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Women’s Health

Understanding Morning Sickness in Pregnancy

01 November 2023 · 3 mins read


Morning sickness is a common part of pregnancy. It can vary from one pregnancy to another. Find out when to visit a doctor.

Morning sickness or nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is common during the initial stages of pregnancy. However, morning sickness can affect a pregnant mother during the day or night or all day long despite its name.

Risk factors for morning sickness

It is believed that hormonal changes during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy play a significant role. However, there are various risk factors that could increase the likelihood of experiencing morning sickness.

You may be at a higher risk if:

  • You are expecting twins or multiple babies.
  • You had severe morning sickness during a previous pregnancy.
  • You tend to experience motion sickness.
  • You have a history of migraine headaches.
  • You have a family history of morning sickness.
  • This is your first pregnancy.
  • You have an elevated body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
  • You are under significant stress.

Treating morning sickness

Morning sickness typically subsides by the 14th week of your pregnancy and does not pose a risk to your baby's well-being. However, in some instances, it can persist for several weeks or even months. For a few women, it continues throughout the pregnancy.

Morning sickness can be uncomfortable and may impact your daily activities. It can vary from one pregnancy to another, and there are no universal treatments that work for everyone.

Here are some self-help measures and adjustments to your daily routine that may help alleviate symptoms of morning sickness.

  1. Get sufficient rest because fatigue can worsen nausea.
  2. Avoid nausea-triggering foods or odours. You may include foods or drinks containing ginger in your meals. However, check with your doctor if it is permissible.
  3. Choose cold foods if the aroma of hot meals causes nausea.
  4. Eat small, frequent meals consisting of plain, high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods. For example, bread, rice, crackers, and pasta.
  5. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

If the above measures do not provide relief or you experience more severe symptoms, do consult your doctor. Medication such as antiemetics may be prescribed to prevent vomiting or other appropriate treatments may be recommended.

Morning sickness vs hyperemesis gravidarum

Hyperemesis gravidarum is the most severe form of pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. It affects up to 3% of pregnancies.

Hyperemesis gravidarum can potentially lead to dehydration and malnourishment if you are unable to maintain proper fluid intake and nutrition. In some cases, hospitalisation may be necessary.

Visiting a doctor for morning sickness

If you experience the following symptoms, visit the doctor immediately:

  • Severe weakness, dizziness, or fainting when standing up.
  • Inability to keep food or fluids down for 24 hours.
  • Very dark-coloured urine or not urinating for more than 8 hours.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • A high temperature.
  • Vomiting blood.
  • Significant weight loss.

Make an appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals

Regular prenatal appointments and open communication with your doctor are crucial for monitoring your health and addressing any concerns of morning sickness throughout your pregnancy.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment with a gynaecologist today, or find out more about the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Services at your nearest Gleneagles Hospital.

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