5 Serious Causes Of Nausea And Vomiting During Pregnancy

causes of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy

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Pregnancy and morning sickness go hand in hand for most women. Few lucky would-be-moms never have to go through this uneasiness, thanks to their genes. Though the unpleasant interference of nausea in daily routine affects most of the pregnant women, they are not at all harmful to the fetus.

Do Morning Symptoms Occur Only In The Morning?

Ironically, morning sickness is just a misnomer for the clinical term used for the symptoms of vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. Even though, the symptoms can affect the pregnant women at any time of the day, it is still called morning sickness. [1]

Some facts related to the same:

  • More often, the feeling of nausea is at its peak when you wake up for the first time in the morning.
  • In rare cases, these symptoms last all through the day causing frequent disruption in daily routine.
  • More than half of the pregnant women suffer from morning sickness.
  • Studies suggest that three out of every 10 women suffer from nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of their pregnancy.2
  • Most of the women suffer from both vomiting and nausea. There are only few pregnant women who suffer from either nausea or vomiting.
  • The symptoms and intensity can vary according to health, eating habits and genetic influence.
  • The symptoms usually start in the sixth pregnancy week, but in rare cases may also begin in the fourth week.
  • Women usually suffering from morning sickness get complete relief in the 14th to 16th week. In very rare case, the symptoms continue until the time of delivery.

[ Read: Vomiting During Pregnancy ]

5 Causes Of Vomiting And Nausea During Pregnancy:

Until now, no single sure cause of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy has been traced. Still, doctors, believe that the different physical changes taking place in the body, mostly due to hormonal disruption, lead to morning sickness problem. Here are some of the possible causes:

1. Rise In The Hormone HCG:

Human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG is a hormone that increases very fast during the first quarter of pregnancy.

  • Although no direct connection between this hormone and nausea has been established until now. Clinical observations indicate that the problem of morning sickness peaks when the level of HCG are high.
  • Moreover, in case of multiple pregnancies where the levels of HCG are naturally high, the problem of vomiting and nausea is also very much severe.

2. Increase In Estrogen:

Estrogen level rises during pregnancy. This also contributes in some way in increasing the symptoms of morning sickness.

3. Increase In Odor Sensitivity:

During the first trimester of pregnancy, women usually have an increased sensitivity towards particular odor or smell. Nausea is usually triggered off by such odors that contribute to the increased estrogen levels.

4. Stomach Is More Sensitive:

During the first quarter of pregnancy, the gastrointestinal tracts of pregnant women are very sensitive.

  • Due to the presence of bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori in women, the symptoms of morning sickness are more severe.
  • Although no direct link has been established between the bacterium and the gravity of symptoms.

5. Psychological Response:

According to some researchers, some women suffer from morning sickness symptoms due to stress or psychological predisposition.

Adverse Effects Of Morning Sickness:

In some women, the symptoms of morning sickness can be quite severe and can lead to a very serious condition termed as hyperemesis gravidarum or HG.

  • This type of problem requires special treatment and the affected pregnant women needs to be hospitalized for complete cure.
  • The symptoms of nausea and vomiting in this case are so severe that the system of pregnant woman cannot retain a single bite of food.
  • This can lead to dehydration, low blood pressure and other serious health problem – Ketosis.3
  • Severe morning sickness symptoms can cause adverse effect on the daily routine and working of many women, disturbing the quality of life.

[ Read: Dehydration During Pregnancy ]

7 Causes Of Severe Nausea In Few Women:

The symptoms of morning sickness are more in few pregnant women. Some of the causes include:

1. Multiple Pregnancies:

The nausea and vomiting symptoms are quite severe in women expecting multiples, although this is not always definite.

2. History Of Nausea And Vomiting:

In case you suffered from morning sickness in your first pregnancy, chances of increased symptoms of nausea in the next term is more.

3. Side Effects Of Birth Control Pills:

In some women, morning sickness is also caused as a side effect of using birth control pills in excess. Due to long-term use of these pills, the estrogen levels in the body increase leading to nausea.

[ Read: When To Stop Taking Birth Control Pills ]

4. Motion Sickness History:

If you have a history of suffering from motion sickness, then the symptoms of vomiting and nausea are more likely to increase during pregnancy.

5. Genetic Predisposition:

If your sister or mother had morning sickness problems, then you are more likely to suffer from nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

6. Migraine Headaches:

Women with a history of headaches due to migraine are more likely to suffer from this problem.

[ Read: Migraine During Pregnancy ]

7. If The Fetus Is Girl Child:

According to a study, in 50% of pregnancies the symptoms of vomiting and nausea are severe in the first quarter, if the women are carrying a girl baby.

When Should You Contact The Doctor?

In case of severe morning sickness problem, you can become malnourished or dehydrated and will need immediate medical attention. You should consult your caregiver in case:

  • You do not pass urine for long hours (6 to 8 hours) or the urine is very dark. 2
  • If your system is unable to keep fluid or food for even couple of hours.
  • If you are feeling severely weak and dizzy.

[ Read: Dizziness During Pregnancy ]

  • If you vomit blood.
  • If you have high fever of 38°C or more.
  • If you are suffering from UTI (Urinary tract infections).
  • If you feel pain while passing urine or pass blood during urination.

What Should You Eat To Combat Morning Sickness?

