SingaporeMotherhood | Pregnancy
Morning Sickness Be Gone!
According to the American Pregnancy Association, about 70 to 80 per cent of pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, but don’t be fooled by the ‘morning’ in the term – morning sickness can strike at any time of the day, although it tends to be at its worst first thing in the morning. And, although it’s a very common condition, it’s also very varied, which means that every woman experiences different symptoms.
When Does It Start?
Morning sickness usually starts around the six week mark and disappears when you hit week 12 in your pregnancy. However, a small number of women do continue to experience it in their second trimester, while an even smaller number unfortunately go through it throughout their pregnancy.
Why Is This Happening To Me?
There is no real cause as to why it happens, but high levels of hormones and fluctuations in blood pressure seem to be the main culprits. The most severe type of morning sickness is known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
When this happens, pregnant mums-to-be experience symptoms such as severe nausea and vomiting, and weight loss. Mild cases can be treated with rest, antacids and some changes in diet. However, severe cases will require hospitalisation, where the mother is put on bed rest and receives food and nutrients through an intravenous line.
Here are some ways to make yourself feel better if you’re suffering from morning sickness.
Tune in to your body
Morning sickness usually follows a pattern so get a diary and jot down what times of the day you feel at your best and at your worst. It could be caused by the smells from tea-time at work, or cooking odours from the hawker centre that you have to walk past on your way home. Either way, you’ll get an insight into what triggers your nausea, and will be able to deal with it better by avoiding them.
Drink lots of Water
Staying hydrated helps to keep the nauseous feeling down so drink plenty of water. There is no need to gulp down a litre at once. Take small sips at regular times. Some women find it more comfortable to suck on an ice cube instead of drinking water. That’s fine too, as long as you’re getting as much hydration as possible.
Eat, Eat, Eat
You might feel like you can’t keep anything down as soon as you swallow it but there will be some foods that agree with you more than others. Although generally bland foods like saltine crackers and dry cereal work best for pregnant women’s tummies, other foods depend on the individual. Find what works for you through trial-and-error (sorry!) and stick to it. You really are eating for two and you need to keep food down even if you don’t have an appetite.
Graze On Food
It’s better to graze on food a few times a day instead of sticking to your usual three meals a day. This is because an empty stomach tends to trigger nausea more easily. Eat small meals frequently. Have smaller meals so you’re not too full and take (healthy) snacks throughout the day. Find out which snacks work best for you and keep them close to you. For example, if you find crackers work well for you, keep a few packs in your handbag so you can snack on them between meals. Eating dry crackers before you get out of bed in the morning is an option that works well for a lot of women.
If you’re not feeling well, have a lie-down and rest for a bit. Even a 10-minute power nap can do wonders for the way you feel. If you wake up and don’t feel like going to work, call in to find out if you can work from home for the day, or take the day off. If the nausea is extreme, see a doctor.
Smells Be Gone
Since nausea is usually triggered by smells, try not to cook. If possible, get someone else to cook for you so you won’t have to ‘suffer’ through smelling the food while it’s being prepared. If you really have to cook for yourself, make sure the house is well ventilated. Opening the doors and windows and turning on the fan will help to get rid of the smells as quickly as possible.
There’s a reason that this is known as a soother of the belly. Get as much ginger in you as possible, in its various forms. Put a thin slice of it into tea or hot water, eat gingerbread or biscuits, sip on ginger ale.
The more you think about how sick you feel, the more sick you will feel. While we don’t
recommend you should be doing anything too strenuous, keep yourself busy by doing relaxing things like reading a book, or even go for a stroll if you are so inclined.
Doc Knows Best
Don’t be afraid to see a doctor if your morning sickness is unbearable or is affecting your everyday life, especially if you can’t keep anything down.
There’s no explanation as to why some remedies work for some women and not others. Don’t be afraid to try them, no matter how ridiculous they sound. And, if you find something that works foryou, go ahead and do it, even if you’ve never heard about it before.
Tight clothes – especially around the abdomen – will make you feel uncomfortable so wear loose-fitting clothes.
Say Yes to Help
It’s perfectly normal to feel tired in the first trimester and fatigue can actually make your morning sickness feel worse. Get help if you aren’t able to deal with your daily chores. For example, if you have children, arrange for someone to look after them a few hours a day so you can get some rest. If you’re working, try to ask for shorter working hours if possible, or take more breaks than you usually do.
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