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Morning Sickness during First Trimester
7. Mar, 2011
Morning sickness is a type of nausea that affects almost 70 percent of expectant mothers during their first trimester of pregnancy. Although the term would seem to indicate that this nausea occurs only in the morning, it can be experienced just as often in the afternoon, evening, and night. This nausea can sometimes pass quickly, but it can also become strong so as to elicit vomiting and dizziness.
Causes of Morning Sickness during Pregnancy
The exact cause and reason for morning sickness have not yet been determined by medical science. It is believed to have evolved as a method of protecting expectant mothers from eating harmful foods. Because cravings to eat can be intense, morning sickness triggered by the smell or sight of harmful substances may prevent women from eating it. If a harmful food has already been eaten, vomiting may be helpful in expelling it before it reaches the bloodstream and the fetus.
Human chorionic gonadotropin(hCG) – This is a hormone that increases greatly during the first trimester of pregnancy. Women with higher levels of hCG tend to experience morning sickness more severely. Although it is held as responsible for morning sickness by some doctors, the exact mechanism is unknown. Estrogen – Estrogen levels also increase during the first trimester of pregnancy. It may play a hand in morning sickness, but again, no scientific evidence exists. Enhanced sense of smell – Many women become extremely sensitive to odors during their first trimester of pregnancy. It is often a sense of being overwhelmed by a particular odor that triggers a bout of morning sickness. Sensitive GI tract – Some womens’ gastrointestinal tracts become sensitive to changes in the early stages of pregnancy. The presence of certain bacteria found in the GI tract has been linked to more severe symptoms of morning sickness.
Tips to Reduce Morning Sickness during Pregnancy
Over the years, several remedies have been found to be effective in reducing or even eliminating the symptoms of morning sickness. The nausea and vomiting that many women experience in their first trimester can usually be dealt with by controlling diet and exposure to foods. Here are some of the top strategies that can be used to deal with morning sickness:
Have something in stomach – Never skip meals. Have a snack before going to sleep, and eat some crackers or a piece of toast in the morning directly upon waking.
Eat frequently – Reduce the size of meals and eat less per sitting but more frequently. For example, eat 6 small meals rather than three large meals.
Drink between meals – Drink liquids before and after meals instead of during meals.
Eat low-fat, high-protein foods – Lean meats, tuna, chicken breast, eggs, and beans are all beneficial.
Eat simple carbohydrates – Fruit, pasta, rice, cereal, and bread are all good sources and also easily digestible.
Avoid spicy and fried foods – Spicy foods and excess fat can easily upset the stomach and trigger nausea.
Hot or cold – Some women experience nausea by the smell of cooking or cooked foods. Switching to cold foods may help reduce morning sickness.
Sip juice – Sipping on juice or a non-caffeine lemon-lime soda can reduce feelings of nausea.
Discover triggers – Every woman has different triggers that bring on an episode of morning sickness. Triggers can be sights, smells, or sounds. They are not always obvious right away, but paying attention to environment, will help pinpointing the exact triggers. It is then a simple matter to avoid them.
Ginger – Ginger has been scientifically proven to reduce nausea and help women who are experiencing morning sickness. Fresh ginger can improve appetite and ease digestion. Ginger root can be sliced and added to many recipes. It can also be used as an ingredient in marinades. Dried ginger root can also be used to brew ginger tea. Up to 250 mg of fresh ginger can be eaten safely 4 times per day. Ginger extract can also be purchased as a dietary supplement. Ginger in quantities not exceeding 1 gram (1000 milligrams) per day can be taken throughout pregnancy period.
1. Leslie Beck, R.D. “The Ultimate Nutrition Guide for Women: How to Stay Healthy with Diet, Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs” (accessed on 07th March, 2011)
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