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- Family Medicine
- Wellness Institute
September 19, 2019 • OB/GYN
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, commonly known as morning sickness, is often the first noticeable symptom of being pregnant.
Although most women see this condition as a normal part of the gestational process, chronic vomiting and nausea affect only about 50% of pregnant women, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA).
Although this condition does not typically pose any risk to an expecting mother or her unborn child, some complications may require the attention of your OB/GYN.
Not limited to the morning hours, this condition typically results from increased levels of hormones during the early phases of pregnancy. Low blood sugar levels can also lead to nausea and vomiting, which is why many women experience symptoms in the morning before having breakfast.
Some factors that increase the severity of your symptoms include being overly exhausted or stressed. Women expecting twins or triplets may also experience more severe symptoms.
This condition typically begins before the ninth week of pregnancy and subsides by the second trimester, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Although nausea accompanied by vomiting can last throughout your pregnancy, few women experience symptoms beyond the 14th week.
Most women experience nausea for only a few hours each day and vomit once or twice. Often, symptoms lessen once you eat a small meal to normalize blood sugar.
The ACOG recommends taking the following steps to help alleviate your discomfort:
You can also talk to your doctor for more recommendations to help you navigate this unpleasant aspect of your pregnancy.
As long as your symptoms do not become severe, morning sickness does not pose any risk to you or your baby. In fact, some healthcare professionals believe this condition correlates with the healthy development of the placenta, according to the APA.
However, if your symptoms persist throughout the day, if you cannot keep food or liquids down or you begin to lose weight, contact your OB/GYN immediately. This could indicate a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which affects approximately 3% of pregnancies. Hyperemesis gravidarum requires treatment to prevent dehydration and potential health risks for you or your baby.
If your symptoms persist throughout the day or last into the second trimester, see your OB/GYN for an evaluation. If you develop a fever, abdominal tenderness or pain, chronic headaches or an enlarged thyroid gland, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Talking to your doctor can also help alleviate any concerns you may have. Although your symptoms may be normal and pose no risk to you or your baby, your OB/GYN can help put your mind at ease about morning sickness.
“Morning Sickness.” American Pregnancy Association (APA).
“Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy.” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.