Health News Articles

Managing Morning Sickness Means Knowing Your Triggers

Oct 22, 2013
Feeling a little queasy is nothing unusual for pregnant women. In fact, more than half of all expectant mothers experience at least occasional nausea during
the course of a pregnancy. But while “morning sickness” (which can actually strike at any time of day or night) may be common, it still should be brought to the attention of your doctor.

“In most cases there isn’t really any cause for concern when it comes to morning sickness, but mentioning it during your visits—whether it’s mild or severe—is still a good idea,” says Samih A. Ibrahim, MD, FACOG, board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. “Even in its mildest forms there are things you can do to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of morning sickness and prevent the condition from possibly becoming more severe.”

Acute morning sickness, which involves vomiting in addition to nausea, can result in weight loss, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance, as well as an irregular heartbeat and breathing problems. All of these conditions can affect the health of the mother and the baby.

“At its most severe, we treat acute morning sickness with IV therapy in the hospital or at home to restore fluids and help control nausea so foods can be kept down,” says Dr. Ibrahim, a member of the UMCPP Medical Staff. “But in most cases that is not necessary. Easy, at-home treatments are all that most women need to control their nausea and vomiting.”

The first step is to identify possible triggers that may be causing nausea, including certain foods, smells and images.

“Fatty and spicy foods may be a trigger, along with eating too much at one time,” says Dr. Ibrahim. “So eating small meals over the course of the day, and focusing on easy-to-digest foods, is a good idea. If you find smells like cigarette smoke or perfume are a problem, be sure to avoid them. And, watch out for visual triggers, like the fast food commercial with a close-up of a juicy burger. If you pay close attention, you often will be able to identify what is causing your morning sickness and simply avoid it.”

Treatment options for women who are still experiencing morning sickness after modifying their diets and addressing other triggers may find relief with ginger supplements or ginger tea, which can settle the stomach; by trying acupressure bracelets or hypnosis; by taking daily vitamin B-6 supplements combined
with over-the-counter sleep medication; or by taking a prescription medication for nausea.

Pregnant teenagers, women who have experienced nausea with prior pregnancies or are pregnant with multiples, and women with underlying conditions such as anxiety disorders tend to be most prone to morning sickness. And while it is most common in the first trimester, some women experience nausea throughout their pregnancies.

For assistance finding an obstetrician or gynecologist affiliated with Princeton HealthCare System, call 1.888.FINDaDR (1.888.346.3237) or click here.