Pregnancy Blog

Morning Sickness and Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Stephanie Martin

Morning Sickness and Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Written by
Stephanie Martin

Pregnancy and Morning Sickness Guide

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey filled with anticipation and joy, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges. One such challenge that many expectant mothers face is morning sickness. While for most, it's a passing phase, some may experience a more severe form known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about both morning sickness and HG – from understanding their symptoms and timelines to discovering effective remedies and seeking vital support.

Understanding Morning Sickness:

Morning sickness, often considered a hallmark of pregnancy, refers to the nausea and vomiting experienced by many expectant mothers, typically during the first trimester. Despite its name, it can strike at any time of the day or night and is believed to be influenced by hormonal changes, particularly elevated levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen.

When Does Morning Sickness Start and End?

For most women, morning sickness kicks in around the sixth week of pregnancy and tends to subside by the end of the first trimester, around weeks 12 to 14. However, some may experience it for a longer duration, and a small percentage may continue to battle it throughout their pregnancy.

Symptoms of Morning Sickness:

  1. Nausea and Vomiting: Feeling queasy and vomiting, often in the morning but can occur at any time.
  2. Food Aversions: Strong aversions to certain smells or foods, which can exacerbate nausea.
  3. Fatigue: Feeling tired and lethargic, especially if nausea disrupts sleep patterns.
  4. Increased Salivation: Experiencing excessive saliva production, which can contribute to feelings of nausea.
  5. Mild to Moderate Weight Loss: Due to decreased appetite and difficulty keeping food down.

Home Remedies for Morning Sickness:

  1. Ginger: Consuming ginger in various forms such as tea, candies, or raw ginger can help alleviate nausea.
  2. Peppermint: Peppermint tea or candies can have a soothing effect on the stomach.
  3. Small, Frequent Meals: Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day can help manage nausea.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Sipping on water, ginger ale, or clear broths can prevent dehydration.
  5. Rest: Prioritising rest and relaxation can alleviate fatigue and stress, which may worsen nausea.

Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness:

  1. Acupressure: Using pressure bands or wristbands designed for motion sickness can provide relief.
  2. Aromatherapy: Essential oils like lemon, lavender, or peppermint can be used in moderation to ease symptoms.
  3. Vitamin B6: This vitamin has been shown to reduce nausea in some pregnant individuals.
  4. Meditation and Deep Breathing: Stress management techniques can help calm the body and mind, potentially reducing nausea.

Foods to Help with Morning Sickness:

  1. Plain Crackers or Toast: Bland carbohydrates can settle the stomach, especially when consumed before getting out of bed.
  2. High-Protein Snacks: Nuts, yogurt, or cheese can help stabilise blood sugar levels and curb nausea.
  3. Citrus Fruits: The scent of lemon or oranges can be refreshing and may help alleviate nausea.
  4. Cold Foods: Opt for cold or room temperature foods, as hot foods can sometimes trigger nausea.

Products to Help with Morning Sickness:

  1. Nausea Relief Bands: Acupressure wristbands target pressure points associated with nausea.
  2. Ginger Chews or Candies: Convenient and portable, ginger products provide a natural way to ease nausea.
  3. Aromatherapy Diffusers: Essential oils with calming scents like ginger, lemon, or peppermint can create a soothing environment.
  4. Pregnancy Pillows: Comfortable body pillows can help find a more comfortable sleeping position, potentially reducing night-time nausea.
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Understanding Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG):

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of morning sickness characterised by persistent nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and weight loss during pregnancy. Unlike typical morning sickness, which usually improves after the first trimester, HG symptoms can persist throughout the pregnancy, causing significant physical and emotional distress.

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Symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum:

  1. Severe Nausea and Vomiting: Frequent and severe vomiting, often unable to keep any food or liquids down.
  2. Dehydration: Symptoms include dark urine, dry mouth, and dizziness due to fluid loss.
  3. Weight Loss: Significant weight loss due to the inability to tolerate food and fluids.
  4. Electrolyte Imbalance: Loss of fluids and electrolytes through vomiting can lead to imbalances in essential minerals.
  5. Fatigue and Weakness: Constant nausea and vomiting can leave individuals feeling exhausted and weak.

Seeking Support for Hyperemesis Gravidarum:

  1. Consult with a Healthcare Provider: Promptly consult with a healthcare provider if experiencing severe morning sickness symptoms.
  2. Medication: Some medications may be prescribed to alleviate nausea and vomiting associated with HG.
  3. Fluid and Nutritional Support: Intravenous fluids and nutritional support may be necessary to maintain hydration and nutrition.
  4. Emotional Support: Seek support from loved ones, friends, or online communities of women who have experienced HG.
  5. Consider Support Groups: Joining support groups specifically for individuals with HG can provide valuable information and emotional support.
  6. Advocate for Yourself: If symptoms are not adequately addressed, seek a second opinion or referral to a specialist.

Morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum are common challenges faced by pregnant individuals, each with its own set of symptoms and management strategies. By understanding the differences between the two, recognising symptoms early, and accessing appropriate support and resources, pregnant individuals can navigate through these challenges with greater ease. Remember, every pregnancy journey is unique, and seeking guidance from healthcare providers and supportive communities can make all the difference in ensuring a healthy and positive experience for both mother and baby.

If you are experiencing extreme morning sickness, contact your GP for advice.

For more pregnancy articles, freebies and information see our Pregnancy Hub.

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