Maybe your pregnancy was long awaited, or maybe it was more of a surprise! Either way you now feel like crap with constant feeling of nausea, or (oh joy) vomiting too. And who decided to call it morning sickness when it can come or go at any time of day, or just hang around constantly!
Up to 80% of women experience some degree of nausea or vomiting in pregnancy, beginning as early as 4 weeks, becoming most severe between 7-9 weeks. 50% will have self-resolved by 14 weeks, and 90% by 22 weeks.
What causes nausea and vomiting in pregnancy?
The good news is that the pregnancy hormone Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is thought to be responsible although no one quite knows why – so this feeling means you have lots of hCG indicating a healthy pregnancy!! Don’t worry if you don’t have nausea though – many women have healthy pregnancies with no nausea too!
Your hormones are changing quite rapidly during early pregnancy so it’s quite possible that a combination of factors are at play. Some research has found women who took pre pregnancy vitamins had a lower incidence, and others suggest a lack of vitamin B6.
Is there anything I can do to ease the symptoms?
If the symptoms are mild there are a variety of strategies that can help different women to ease the symptoms here are some things you can easily try.
- Resting as much as possible.
- Dividing meals into more frequent snacks and smaller meals throughout the day.
- Eating separately from drinking.
- Eating dry foods such as toast, crispbread or a biscuit before getting up.
- Avoiding trigger smells such as smoke, fumes and cooking odours.
- Avoiding fatty foods.
- Eating plain foods or eating meals cold, to avoid smells that can trigger nausea.
- Drinking little and often.
Are there any treatments available?
Depending how well you are managing to function with the symptoms you have, you may want to start looking at some other ways to treat / manage your symptoms.
Acupressure – The P6 point is clinically considered an effective treatment. Use your thumb to locate the point on the inside of your wrist – 2 fingers up from your hand, between the two tendons you can feel there. Use your thumb to apply firm pressure for 1 minute at a time. You can hold still or make circular motions. Then repeat n the other side.
Acupuncture – Uses needles to stimulate the exact point to release energy blocks. See a trained practitioner.
Aromatherapy – There is evidence that the inhalation of lemon essential oil reduces nausea & vomiting in pregnancy. You can put a few drops on a tissue or your sleeve to inhale when you feel nauseous or try diffusing into the room. Read my article about the benefits of using aromatherapy during pregnancy here.
Herbs – Consult a trained herbalist – this is a very individual treatment based on your own constitution. Where Neal’s Yard Organics shops often have herbalists working on the counter but this may not be in depth enough to make an accurate prescription.
Homeopathy – The great thing about homeopathy is that it is completely non-toxic and safe during pregnancy. The right remedy can often bring about a complete end to the symptoms which can cause exhaustion. The difficulty can be choosing the right remedy as there are a few options depending on other symptoms:
Pulsatilla 30 – For a woman who is weepy and in need of reassurance. She feels better in the open air and worse for rich, fatty foods.
Nux Vomica 30 – Spasmodic and sudden onset of vomiting, often right after breakfast. Often has constipation too, and can be irritable.
Ipecac 30 – Constant symptoms of nausea and vomiting, accompanied by bile and mucus. Key marker – excessive salivation.
Sepia 30 – Insatiable appetite, constipation. Emotionally may be indifferent to partner and other children, feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities, may have ambiguous feelings about having this baby.
You can often buy remedies from local health food shops or https://www.helios.co.uk/ I would recommend calling them to order the pregnancy and birth kit which is excellent value and can assist greatly all throughout pregnancy, birth, and postnatally.
For further advice about homeopathy or specific remedies can be found in this fantastic group Mary's Homeopathy Study Group
Reflexology – This is a treatment carried out on your feet by a trained practitioner. It works on the Chinese Medicine principals that the feet hold energy centres which relate to different parts of your body. It is a wonderfully relaxing and beneficial treatment and can form part of your regular self-care routines throughout pregnancy.
When should I seek medical treatment?
If your nausea and vomiting are so severe that you can't keep anything down, including water, juice, food, prenatal vitamins, or medications, you probably have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. In this case, you may need to be treated with IV fluids and medications in the hospital.
Talk to your doctor or midwife if:
- You lose 2 pounds or more.
- You develop nausea and vomiting after week 9 of your pregnancy.
- You have nausea and vomiting after week 20 of pregnancy.
- You vomit blood.
- You feel dizzy when you stand.
- You have signs of dehydration, including dark urine or infrequent urination.
- You have abdominal pain, fever, headache, or swelling in the front of the neck.
British Acupuncture Council - https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/public-content/public-pr-press-releases/acupuncture-and-morning-sickness.html
Mary’s Homeopathy Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/253352978356406/
Research into Lemon Oil - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4005434/