What Helps Morning Sickness? Your Questions, Answered

If you're experiencing pregnancy nausea, you likely want some relief. Want to know what helps morning sickness? Here, we answer all your questions to help you get through it.  
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Will flying or going somewhere warm make my morning sickness worse?

Probably not directly. But flying in a plane or being in a hot climate can leave you dehydrated, which can make you feel more nauseated than usual. Dehydration during pregnancy is never a good thing, since water helps to maintain circulation and bring nutrients to your baby.

Your morning sickness remedy: Make sure to bring a bottle of water with you on the plane (and don't hesitate to ask the flight attendant for more) and drink plenty while you're sitting out in the sun. You should also pack plenty of snacks while you travel since going too long without eating can bring on queasiness. You may want to look into other nausea soothers, too, like ginger candy or motion-sickness bracelets. 

Why does morning sickness happen all day?

It may be called morning sickness, but that icky, nauseated feeling can strike at almost any time of day. In fact, nearly 80 percent of pregnant women report getting their morning sickness at some point other than the morning, according to Marra Francis, M.D., an ob-gyn in Woodlands, Texas, and a contributing author to the Mommy MD Guides. And if you're one poor, unfortunate soul, your baby could have you barfing morning, noon, and night.

You can blame the hormones that are helping your body make a comfortable temporary home for your baby for your 24/7 nausea. "The exact hormones that are implicated in morning sickness are hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) and estrogen," Dr. Francis says. "The hCG appears to bind to thyroid-stimulating hormone receptors in the brain and cause a temporary thyroid disturbance that induces nausea in some women.

And the estrogen appears to affect the serotonin receptors in the brain, causing the same symptoms." A third hormone, progesterone, also contributes. "Progesterone can slow down your GI tract," says Michele Hakakha, M.D., FACOG, an ob-gyn in Beverly Hills and author of Expecting 411. "The food is sitting in your stomach and intestines longer, which leads to nausea, gas, and constipation." So consider that first-trimester surge of hormones a triple whammy on your digestive system and you'll understand exactly why you're feeling a bit green around the gills.

Why do some people not experience morning sickness while others have it all day, every day for weeks?

Doctors aren't exactly sure, but there are some risk factors for having a stronger bout of morning sickness, including expecting twins, suffering from car sickness or migraines prepregnancy, or even being pregnant with a girl. How morning sickness affects pregnant women differs from one woman to the next—and even from one pregnancy to the next. "It's hard to say that anything is common in pregnancy," Dr. Francis says. "The ways people react to the changes in their body are so different." So you might be able to take some small comfort in knowing that you're not alone in having all-day morning sickness—and you may not even have it next time, if you're expecting again down the road. 

If I had morning sickness during my first pregnancy, will I experience it with my next pregnancy? 

Not likely. It's very rare for any second pregnancy or birth to be a replay of the first. You may have been sick for your entire first pregnancy, yet find that you have very little nausea now. On the other hand, you may have been tired for just the first 8 weeks of that first pregnancy, but now—with a preschooler in tow, still begging to be carried—you may feel more exhausted for a much longer time.

Probably the most significant difference most women report between first and subsequent pregnancies is the ability to feel their babies moving much earlier. A first-time mom might notice her baby's fetal activity around 20 weeks; more experienced moms will feel those first butterfly movements as early as 16 weeks. That's not because second or third babies are stronger but because these moms now can distinguish between a baby's distinct motion and a gas bubble.

Your latest pregnancy is also likely to show sooner because your abdominal muscles may already be stretched. The good thing about this baby's lowered position is that you may not suffer the same heartburn you did during your last pregnancy; the downside is that you may find yourself making even more frequent trips to the bathroom this time around.

Your back may hurt more with this pregnancy if you can't get enough rest or if other children need to be carried or picked up. Teach older children to do more for themselves; for instance, your toddler can probably climb into her own car seat, and a preschooler can use a footstool to reach the sink. If an older child wants to sit on your lap, sit down first and let her climb up. You can also wear a maternity abdominal support garment to diminish backaches. As for childbirth, well, there's probably nothing more unpredictable in nature than how a baby decides to make his appearance. Subsequent labors and births are generally easier and faster than the first because your body already knows what to do and your cervix is less rigid; the cervix will dilate and thin out faster when it's time for your baby to arrive. 

Why don't I have morning sickness?

Congratulations, you're one of the lucky ones! You may worry that something is wrong with your pregnancy if you're not throwing up like your best friend or every pregnant woman you see in the movies. Be assured that plenty of women with perfectly normal pregnancies manage to escape morning sickness. In fact, a full 25 percent of pregnant women never get morning sickness, and nobody knows why. Research shows that the women likely to suffer the worst cases of nausea during these first months are those pregnant with twins or multiples, women who have a history of nausea as a side effect of taking birth control pills, women whose mothers and sisters were sick during their pregnancies, those who had migraine headaches even before getting pregnant, and women susceptible to motion sickness.

What are safe morning sickness remedies?

 So what can you do about morning sickness? Eat small meals throughout the day, since going too long without eating can make symptoms worse. Keep a stash of saltines or pretzels with you to nosh on throughout the day when your stomach starts to feel empty.

Avoid spicy, fatty foods (and especially fast food) and steer clear of odors that trigger nausea, like the aromas produced by cooking protein-rich foods such as red meat, chicken, and fish. (Got a co-worker who's addicted to tuna sandwiches? Take a walk when she's eating lunch at her desk).

Try natural remedies for morning sickness like ginger candy (ginger has been a nausea remedy for centuries) or motion sickness bands, which isolate nausea-relieving pressure points in the wrists. You can also try carrying a tube of peppermint or lemon hand lotion and sniffing it when you feel a wave of nausea since the fragrance has been found to settle the stomach.

Although you may feel totally sidelined by nausea, it's very likely that you'll feel better soon. Most women notice a big improvement in their symptoms between weeks 12 and 14, and even the most severe cases generally subside by week 20. Of course, if at any point you vomit blood, can't keep down fluids at all, or show signs of dehydration (like dark-colored urine, dizziness, or a pounding or racing heart) then give your doctor a call. 

Parents Magazine

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