Myth: Morning sickness is a universal symptom of pregnancy. The truth is, not all expectant women experience nausea and vomiting in the first trimester or any time during their pregnancy. You may breeze through the first few months with a healthy glow day in and day out while your best friend could spend several hours a day with her head in the toilet. No pregnancy is truly alike, and each woman’s account of morning sickness is unique. The National Health Service states that 50 percent of all pregnant women are bound to experience nausea and vomiting in the first trimester, while 30% can surpass the first few months without this discomfort.
Several studies have strived to get to the bottom of queasiness and vomiting in early pregnancy, primarily because severe cases affect maternal nutrition, hydration and fluid balance. But also, let’s face it: pregnant or not pregnant, an all-day feeling that your gut’s about to spill from your mouth is far from pleasant.
Ask your mother, say researchers. A new study from the United States has revealed that a good indicator of whether you will experience morning sickness, and how intense, is your mother’s, sister’s and grandmother’s (either paternal or maternal) experience with the condition. The research has found evidence linking hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme nausea and vomiting) to women’s genes.
According to the scientists, the high familial prevalence may be a significant contributor to this condition. Simply put, women whose female biological family members experienced heightened pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness were seventeen times more likely to encounter the same compared to other expectant moms. Dr. Marlena Ferzo, who is an assistant professor of hematology-oncology at the University of California, says that pregnant women should be aware of their family history.
Halt the hurling: Know your history. Hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of vomiting can leave a woman severely dehydrated and malnourished. She may find it difficult to keep anything she eats down, so instead of gaining weight like she should, she will exhibit weight loss, an indication of poor maternal health which most likely leads to hospitalization. While there is no direct threat to the baby, getting hospitalized is bothersome. It is crucial for moms-to-be to find out if their female relatives experienced something similar. That way, they can be more prepared and participate more aggressively in keeping the condition under control for both maternal and fetal well-being.
The study was later on published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The article stated that healthcare providers should carefully assess family health history, when treating cases of severe nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.
Practical ways to keep it under control: Morning sickness is genetic, but it is also largely induced by an influx of hormones sustaining the pregnancy. Therefore, once it starts, there really is no cause, but there are several ways to prevent it from becoming bothersome.
- Anticipate it. Morning sickness is strongest in the morning, just as your hormone levels are highest during this time of day. Keep saltine or soda crackers by your bedside, and munch on a few pieces before getting up. These neutralize your stomach’s acids so you don’t feel queasy.
- Stock up on anything ginger. This aromatic root has been used for centuries to combat nausea. Today, it is available in tea, ale, or candy form.
- Listen to your nose. A mom-to-be’s sense of smell is heightened, and even favorite foods can now smell revolting. How your nose reacts to stimuli can also cause morning sickness. Avoid scents and flavors that trigger nausea.
- Eat more mini-meals. Little meals in snack proportions are easier to keep down because the stomach doesn’t work overly hard to digest it. So instead of three big ones, opt for 5 or 6 small meals on regular intervals to prevent hunger pangs.
- Experiment. There’s no definite list of things you will be sensitive to during pregnancy. Only you would be able to discover them yourself, and when you do, you can learn to avoid them.
One-size-fits-all does not apply. Finally, it is worth noting that the study found some evidence that morning sickness is genetic, but the case still varies from woman to woman. Pregnancy can be puzzling as much as it is amazing, and there are some things that even science still cannot explain.
Even if your mother, sister or grandmother experienced a difficult pregnancy, it isn’t an absolute fact that you will, too. Don’t let this scare you. Instead, use the knowledge to better prepare for the challenges in your pregnancy, and know that this rite-of-passage will be worth it when you finally have a healthy baby in your arms.