NAUSEA IN PREGNANCY: SOLUTIONS

 

I remember driving home,

glowing with the knowledge of just finding out that I was pregnant for the second time.

 

How glorious! I felt amazing!

 

I could definitely go for even that third pregnancy…..

 

Then the nausea hit…. with a vengeance..

 

Needless to say , I now only have two children

and no more for me…

 

I would not wish pregnancy nausea on anyone…

 

READ ON

 

Those who have experienced pregnancy nausea or morning sickness are probably smiling as they read this…

 

Why do they call it morning sickness when it can strike at any time of the day ?

It commonly occurs at 4pm in the afternoon.

Or even at night.

 

Just because you had it in one pregnancy, does not mean that it will happen again in the next.

It also can be worse in one pregnancy and better in another.

There are no rules.

 

What we do know is that it usually starts at around 6 weeks of pregnancy and in most women it has eased up by 16 weeks.

It hits a peak at around week 9-10.

High pregnancy hormone levels are the cause.

It is more likely to happen in twin pregnancies.

About 80% of pregnant women will experience it some form.

 

Some women (about 1%) can experience a situation called Hyperemesis Gravidarum which is severe nausea and vomiting related specifically to pregnancy. Things can get so bad that a hospital admission may be necessary to treat the resulting vomiting and dehydration.

 

The good news is that research has found that in women who are nauseous, things are more likely to turn out ok in their pregnancy.

 

There are many ways to tackle the nausea and vomiting and everyone will offer an opinion and a remedy –even if you haven’t asked.

 

What you will learn by trial and error is do what works for you

And what works today may not work tomorrow.

 

HERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO DO THE TRICK:

 

WHAT YOU EAT

Nausea is triggered by an empty stomach. Try to fill it with too much food, too quickly, and the nausea gets worse.

First thing in the morning try having a small portion of dry toast or crackers. Just a little. Snack frequently throughout the day. Dry carbohydrates work best, like baked potato, carrot sticks or slices of apple.

 

Watch portion size. Too many carbs and your weight can become a problem.

 

Ginger also works if you can handle the taste. Try it in the form of ginger sweets, biscuits or tea.

 

Don’t eat and drink together. Wait at least an hour after eating before drinking any liquids. Mixing liquids and solids together is not a good idea. It makes the stomach feel fuller and more bloated.

 

Avoid rich, fatty foods. This can lead to bloating which further aggravates things .

 

Another thing you may notice is an increased sensitivity to smells. Smelling certain foods can stimulate nausea and a gagging reflex.

From an evolutionary point of view the thought is that this was our inbuilt mechanism to protect our growing baby. We would warn ourselves when food was off and so avoid getting sick.

 

Keep lemons on hand. Sniffing this refreshing smell or drinking water flavoured with fresh lemon slices often calms nausea.

 

Your vitamin supplements may make things worse. Some women experience nausea from the iron component of the supplement or from having to swallow a large vitamin pill. You may have to stop your vitamins temporarily until the nausea settles. Remember the most important vitamin is folic acid in the first trimester. This protects against spinal cord defects in the developing fetus. Most women can still manage to take it.

 

MEDICATION

 

I usually advise taking as little unnecessary medication as possible in pregnancy. Sometimes though, pregnancy nausea is so bad that medication becomes a crucial part of the management plan.

 

ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR OWN DOCTOR ABOUT WHAT IS SAFE FOR YOU BEFORE TRYING ANY MEDICATION.

In South Africa there are two over the counter preparations that are generally considered safe in pregnancy:

EMEX SYRUP: the active ingredient is an anti nausea agent.

The dose is 10 to 20 ml as necessary but not more than 100ml in an hour.

 

ASIC TABLETS: this preparation contains active ingredients DICYCLOMINE and DOXYLAMINE with PYRIDOXINE(vitamin B6)

These ingredients have anti spasmodic and antihistamine effects and can cause drowsiness.

The dose is 2 tablets at bedtime, 1 tablet first thing in the morning and 1 tablet at lunch time.

If these products don’t do the trick, prescription medication may be necessary.

 

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

Studies have shown that acupuncture or acupressure can make a difference.

Wearing a motion sickness bracelet puts pressure on a point around the wrist called P6 .

Having regular treatment sessions with an expert therapist can also be useful when all else is not working.

 

For most women, pregnancy nausea is mild and irritating. For other women it is severe. While it lasts, it can affect our physical and emotional wellbeing.

We put up with it because we know it has to end. We also hope and pray that it is just a small part of the journey to something wonderful.

 

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