Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms in early pregnancy. They can be the first symptoms a woman experiences and are sometimes an indication that she may be pregnant. They are often mild and most women can find ways to cope.
There are some misconceptions surrounding nausea and vomiting. The symptoms can collectively be referred to as Morning Sickness but they can occur at any point in the day and can also last all day.
This is a more serious illness. It presents as severe nausea and vomiting which can require a hospital admission to treat. It received greater public attention when HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, developed this in all three of her pregnancies.
As women progress into the second trimester, the nausea tends to subside and women start to feel a lot better.
There are several ways to reduce nausea and vomiting. It may take some trial and error to see what works for you and it will depend on the severity of your symptoms.
Tips for coping with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy
- Eating dry biscuits or dry toast before getting out of bed. However, some women prefer not to eat anything at all first thing in the morning.
- Eat little and often – rather than three big meals a day.
- Flat fizzy drinks – this has been found to be helpful in some cases. The fizzy drink also provides some sugar/energy if you are not able to keep food down.
- Avoid foods or smells that make the symptoms worse.
- Ginger – Ginger has recognised properties that can help with nausea. You can try ginger biscuits, ginger tea or root ginger.
- Travel sickness bands – These are placed on a pressure point on your wrist known to help with travel sickness, therefore it may aid with sickness in pregnancy.
- Acupuncture – This can really help. Make sure your therapist is qualified to work with pregnant women.
- Sip fluids – If you are struggling to keep food down, sip fluids slowly and drink little and often.
- Rest – You will be tired if you are experiencing nausea and vomiting and are not able to tolerate food.
- Anti-emetic medication – You may need anti-sickness medication if the above doesn’t work. Your GP can prescribe this for you.
You must call your GP or midwife if you are experiencing the following –
- unable to keep food or fluids down for more than 24 hours
- feeling very weak, dizzy or faint
- unable to pass urine or passing dark coloured urine
Tests will be carried out to see if you are dehydrated. You may need to have intravenous fluids (fluids that go into your vein) and anti-sickness medication. This doesn’t always require an overnight stay in hospital but it will depend on how unwell you are.
Women with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, and particularly with hyperemesis gravidarum, can feel very isolated. There is help and support out there. For woman with hyperemesis, there is a charity called Pregnancy Sickness Support who can offer help and advice. Click here to visit their website.
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