Morning sickness is the most conspicuous symptom of pregnancy. Almost every second woman experiences bouts of nausea and vomiting during the first trimester. A selected few continue to suffer until their delivery. Morning sickness starts between the 4th and 6th week of pregnancy. It starts as soon as a woman conceives. Although it is called morning sickness, the nauseous feeling can strike at any time of the day.
Several factors trigger morning sickness. This article aims at shedding light on the causes of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Causes of Morning Sickness
Rise in hormones
During the early months of pregnancy, there is a rapid rise in the level of hormones such as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG is the hormone secreted once the fertilized egg is implanted on the uterine wall) and estrogen. For this reason, it is often observed that women carrying multiples, twins or triplets, suffer severe morning sickness as the levels of HCG are higher than single pregnancy. Though the sudden surge in the level of hormones is attributed to be one of the main causes of morning sickness, there is no substantial evidence of how hormones contribute to morning sickness.
A highly sensitive gastrointestinal tract
The changes initiated by pregnancy also have an impact on the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, pregnant women who have a sensitive stomach may feel nauseous especially when they eat spicy and rich food. Selected studies also state that the presence of the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori causes prolonged nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
Increased sensitivity to smell and odors
During pregnancy, usually the first trimester, women develop a very sharp sense of smell. The sensitivity to smell is so strong that they can smell foods even over a great distance. One would find nothing wrong with it. However, the strong smell and aroma of food actually makes women sick. Many complain of a churning sensation in the stomach and a nauseous feeling even if they are served their favorite foods. This does not only happen with food, but also with other items such as perfumes. Thus, the high sensitivity to smells aggravates the problem of morning sickness.
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy may also develop as a response to stress. This view has been proposed by a few researchers however it still lacks concrete evidence.
In addition to the above mentioned factors it has been noted that some women have a higher tendency of developing morning sickness. Women who have suffered vomiting and nausea in the previous pregnancy will suffer it in consequent pregnancies too. Those with a history of migraines, motion sickness, genetic predisposition (if your mother or sisters have suffered morning sickness) and those who have developed nausea and vomiting as a side effect to birth control pills are more likely to develop morning sickness than others.
Will morning sickness harm your little one?
More than the discomfort caused by morning sickness, expectant women are worried about how morning sickness could impact the health and well being of their little one. Many moms-to-be ask if morning sickness harms their little one. No, morning sickness does not have a negative impact on the growing fetus. As long as you can retain some food or don’t get dehydrated, there is no need to worry.
When does it sound a warning bell?
Morning sickness is normal and will subside towards the end of the day. However, you may have to contact your health care provider if:
- The nausea or vomiting becomes very severe
- If the vomiting is accompanied by flu-like symptoms
- If you feel dizzy and faint
- If the body does not retain even fluids and your weight drops
- If you vomit blood
- And if you pass a very small amount of dark colored urine.