Pregnancy can be an overwhelming experience for any woman, especially when it’s an unintended pregnancy. Let’s be clear about one thing–women are strong! Strong and designed for the physical and emotional changes that come with pregnancy. Even so, it’s not easy to be pregnant. An unplanned pregnancy or pregnancy on top of other unwanted life stresses can be especially challenging to get through. Pregnancy comes with all sorts of new physical and emotional experiences. The good news is that many women have done this before you, and there is an entire medical community to support you with quality information!
If you are experiencing a difficult pregnancy, you are not alone. With good information and support, you will see what we already see–that you are strong, amazing, and able to get through it! If you are experiencing symptoms such as morning sickness, it is important to be aware of the signs that your symptoms may be too intense. In this article, we will explore the signs of excessive morning sickness and what you can do to help alleviate typical morning sickness symptoms.
Morning Sickness: The Basics
Okay, so you’re pregnant. Maybe you planned for years to have this baby, and this was the perfect time to start your family. Or maybe this was an unplanned pregnancy, the result of failed birth control or poor timing. Whether the happy result of family planning or the unexpected outcome of a mistimed pregnancy, you’re here now. Belly growing; cramps and nausea. Your boobs are sensitive; your body doesn’t feel like your own anymore. Your emotions are on a roller coaster of their own. On top of it all, you canNOT stop throwing up.
The smell of cologne. The thought of a fish dinner. Everything makes you sick.
From all you have been told, morning sickness is normal. These nauseous, gonna-throw-up feelings are a part of being pregnant, and you just have to get through them. To a degree, that’s true, but there are also signs your body will give you warning that it’s more intense than it should be.
So how do you know when it’s too much? Excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is known as hyperemesis gravidarm, and as many as 1 to 3 out of every 100 pregnant women are estimated to experience it. If you are experiencing regular morning sickness, we have some tips and tricks for you to manage it! If your morning sickness is getting more serious, pay attention for the following signs to know if you need to talk to medical professionals about your pregnancy.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness refers to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Nearly 90% of pregnant women experience nausea alone, with 28-52% experiencing vomiting as well.1 Most often, morning sickness takes place during the first trimester, though for some it lasts longer. As you might expect from the term “morning” sickness, the symptoms are more likely to occur earlier in the day, but in reality, they can occur at any time.
Many experts believe morning sickness is caused due to changes in the pregnant woman’s hormone levels. Stress, lack of sleep, and a heightened sense of smell can also contribute to symptoms of morning sickness. Seriously, your body is going through it! My mom used to tell me that when you’re pregnant, it’s like you’re climbing a mountain every day just by the fact of being pregnant. So have grace with yourself and try to prioritize rest when you can.
Severe Morning Sickness
Hyperemesis gravidarm—a mouthful, I know—refers to excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. We’ll call it HG for short.
HG leads to weight loss and volume depletion, and often necessitates hospital treatment. It’s important to pay attention for symptoms of morning sickness that is worse that it should be. Contact a medical professional if you have these symptoms.
So When Should I Call my Doctor?
Here are a few signs you should tell a medical professional about your morning sickness:
1. Your nausea and vomiting are severe and not improving
2. You have lost more than 2 pounds
3. You are vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
4. You are experiencing severe vomiting (more than 3-4 times in a 24-hour period)
5. You are unable to keep fluids down for 24 hours
6. You are craving something unusual, such as dirt or metal
These symptoms may also lead to health consequences such as extreme fatigue and fainting. Pay attention to the signals your body is giving you. These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have HG; there are various possibilities of what could be causing a particular symptom. Even so, it’s important to see a medical professional for your own well-being and for that of your pregnancy.
Some Pregnancy Survival Tips: Morning Sickness
It may seem now like your morning sickness will last forever, but remember! “This too shall pass.” Usually, morning sickness does not outlast the first trimester. I know what you’re thinking. That’s still SO long – I’m not gonna make it.
Well, here are a few quick tips to help you get through the worst of it:
1. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), start by trying out different prenatal vitamins, using ginger supplements, or wearing acupuncture wristbands. (Talk to your primary care provider for more specific information on these options.)
2. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to avoid hunger. Food items like crackers and dry cereal are good options to keep with you and munch on throughout the day.
3. Avoid fatty, spicy, acidic, rich, and strongly-flavored foods.
4. Eat foods that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates.
5. Take your prenatal vitamins with a meal or before bed.
6. Drink plenty of fluids between meals. It’s important to stay hydrated!
Last but not least, try to get plenty of rest and relaxation! As much as you are able, we know life is busy! But rest matters. Rest is healing and nourishing for your body, mind, and heart. Take small periods of time to give rest to your body and soul, whether that means making a watercolor painting, doing a facemask, or just sitting quietly for 5 minutes in the sunshine. Your body is doing a big job growing this baby, so try to show it love during this special journey.
Social support is also crucial during this time. Don’t hesitate to lean on your partner, family, friends, and healthcare provider for help and support. Prenatal care is a team effort! Your pregnancy matters to your community, so allow people to support you in whatever ways they can. Maybe that means asking your partner to cook you a healthy meal. Or, maybe it’s attending one of our free prenatal health education classes that we offer here at Clearway. Remember, you are not alone, and millions of women go through this every year. Now might be a good time to look for a group for new moms near you! Embrace Grace is an amazing option for single moms facing unplanned pregnancies. With proper care and community support, you can safely manage your morning sickness and have a healthy pregnancy. We believe in you, and you should too!
At Clearway Clinic, we provide free pregnancy testing and limited dating ultrasounds at 6 weeks gestation. Schedule an appointment today. If you are struggling with morning sickness, ask us about our anti-nausea kits. If you are demonstrating any of the 6 signs outlined above, contact your primary care provider as soon as possible.
- See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532917/ for more information about hyperemesis gravidarm.