregnancy Morning SicknessOften known as “morning sickness,” nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are some of the most common pregnancy symptoms, especially during the first trimester. And, despite the name, morning sickness can happen at all times during the day. The National Perinatal Association says these symptoms affect as many as 80% of pregnant women.

For some, morning sickness may be mild and only happen occasionally. For others, it can be more severe and ongoing. Either way, there are a few steps you can take to help make it more manageable.



Choose several small meals or snacks


Many pregnant moms notice their nausea is worse when they have an empty stomach or if they eat too much. As a result, you may want to eat several small snacks throughout the day and avoid large meals. This can help provide consistent nutrients to your body.


If you notice you have more nausea in the morning after you haven’t eaten all night, be prepared with a quick snack. For example, the American Pregnancy Association recommends keeping a stash of crackers by your bed to eat first thing in the morning. This can help settle your stomach before you even get up.



Pick foods that appeal to you


While variety in your food choices is important for good nutrition, it’s OK if you initially feel like eating only certain things. You may have pregnancy food cravings or food aversions. And these may change from week to week. Do the best you can to pick healthy options from the food items that currently appeal to you.  


In general, bland foods are best. This could include crackers, pretzels, or chicken broth. Simple carbs can also help, such as potatoes, toast, or rice. The American Academy of Family Physicians says many pregnant moms find it helpful to avoid foods that are greasy, spicy, or fatty.



Get enough fluids

Especially if you experience vomiting, make sure you’re getting enough fluids. While you’re pregnant, you may need more water than usual, so try to drink fluids throughout the day. The Office on Women’s Health says staying hydrated during pregnancy is important for many reasons. It can help prevent other pregnancy concerns, such as constipation, swelling, and urinary tract infections.



Ask your OB GYN about nausea remedies


You may hear about morning sickness remedies from friends or family. Some of these old wives’ tales may help. However, others may not be proven to be effective. Be sure to ask your OB GYN before you start taking any herbal supplements or medications.


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests ginger to help settle your stomach. You can find it in items like ginger candies, ginger ale, or ginger tea. In some cases, your OB GYN might also recommend vitamin B6. It’s considered safe during pregnancy, and you can buy it over the counter.



Avoid potential triggers


Pay attention to when your morning sickness symptoms are the worst. This can help you identify potential triggers. For example, a common first trimester symptom is increased sensitivity to smells. This may go hand-in-hand with the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness. If you notice smells, foods, or certain activities that seem to trigger your nausea, try to avoid them.



Know when it’s more than just “morning sickness”


In rare cases, severe morning sickness is a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. It causes extreme nausea and vomiting and often makes pregnant moms lose weight. It can last throughout your pregnancy and often needs special care.


The March of Dimes says to seek medical care if you are vomiting more than three times a day to the point that you can’t keep food or liquids down. And watch for signs of dehydration. These can include dizziness, your heart beating faster, or producing little to no urine.


If you’re worried about severe symptoms or if morning sickness gets in the way of work or daily activities, talk to your OB GYN. He or she can provide treatments to help you feel better and keep your baby safe.



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