To Your Health-May 11, 2006

How to cope with morning sickness

By: Dr. Terry Shlimbaum
   Most expectant mothers experience morning sickness to some degree during their first four months of pregnancy, but why does it happen and is there anything you can do about it?
   Pregnancy causes an increase in hormones, especially estrogen, in the body and, sometimes, a women’s body has a hard time dealing with that change.
   Increased hormones lead to slower digestion of food, biochemical changes in the body and an increased sense of smell, all of which attribute to nausea during pregnancy. Most of the time, morning sickness subsides by the fourth month of pregnancy, but some women can suffer from it all the way to full term.
   What can I do about it?
   There are many helpful hints to deal with morning sickness.
   • Remind yourself this is a temporary condition.
   Enlist a support group of friends and family.
   • Learn some stress management techniques and rest your body.
   Fatigue and anxiety can contribute to feeling nauseous. Try lying down and relaxing. When getting up, rise slowly.
   • Learn your triggers.
   If warm temperatures or certain smells tend to set you off, try avoiding them. Eat foods that you can keep down even if they aren’t the healthiest. They will help keep you energized and provide calorie intake.
   Whole wheat carbohydrates can help sooth the stomach and neutralize blood sugar levels.
   Never let your stomach get empty; that’s when you’ll feel most nauseous. Also, be wary of eating and drinking at the same time if you feel sick. Eat a small meal and wait to drink beverages until your stomach settles.
   Try some creative ways to curb your nausea such as smelling a lemon, drinking lemonade or dimming the lighting.
   Taking papaya enzyme tablets or ginger tablets are also safe ways to control your nausea.
   If nothing else seems to work, speak to your health-care provider about over-the-counter or prescription medications to quell your morning sickness.
   And remember, waves of nausea and vomiting, decreased appetite, fatigue and aversion to certain odors are all normal symptoms of morning sickness. However, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your health-care provider if you feel you are experiencing symptoms more severe or out of the ordinary.