You’ve seen it happen in films and tv series, just before the long-awaited pregnancy announcement and pregnancy scans scenes. You’ve heard it from your first time mum best friend, who has been there before you and is now giving you useful pregnancy tips. Your own sister had a close encounter with it during her first pregnancy. And now, it looks like it might be your turn.
What are we talking about? The dreaded morning sickness.
Affecting a whopping eight out of ten pregnant women, morning sickness is often part and parcel of the journey to motherhood.
Unlike what the name suggests, though, you might find that you experience nausea and vomiting in the afternoons and evenings, as well as (or instead of) in the mornings.
Before you panic, we have some good news for you. First of all, the vast majority of pregnancy sickness gradually declines and eventually disappears towards the end of the first trimester or the beginning of the second. This is because the hormonal changes that are thought to be among the causes of morning sickness generally settle after week 12.
Secondly, research is pointing to the fact that women who suffer from morning sickness tend to have healthier pregnancies and babies. We know it’s really hard, but try to hold onto these thoughts the next time you rush to the toilet!
Understanding Morning Sickness if You’re a First Time Mum
It’s important to highlight that not all pregnancy sickness is the same. The levels of intensity can vary a lot, so your experience is likely to be very different from that of your friend or family member.
Some women only feel nauseous for part of the day but can get on with their lives without much disruption. Others, however, suffer from multiple episodes of vomiting throughout the day, which can leave them upset and fatigued. A very small number of mums-to-be experience the most extreme type of morning sickness: hyperemesis gravidarum.
You might remember the Duchess of Cambridge talking about her own experience with HG, which affected her for each of her three pregnancies. If you are worried that this is the type of morning sickness that you are suffering from, please reach out to your GP as soon as possible.
One of the Best Pregnancy Tips Ever? Take It Easy
Everybody is probably already telling you to rest and put your feet up as much as possible now that you have a little bun in the oven. If you’ve started suffering from morning sickness, you might want to listen to that advice and slow down a notch.
Your body is going through tremendous changes day in and day out, and your hormones are pretty much running the show. So, give yourself a well-deserved break and delegate whatever you can to your partner or a friend.
Don’t force yourself to complete that workout if you start to feel dizzy, or to clean the house to a Mrs Hinch standard if you’d rather take a nap. The more rested and relaxed you are, the less intense your feelings of nausea will be.
Food? Little and Often Is the Key
You probably know the saying that when you’re pregnant you’re eating for two, right? Well, that’s not exactly the case, especially if you suffer from morning sickness.
During those first, pesky weeks, you want to try and eat little and often, as opposed to having big and heavy meals. If you possibly can, try to keep your diet as healthy and varied as possible, with lots of fruit, veg, and lean protein.
Carbs are also great at neutralising those queasy sensations. Opt for white bread and pasta, in small portions, as well as crackers or breadsticks with some cheese for a quick snack.
Can’t stand the sight (or smell) of a juicy burger or a nice fillet of fish? That’s absolutely normal, and all you’ve got to do is simply follow your instinct. Don’t worry too much if, for once, the only thing you can stomach is a pack of salt and vinegar crisps. Chances are that this will be a very short-lived period, and you’ll soon be back to feeling more like your usual self.
An Empty Stomach Is Your Enemy
Feelings of sickness often tend to ramp up on an empty stomach. So, make sure you always stock up on snacks to have on the go.
Some ideas? Try packing your handbag with ginger cookies, salty crackers, nuts, and mints. Anything can set off your morning sickness when you’re out and about, especially strong smells such as cigarette smoke and other people’s perfumes.
If you have a quick, handy snack always on you, you’ll be able to stop your morning sickness on its tracks. Make sure you also bring a water bottle or energy drink, as sipping water little and often can relieve feelings of nausea.
Is your morning sickness flooring you the moment you step foot out of bed? Again, you can minimise it by grabbing some food before you even emerge from your duvet. Fill your bedside table drawer with snacks that you are loving at the moment, whatever they may be, and munch on one of them before starting your day.
Distract Yourself as Much as Possible
As with many other ailments, morning sickness has a psychological component, too. It’s crucial that you distract yourself as much as possible by doing things that you enjoy, and spending time with your loved ones.
You could go back to bingeing that fun, feel-good tv series that you used to watch when you were in school, or perhaps just give your best friend a call and chat about what’s going on in her life. If you’re up for it and aren’t feeling too exhausted, you can practice some gentle yoga or go for a short run.
Anything that can keep your mind off of those queasy feelings will be a winner. Filling your days with pleasant, relaxing activities and things to look forward to will make these weeks go by faster. Before you know it, the pesky morning sickness will be a thing of the past.
Try Natural Remedies
If your GP gives you the green light, why not try some natural, alternative ways to ease your morning sickness? Vitamin B6, for example, has been shown to bring some relief from feelings of nausea.
Many women also swear by the good, old ginger: try it in cookies, sweets, or as an infusion, and you might get some benefits from it.
Wearing anti-sickness wristbands, that you can purchase at most pharmacies, can also provide some respite, as can sessions of acupuncture.
Once again, just make sure that you have checked with your doctor that it is safe for you and your baby to try any of these methods to ease your morning sickness.
Make Your First Pregnancy a Memorable Time
It may sound like a trivial bit of advice, but it is very true: it’s important that, throughout these tricky weeks, you remain patient and positive. Your attitude greatly influences how your body functions, and this applies to morning sickness, too.
So, the calmer, more optimistic you are, and the more you manage to occupy your time with activities that bring you joy, the less likely you are to be affected by your sickness.
Keep reminding yourself that this period won’t last forever and that in just a few weeks you will be feeling increasingly better. Also, remember that you’re feeling pretty miserable now for a very good (and exciting) reason: you’re growing a new life!
How amazing is that? Putting things into perspective, and being grateful for this wonderful adventure that you have embarked on will allow you to cope with your morning sickness much better.
Want to See the Little One Responsible for Your Morning Sickness? Book One of Our Pregnancy Scans!
If morning sickness is threatening to spoil this magical time of your life — particularly if this is your first pregnancy — then follow our pregnancy tips above and let us know how you get on.
And what about booking a scan with us to catch a glimpse of the little monster responsible for all those trips to the loo? This will surely make you realise just how worthy and special the whole experience really is!
To find out what pregnancy scans we offer, simply give us a ring or drop us a line. We can’t wait to welcome you and your little bundle!