Pregnancy sickness is very common. On average, it affects 70-80% of pregnant women. For some, the symptoms are mild, but for many, it can be debilitating – with an estimated 30%+ of pregnant women in employment needing to take time off due to the condition.
Historically, morning sickness was mistakenly treated as a psychosomatic illness. In recent decades, a lot more has been done to understand pregnancy and women’s health. However, nausea and vomiting in pregnancy – (NVP) and hyperemesis gravidarum (a more severe form) are still particularly isolating and often misunderstood conditions.
This is why Pregnancy Sickness Support, (a UK based charity) is such a great source for pregnant women. The organisation runs a site that offers advice, coping strategies and support. It’s a great source of information and includes an online support forum.
Myth no.1 debunked – you don’t have to suffer through pregnancy sickness alone. You can check out the site by clicking here.
Myth no.2 : It only happens in the morning.
Pregnancy sickness is not limited to the morning and can strike throughout the day. Some women experience it for a concentrated period of time, while others experience it consistently throughout the day. As a result, pregnancy sickness can really impact quality of life and everyday activities. Generally, symptons tend to subside between the 12th and 14th week. However, many moms-to-be experience recurrent sickness throughout the pregnancy.
Myth no.3 : It’s just a little vomiting.
Pregnancy sickness is a lot more than just a morning run to the bathroom. The nausea can make you feel light-headed and dizzy and produce more saliva. You may experience a constant sense of motion – similar to feeling car sick. Particular smells will start to turn your stomach as well – so keep track of what bothers you so it’s easier to stay clear.
Myth no.4: You won’t be able to eat.
Like motion sickness, hunger can contribute to your feeling of nausea. It helps to eat consistently throughout the day. If you are sick first thing in the morning, try to have a biscuit or a piece of toast before you wake up (a little bed & breakfast service from a partner might help). The NHS suggests that eating little and more often is better than eating 3 large meals a day. Small meals that are high in carbs and low in fat are said to help more than sweet or spicy foods. So have a little serving of bread, pasta or rice (plan arborio rice is especially smooth on the stomach).
Not getting enough zinc and vitamin B6 has also been linked to pregnancy sickness. Some experts suggest it indicates depleted magnesium levels. So look out for foods with these vitamins – fortified breads and cereals, or better yet, hazelnuts, banana, apricots, ginger and broccoli.
Don’t take any over-the-counter supplements without consulting your health care professional first.
Myth no. 5: Vomiting harms the baby
The effort of vomiting does not harm the baby. Some studies even show that being sick in early pregnancy is a good indication that your pregnancy is a healthy one. It also doesn’t deny the baby nutrients as nourishment for the fetus is found in your body’s reserves.
Your baby will be affected, however, if you suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, become very ill, dehydrated and do not receive any care.
Call your doctor if you experience prolonged nausea and severe vomiting, dehydration and weight loss. Other symptoms also include very dark-coloured urine, not passing urine for over 8 hours, abdominal pain, a temperature above 38C, blood in your vomit, a rising heart rate or if you are unable to keep fluid and food down for 24 hours.