All Blogs | Understanding Morning Sickness and Its Causes

All Blogs | Understanding Morning Sickness and Its Causes

Understanding Morning Sickness and Its Causes

Understanding Morning Sickness

Morning sickness, despite its name, is not limited to just the early hours of the day. It's a term that encompasses the feelings of nausea, and often vomiting, that many pregnant women experience. This phenomenon can occur during any time of the day or night, sometimes even lasting all day for some.

For many mamas-to-be, it begins as a slight queasiness, a subtle reminder of the profound changes occurring within. As the days progress, this queasiness can transform into a more pronounced nausea, with certain smells or tastes becoming almost unbearable triggers. Foods or scents that once were loved might suddenly become a pregnant woman's worst enemy, leading her to make hurried trips to the bathroom or desperately search for a place to rest.

While the symptoms of morning sickness can be distressing, they often serve as an early sign of pregnancy before a pregnancy test even confirms it. It's a double-edged sword: on one hand, it's a signal of the body's adaptation to support a new life; on the other hand, it can be a source of significant discomfort.

The intensity and duration of morning sickness can vary widely among women. Some might only feel slightly nauseous for a few weeks, while others might experience severe morning sickness and intense vomiting episodes for several months. It's a spectrum, with every woman's experience being unique.

Furthermore, it's crucial to differentiate between standard morning sickness and its severe form, hyperemesis gravidarum. While morning sickness is relatively mild and doesn't lead to dehydration or notable weight loss, hyperemesis gravidarum is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte imbalance. This condition can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby and often requires medical intervention.

So, what can one expect? For most, morning sickness feels like a lingering stomach upset, accompanied by an aversion to specific foods or smells. Some women also describe it as feeling similar to motion sickness. It's a rollercoaster – with some good days where the symptoms are almost absent, and other days where they are particularly strong.

The reassuring part? For most women, morning sickness, as challenging as it might be, is a temporary phase. It's a part of the body's remarkable journey in nurturing and supporting a new life. And with understanding, care, and sometimes medical advice for severe morning sickness, it can be managed effectively.

pregnant woman holding her stomach

Why Does Morning Sickness Happen?

Morning sickness is a curious phenomenon that has puzzled both medical professionals and expecting mothers for years. While its exact cause remains somewhat elusive, several theories and factors contribute to its onset:

  1. Hormonal Changes: The beginning of pregnancy is marked by a rapid surge in several hormones.
    •  hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin): Shortly after a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining, the body starts producing hCG. This hormone is essential for maintaining a healthy pregnancy, especially in the early weeks and months. Its rapid increase during the initial stages of pregnancy is believed to be one of the primary culprits behind morning sickness.
    • Estrogen: Another hormone that sees a significant rise during pregnancy. While essential for the baby's development, this spike in estrogen levels can irritate the stomach lining, leading to feelings of nausea.
  1. Enhanced Sense of Smell: Many pregnant women report an increased sensitivity to odors, which can trigger nausea. This heightened sense of smell is believed to be another result of the hormonal changes in the body. Even the faintest of scents, which might have gone unnoticed before, can become overpowering and lead to bouts of queasiness.
  2. Stomach Sensitivity: During pregnancy, the body undergoes numerous changes, including the slowing down of the digestive system. This can result in increased acidity and a more sensitive stomach, making pregnant women more prone to feelings of nausea.
  3. Evolutionary Theory: Some researchers propose an evolutionary perspective, suggesting that morning sickness is the body's way of protecting the fetus from potentially harmful substances. Nausea and vomiting might prevent the ingestion of foods that could be detrimental to the developing baby, especially during the vital first trimester when the baby's organs are forming.
  4. Stress and Fatigue: Pregnancy, especially for first-time mothers, can be both an exciting and stressful time. Physical and emotional stress, combined with the fatigue that many pregnant women feel, can exacerbate feelings of nausea and vomiting.
  5. Blood Sugar Fluctuations: Changes in blood sugar levels can also play a role in morning sickness. After a night of fasting, blood sugar levels can drop, which might be one reason why many women feel particularly nauseous in the mornings.
  6. Other Factors: Factors like a history of migraines, certain gastrointestinal disorders, and even some psychological factors might increase the propensity for morning sickness in some women.

