What is considered normal morning sickness?

Morning sickness is a condition that affects 50 to 75 percent of pregnant women. Despite the name, nausea can strike at any time. Some women may experience morning sickness all day. Symptoms of normal morning sickness usually include nausea and possible vomiting. Pregnant women usually experience morning sickness between the sixth and 12th week of pregnancy.

Blood sugar levels and hormones play a role in normal morning sickness. Pregnant women experience an increase in hormones such as progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin that many scientists believe affect the digestive system. Since blood sugar levels are typically at their lowest in the morning, many women experience their most severe nausea symptoms.

The good news about morning sickness is that it doesn't last forever. Normal morning sickness usually goes away on its own in the second trimester. If not, a doctor should be consulted because second trimester morning sickness may indicate a more serious problem.

In the meantime, pregnant women can take steps to relieve morning sickness. Instead of eating three large meals a day, pregnant women may want to eat smaller meals more often. Drinking small amounts of water, lemonade, or other fluids throughout the day can help prevent dehydration. Nausea can be relieved by eating soda crackers, potato chips, or watermelon. Smelling lemons or ginger can also help.

Light exercise can help ease the symptoms of normal morning sickness. Some people suggest taking vitamin B6 for morning sickness, but women should first check with a doctor for the recommended dose. Using an acupressure band for motion sickness can also help relieve nausea.

Pregnant women experiencing morning sickness should not eat large, heavy meals or spicy foods. They should also not lie down immediately after eating. If food odors are contributing to nausea, they should have someone else do the cooking until the morning sickness phase is over.

Normal morning sickness is not harmful to the mother-to-be or the baby. However, in some cases, a more serious condition called hyperemesis gravidarum can develop. Symptoms of this condition include excessive nausea and vomiting, fever, and pain.

Women who have trouble keeping food down, have morning sickness after the 13th week of pregnancy, or experience any of the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum should call a doctor immediately. In many cases, hyperemeisis gravidarum is mild and can be treated with antacids and dietary restrictions. Occasionally, the illness is more severe and may require hospitalization to ensure the mother is receiving enough fluids.

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