Morning sickness is one of those rites of passage for pregnant
women. It seems like everyone expects to experience those waves of nausea but in reality only a few
women really have a tough time.
Morning sickness is thought to occur as the amount of
pregnancy hormone, HCG-human chorionic gonadotropin, increases. This chemical seems to trigger a
nausea sensation that can last for a few hours to the entire day. Although we don’t know the exact
way it works, we have come up with some strategies to help reduce its impact.
Mild nausea is pretty common. A lot of my patients tell me that it
feels like an empty pit in their stomach and the only way to ease the feeling is to continuous
nibble throughout the day. I usually suggest that they eat crackers, granola bars and as many
healthy snacks as necessary. I don’t encourage patients to gorge themselves because they will tack
on a quick 5-10 pounds if they aren’t careful.
nausea leads to episodes of vomiting and a reducing in food intake. This group needs to speak
with their doctor and monitor their weight. I recommend that these women separate liquids from
solids (dry cereal separated from milk), avoid citrus juices, and eat small frequent meals. If these
suggestions don’t work, I ask them to drink flat soda, ginger ale, take additional Vitamin B 6, try
ginger pills, and try sea bands. Holding off on prenatal vitamins might also be a good idea as they
tend to be big pills and can make even a normal pregnant woman a little nauseated.
Severe nausea becomes a medical problem that requires physician
intervention. These women cannot hold down food or liquid. A constant dry mouth, feeling thirsty and
a reduction in urination are signs of dehydration. The doctor can check the urine and find evidence
of poor nutrition too. Intravenous fluids are the first step in trying to help these women. Oral,
rectal, or intravenous nausea medications may be used to help reduce the overwhelming sense of
nausea. Hospitalization and intravenous nutritional support are needed by some patients. Typically
the nausea eases as the first trimester ends and she will begin to improve.
It is very
hard to watch your partner suffer. Ask her if you can get her any special food. Perhaps she has a
craving (like pickles and ice cream) or finds certain odors to be annoying. Be supportive, encourage
her, and remind her that women with nausea have more successful pregnancies and fewer
As always you should consult with you partner’s doctor if you have