What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness can sometimes be very distressing and debilitating, but in itself it is not a serious condition.
In a few cases it leads to hyperemesis gravidarum which can be more worrying.
There are many theories about what causes morning sickness and most of them are not proven but, the widely – held belief is that it is probably a combination of factors.
Unstable blood sugars, hormone activity, changes in blood composition and the sex of the baby are some of the common theories, and clearly not all of those factors can be treated.
Morning Sickness Signs and Symptoms
• Confusingly, you don’t have to be sick, nor does it happen just in the morning!
• Nausea, or feeling you are going to be sick
• Retching, especially in response to smells
• Feeling faint/cold/clammy
• Dizziness, especially when standing from sitting/lying
• Vomiting. This does not have to be related to eating or drinking. It can happen on an empty stomach, between or during meals, or after eating
• Producing excess saliva
• Weight loss or poor weight gain
Any one, or combination of these, can happen at any time of the day or night.
Some women find it hard to sleep because they feel so nauseated; some women even dream about vomiting! In most cases, the symptoms improve after about 14 weeks. However, they can continue, with varying degrees of severity, for the whole of the pregnancy.
Morning Sickness is very tiring, and usually occurs when women are tired anyway. Being tired can often make the symptoms worse, which in turn makes the Morning Sickness worse, so a vicious cycle is built up.
What Treatment is available for morning sickness?
There are some medicines that can be given to alleviate the symptoms, however most practitioners are reluctant to give pregnant women medication, especially in the early weeks.
The use of acupuncture in managing nausea and vomiting is well-documented (refs) and it is often used to help patients after surgery or chemotherapy. It is safe to use in the early weeks of pregnancy, provided it is done by a competent practitioner.