In understanding the myriad of factors that contribute to morning sickness, it becomes evident that this phenomenon is a complex interplay of physiological changes. While it can be discomforting, it's also a sign of the body's incredible adaptability and effort in creating a nurturing environment for the new life growing inside.

What are the Stages of Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness typically begins around the sixth week of pregnancy and peaks around the ninth week. While most women find relief from their symptoms by the end of the first trimester, a small percentage may continue to experience them into their second trimester or even throughout their entire pregnancy.

Early Stage (Weeks 6-9): Onset of nausea, often triggered by certain smells or foods. Vomiting might be sporadic.

Peak Stage (Weeks 9-13): This is when many women experience the height of their nausea and vomiting symptoms.

Resolution Stage (Weeks 14 onwards): For most, symptoms start to decrease and eventually disappear. However, some women may continue to experience mild nausea or rare bouts of vomiting.

stages of symptoms

How Can I Relieve Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness, while a common occurrence, can undoubtedly put a damper on the joyous journey of pregnancy. Fortunately, there are several strategies, both medical and natural, that can relieve morning sickness and offer some respite from the feelings of morning sickness like occasional nausea and vomiting.

  1. Eat Small, Frequent Meals: An empty stomach often exacerbates nausea and morning sickness. Instead of three large meals, opt for five to six smaller meals spaced throughout the day. This ensures a steady blood sugar level, which can help keep nausea and vomiting at bay.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can intensify feelings of nausea and morning sickness. Sip on fluids throughout the day. If plain water seems unappetizing, try flavored water, herbal teas, or broths. Some women find relief by sipping cold or icy drinks.
  3. Ginger: This root has been used for centuries as a remedy for various ailments, including nausea and morning sickness. Consider incorporating ginger into your diet through teas, candies, or biscuits to treat morning sickness. Ginger supplements are also available, but it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any supplementation.
  4. Vitamin B6: This vitamin can be a morning sickness game-changer for some women. Studies suggest that Vitamin B6 can help alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness. While it can be found in foods like bananas and avocados, supplements are also available. Again, a consultation with a healthcare provider is crucial before starting any new supplement.
  5. Avoid Triggers: Every woman's triggers may be different. For some, the smell of coffee might induce nausea, while for others, it could be the scent of fried foods. By identifying and avoiding these triggers, you can significantly reduce instances of nausea.
  6. Rest and Relaxation: It cannot be stressed enough how crucial adequate rest is during pregnancy. Fatigue can amplify symptoms of morning sickness. Ensure you're getting enough sleep and consider short naps during the day if possible. Also, stress-relieving techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and prenatal yoga can be beneficial in relieving pregnancy nausea.
  7. Peppermint: The refreshing scent and taste of peppermint can be soothing for some women. Consider sipping on peppermint tea or even just inhaling the aroma from peppermint essential oils.
  8. Seek Medical Advice: If you're experiencing severe morning sickness, nausea or vomiting, or if you're losing weight, it's essential to see a healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on safe options during pregnancy and might offer prescription solutions to effectively treat severe morning sickness.

If you’re looking for a discreet solution to take either on the go or to store in your nightstand at home, try UpSpring Stomach Settle drops. They include ginger, Vitamin B6, mint, and lemon in every drop to help relieve occasional morning sickness.

Remember, each woman's experience with morning sickness is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. It's a process of trial and error, finding what remedies or combinations offer the most relief. Most importantly, while morning sickness can be challenging, it's also a temporary phase in the beautiful journey of motherhood.

green lightbulb

Morning sickness is a shared experience for many women during their pregnancy journey, serving as both a challenge and a testament to the incredible changes occurring within the body. While its symptoms can sometimes be daunting, understanding its causes and exploring various relief methods can make a world of difference. Remember, every pregnancy is unique, and so is every woman's experience with morning sickness. With patience, support, and care, this phase will pass, leading the way to the joys and wonders of motherhood. Always trust your instincts, lean on your support system, and consult with healthcare professionals to ensure a healthy and comfortable journey towards welcoming your little one.