Disclaimer :: Dr. Catherine Bevan, a local Tarrant County OB/GYN, sponsored this post and shares great insight into how to control pre-natal nausea and vomiting.
I was one of the lucky ones. For both of my pregnancies, my first trimester symptoms consisted of mainly exhaustion and mild nausea. I hated that sick feeling, which I couldn’t seem to get rid of, but I knew that many others suffered so much more than I did. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is a disorder with a wide range in severity of symptoms that can dramatically affect the quality of life and productivity of the mommy-to-be, and unfortunately, it is often undertreated.
“Morning sickness” is very common and, for most, occurs throughout the day and not just in the morning. Eighty percent of pregnant women have at least some degree of nausea and about 50 percent have both nausea and vomiting. These symptoms typically start prior to nine weeks gestation and last until the middle of the pregnancy. A discussion with your provider is an important part of maximizing treatment as other causes of nausea and vomiting need to be ruled out. For instance, abdominal pain, fever, and headache are not prominent characteristics of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and need to be investigated for other potential etiologies.
Mild cases of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy do not harm you or your baby, but severe cases can be dangerous, and some women even need to be hospitalized. Early treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy may help prevent progression to the more severe form, called hyperemesis gravidarum. Signs that the nausea and vomiting may be serious include significant weight loss and inability to tolerate even small snacks or sips of water. Please talk to your doctor about these problems immediately.
The first steps in symptom relief (yes, unfortunately, there is no cure, but there are lots of things that can help!) include diet and lifestyle changes.
- Taking a prenatal vitamin starting three months prior to conception may reduce the nausea and vomiting.
- I often tell my patients that having a stomach that is either too full or too empty can increase that nauseous feeling. So, eat five or six small meals per day rather than three big ones, and try eating a couple of crackers just before getting out of bed in the morning.
- Snacks that are high in protein content will also help, like yogurt or nuts.
- Get plenty of rest. You are creating a life, and the period of the most rapid development and growth of the fetus is the first few weeks of pregnancy. “If the fetus continued to grow at this speed for the entire nine months, it would be 1.5 tons at birth!” Check out the TED talk “Conception to Birth – Visualized” and be prepared to be amazed!
- Avoid smells that bother you.
- Avoid spicy/fatty foods.
- Ginger ale or ginger tea may be helpful to some women. Also, ginger supplements have shown some efficacy; be sure to discuss the use of any herbal supplements with your doctor before trying them.
- Prevent dehydration by sipping small amounts of water throughout the day.
- Sometimes prenatal vitamins containing iron can increase nausea. This is a good point of discussion with your provider if you are having trouble tolerating your prenatal vitamins.
If the diet/lifestyle changes aren’t cutting it . . . .
- Vitamin B6 may be suggested first. Taking 10mg tablets every eight hours can help soothe that horrible nauseous feeling.
- Unisom (doxylamine) is an over-the-counter sleep aid that may be added to the vitamin B6 if needed.
- Sometimes other medications are needed to control symptoms. Be sure to be straight forward with your provider about the severity of the symptoms because this is often important in the decision of whether to advance treatment for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
Unfortunately, many women experience nausea and vomiting during their pregnancies. Communicating with your provider is the first step to symptom relief. Simple diet and lifestyle changes may help dramatically, but some women are not as fortunate. A clear dialogue between you and your doctor will help you get relief for even the worst cases of nausea and vomiting.
(Resources: American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and TED Talk- Conception to Birth – Visualized)
Dr. Catherine Bevan is a board certified obstretician and gynecologist, who practices in Tarrant County, with offices in Fort Worth and Willow Park. She is a Fort Worth native and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis where she graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. She then returned to Texas to complete her medical degree at UT Southwestern as well as her residency training at Parkland Memorial Hospital. She also spent an additional year as an assistant professor at UT Southwestern, specializing in gynecologic surgery and emergency women’s care. Providing excellent service to her patients is a passion for her as she guides them to the best possible healthcare outcomes. You can read more from Dr. Bevan on the Fort Worth Moms Blog archives.
You can contact Dr. Bevan at:
- 1250 8th Avenue, Ste 320 // Fort Worth, TX 76104 // (P) 817-924-2111 // (F) 817-564-3980
- 134 El Chico Trail, Suite 103 // Willow Park, TX 76087 // (P) 817-441-1644 // (F) 817-441-1626