Nausea and vomiting during the early phase of pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester, is very common. Though there are various causes attributed to it, there is no conclusive evidence on why nausea and vomiting occurs. Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is a normal physiological phenomenon that settles down before the 12th week of pregnancy. This is also known as morning sickness, as the symptoms are profound around sunrise. Even a slight smell is enough to stimulate the gag reflex; making a woman averse to lots of foods.
South Asian physicians attribute this gag reflex to the physical pressure of the growing fetus on the underlying abdominal organs, which affects the motility of contents in the intestinal tract forcing it to throw upwards. American studies, on the other hand, suggest that it might be due to the hormone hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin), whose levels in the body are increased during pregnancy. For women with severe nausea and vomiting, these levels are much higher.
Estrogen levels are also associated with increased nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. There is no conclusive evidence for this, but there are definitely strategies to effectively handle nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Severe retching, vomiting, and dehydration warrants medical attention.
Here are few easy ways to handle nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that can be done at home:
Stick to foods that don’t stimulate nausea
You would realize what type of foods cause nausea and what types of foods don’t. Stick to those foods that are easy for you to digest.
Avoid foods with strong smell
Sometimes your favorite dish may hyper stimulate your olfactory receptors, resulting in a gag reflex. If your favorite food has a strong aroma, then the chances of nausea are high. Avoiding such foods is the only solution. You can opt for foods that are less stimulating.
Keep your ambiance devoid of strong smelling substances
In the first trimester of pregnancy, you become hyper sensitive to the smell of even normal substances. Room fresheners, perfumes, flowers, washing powders, etc. are capable of causing nausea and vomiting. So make sure that your ambiance has a neutral smell and doesn’t contain strong smelling substances.
One reason why you puke in the morning may be due to the emptiness of your stomach. After an early dinner, you are without food for almost 10-12 hours. This leads to increased gastric acid secretion, augmenting the queasiness. The acidic content in the stomach, along with a strong smell, stimulates your gag reflex, making you throw up the gastric juices. So plan accordingly for an early breakfast to reduce this.
Eat less but in higher frequency
One way of handling the issue of nausea is to break down your entire meal plan into smaller meals and take them at regular intervals. This will reduce the burden on the stomach caused by taking large portions, making digestion easier. Higher frequency also ensures that you are receiving adequate nutrition regularly.
Switch to liquid
If solid food is slow to digest, it may cause heaviness in the stomach as well as vomiting. You can switch to liquid foods like juices, and other semi-solid diets, for early and easy digestion. This reduces the chances of puking.
Regular vomiting may lead to loss of nutrients and cause a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. In such cases, hydration should be a high priority, and nutrients should be supplemented through tablets or syrups.
Take ginger and lemon
Ginger and lemon are powerful anti-emetics. Drinking lemonade spiced up with ginger is a very effective way to beat nausea.
Loads of rest
Weakness follows a bout of nausea and vomiting. So take adequate rest and sleep well to ensure that you don’t stress yourself.
Maintain oral hygiene
Bad breath may sometimes be an anchor to nauseating symptoms. Maintaining adequate oral hygiene to ward off bad breath will be an effective measure.
Take a break
If you are a working woman with serious symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum, then do yourself a favor and take a day off your busy schedule.
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can be handled with these simple tips at the comfort of your home. Note that if the symptoms persist even after all these measures, then you must consult your physician and seek professional medical advice.