Morning sickness is very common. Fortunately for most women it’s mild for most of the time and for a lot of women will pass after the first 12-13 weeks.
Hi, I’m Doctor Joe.
Now, having said that, it is very variable. Some women will have severe morning sickness and it may be in fact all day, not just in the morning and it may be for most of and sometimes even all of the pregnancy. That’s fortunately a very small percentage.
Now some of you out there are probably saying, “Hey, that’s me!” and that certainly is the case but fortunately there’s not a large number.
For most women it will be in the mornings, it will be mild in as much as yes, they’ll feel quite seedy but not necessarily have the vomiting. And for the vast majority of women by the twelfth or thirteenth week stage it will be easing. Beyond that point they really won’t have much by way of symptoms.
But I can’t stress enough that number one, each woman is different and number two each pregnancy is different. So women who have had multiple pregnancies will say, “Look the first one I felt quite sick, the second one wasn’t so bad at all,” or the reverse may apply. So each individual experience is quite different.
Why does it occur? Look there are different theories about it. The main one seems to be a hormonal effect and what can happen is the sphincter which is between the oesophagus which is at the gullet and the stomach relaxes a little bit under hormonal influence and that allows a bit of acid to go from the stomach up into the oesophagus. So it’s similar to but please not the same as a heartburn reflux.
There are other theories as well and look, to be quite blunt nobody really knows.
The sixty four dollar question is always, “Well, what can I do about it?” Unfortunately there is no absolute cure. In pregnancy we want to be using as little of any form of medicine as possible. It is worth pointing out here that back in the early sixties and late fifties there was a drug called thalidomide which was in fact very helpful for morning sickness but what tragically was found was that it caused major malformations in babies that were born without arms and/or legs. So yes it helped the sickness but caused major, major problems.
Obviously that put people off using medications in pregnancy in general and spawned a whole lot of other research looking into these issues.
Simple things can help, ginger is old fashioned but helps some people as a form of ginger tea. Resting up in the morning if possible is useful. Some women find sugary drinks helpful. There’s no absolute to these things. Medication wise, there are a couple of tablets that can be prescribed and Maxolon or metoclopramide is the one that’s use the most frequently. Now in saying most frequently, that’s not to say that a lot of women need it. It is safe to use in pregnancy but like all medications it should be used as little as possible and is generally reserved for those women who actually have vomiting and it’s quite on the severe end.
In some instances women may be hospitalised and that’s generally to put fluids back into the system. So if you’re becoming dehydrated that’s when that may be necessary. Once again, that’s fortunately the exception rather than the rule.
In terms of diet, is there any specific food to eat or not eat? Other than the general advice about on pregnancy which we won’t cover in this video, it is about eating foods that tend to agree with your system. And it is often the starchier sort of foods, so a bit of bread, toast, rice, potatoes, pastas, those sorts of foods that tend to sit a little bit better if you like in the stomach than perhaps, you know chili con carne. Sounds obvious but you know, still worth saying. There are a myriad of different things people try from different herbal remedies right through to acupuncture and certainly there are anecdotal stories that acupuncture or acupressure may help some women with morning sickness. So if it’s something that you’re interested in it’s certainly something that can be tried.
The good news and I want to emphasise is that it doesn’t apply in every single case but it does in most, is that it will pass at the twelve thirteen week stage. So, if you can sort of hang in there, then generally speaking it will get better.
So, to sum up, morning sickness is very, very common. Almost universal. Fortunately in most instances not that severe and in most instances something that improves. There is no specific cure but you know, adjusting your diet, trying some simple measures such as perhaps ginger tea, sticking to the blander foods can be helpful. There are medications which are used if need be, hospitalisation for the very severe cases.