To combat the problem of nausea, you need to keep a keen eye on what you eat. For the first few months, it is advisable to eat only those foods that go well with your system. You may have to restrict your choice of food and eat the same type of food all the time. Some tips here will serve as a good guide:

  • You should avoid food that cause or trigger nausea, particularly the food that are fatty, spicy and acidic.
  • Foods with hard aroma can trigger nausea, and hence you should best avoid them.
  • Healthy foods should be on the top of the selection list, as they will also cover up your nutrition requirement.
  • Instead of eating two to three big meals, be a grazer and have seven to eight small meals only when your tummy is empty since smaller meals put less stress on your digestion.
  • You can put a nightstand beside your bed and stock up the stand with things that you can eat during the night or immediately after you wake up such as cold cereal, crackers and more.
  • Increase your intake of fluids, as they are more important at this stage, especially if you are facing more bouts of vomiting.
  • Focus on drinking nutrition through smoothies, shakes and soups.
  • Foods with ginger are especially good for reducing the symptoms of vomiting and nausea in pregnancy.
  • Some of the best options include real ginger ale, ginger snaps, ginger drinks or ginger candies.
  • Always take your vitamins during the night and ensure that they are free of iron.
  • Never take the supplements on an empty stomach.
  • Although nausea relief and stress reducing medications are available, you should take them only after consulting your caregiver as these can cause drowsiness.

Natural Remedies For Nausea And Vomiting During Pregnancy:

Few home foods can work wonders when it comes to combating the symptoms of morning sickness. These are:

1. Crackers:

Crackers are the best foods for a pregnant women suffering from morning sickness.

  • These are inexpensive, portable and very easy to digest.
  • The best foods are whole-wheat plain crackers, popcorn and pretzels that you can nibble all through the day and even before going to bed. 

2. Potato Chips:

During pregnancy, you are allowed to eat one of the most infamous foods health-wise – potato chips.

  • Although you should consume only a few chips at a time, you can certainly get relief from the feeling of nausea by eating them.
  • Munch on these chips whenever the first nauseating feeling hits you.
  • Make sure that you consume regular chips and steer clear from the fat-free options as these contain Olestra that can lead to diarrhea.
  • One of the reasons why potato chips work best to reduce nausea symptoms is because they dry up the saliva that is produced in excess during pregnancy.
  • Another best option to reduce the saliva is nibbling the salt and vinegar chips.

[ Read: Potatoes During Pregnancy ]

3. Peanut Butter And Nuts:

Products those are high in protein help in reducing the symptoms of early morning sickness.

So you must include high protein snacks such as peanut butter, dairy products and nuts in your daily diet in the first few months of pregnancy.

[ Read: Peanuts During Pregnancy ]

4. Citrus Fruits And Vegetables:

Lemon, orange or lime slice when added to herbal tea or water is helpful in easing nausea.

  • You should maintain water balance to make up the water-loss due to vomiting.
  • It is important that you eat food that contain high water content and prevent the problems such as dehydration and constipation.
  • Such fruits and vegetables include pears, apples, grapes, celery, carrots, melons and frozen fruit bars.

[ Read: Oranges During Pregnancy ]

5. Drink More Water:

Nausea can cause dehydration, and hence you should drink at least eight glasses of water every day.

  • The best way is to take two glasses, fill them up and cover them.
  • Once you have finished the first two glasses, refill them; repeat the act until you finish your eighth glass at the end of the day.

6. Spice Up Your Diet:

Fennel is one of the most recommended spices for controlling nausea in the Chinese folk medicine.

  • The seeds of fennel have anesthetic properties that reduce queasiness.
  • To get the maximum benefit crush down one tablespoon fennel seeds in a coffee grinder and add to a cup of boiling water.
  • Let it stand for 10 minutes and drink it slowly.
  • Another spice that work wonders in treating nausea is ginger.
  • People in Pacific Northwest and New England use ginger to get instant relief from vomiting, nausea and intestinal tract problem.
  • The ginger plant roots contain health-benefitting chemicals such as shogoals and gingerols.
  • Ginger tea or ginger powder added to boiling water is the healthiest way of using ginger.
  • You should take the ginger drink one to three times a day.
  • Sweeten it with honey for added taste.

[ Read: Ginger During Pregnancy ]

7. Herbal Therapy:

During pregnancy, you become more sensitive to smells.

  • Even simple odors such as dirty laundry or onion and garlic paste can trigger off nausea.
  • Equip yourself to battle these bouts of nausea by carrying some herbal satchels with you for sniffing.
  • The most wonderful dried herbs for this purpose are thyme and lavender that cause instant soothing effect.
  • You can as well squeeze few drops of lemon on the hanky to sooth the nauseating symptoms.
  • Make sure that you keep these herbs or lemon always close to you.
  • Make sure to change the herbs occasionally as the effect may wane off after some time. 

[ Read: Herbal Tea During Pregnancy ]

8. Evergreen Mint:

Mint has anesthetic properties that help to reduce the symptoms of nausea and the gag reflex of the stomach.

  • Mint tea made by using one tablespoon of mint leaves in a pint boiling water jar is ideal for drinking.
  • Make sure that you let the concoction mature by leaving it for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Do shake it twice or thrice. Strain it and then sip leisurely.

We hope you like our small guide on nausea during pregnancy. We would like to know your views and experiences, do share them with us and other readers in the comment box below:

References : 1 , 2 , 3

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