Morning sickness is one of the early signs of pregnancy for many women. Find out what causes it and how to feel better.

By the editors of Parents magazine

What causes morning sickness in pregnancy?

As many pregnant women know, the bouts of nausea and vomiting that are commonly called "morning sickness" can happen any time of day. An estimated 60 to 80 percent of women experience this symptom of early pregnancy, which may be caused by hormonal changes and can be aggravated by stress or fatigue. For most women, the nausea and vomiting fade by the 17th week of pregnancy. In rare cases, a pregnant woman will experience morning sickness well past this point. Even more rare is hyperemesis gravidarum, a very severe form of morning sickness that prevents a pregnant woman from keeping in the fluids or nutrition she needs. This condition requires medical treatment.

What relieves morning sickness in pregnancy?

You can't prevent nausea and vomiting if it strikes, but you may be able to minimize it by eating many small meals rather than a few big ones--many women find that the nausea is worst when the stomach is empty. Finding food that doesn't sicken you can be hard--so just eat what appeals to you, and don't worry too much about nutrition until after your morning sickness subsides. Avoid nausea triggers like excessive motion and strong smells. Some studies have shown that acupressure may help- and some women swear by those wristbands made for preventing seasickness. Other remedies to try: ginger ale, fresh ginger blended with non-citrus fruit juice, or frozen cubes of juice.

Call your doctor if you vomit blood, can't keep down fluids, or show signs of dehydration (scant, dark-colored urine; dizziness or faintness; a pounding or racing heart).

Copyright © 2001 Meredith Corporation.

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