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Coping with nausea and morning sickness

by Abhishek Shankar
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Morning sickness, despite its misleading name, can strike at any time of day, leaving expectant mothers grappling with waves of nausea and discomfort. This common pregnancy symptom affects the majority of pregnant women, often during the first trimester, but for some, it may persist throughout the entire pregnancy. Coping with nausea and morning sickness can be challenging, but there are numerous strategies and remedies to help ease the discomfort and make the experience more manageable.

The exact cause of morning sickness remains a subject of ongoing research, but it is believed to be linked to hormonal changes during pregnancy. One of the most common strategies for dealing with morning sickness is dietary modification. For many women, certain foods and odors can trigger nausea, and avoiding these triggers can help alleviate the symptoms. Some women find relief by eating small, frequent meals throughout the day, rather than three large meals. This approach can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent the stomach from becoming too empty, which can worsen nausea. Opting for bland, easily digestible foods like crackers, rice, or plain toast can also be helpful, as strong flavors and spices can sometimes exacerbate the problem.

Ginger is a natural remedy that has gained popularity for its effectiveness in combating nausea. Whether consumed as ginger tea, ginger candies, or ginger capsules, this root has been shown to provide relief for some pregnant women. While the exact mechanism is not fully understood, it is believed that ginger can help soothe an upset stomach and reduce the severity of nausea.

In some cases, vitamin B6 supplements have been recommended by doctors to help ease morning sickness. Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is thought to have a role in reducing nausea and vomiting. However, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements during pregnancy, as excessive intake can be harmful.

Hydration is essential for expectant mothers, but it can be challenging to maintain when nausea and vomiting are constant companions. Sipping small amounts of clear fluids throughout the day can help prevent dehydration. Staying hydrated is particularly crucial if vomiting is frequent, as it can lead to electrolyte imbalances. Clear fluids like water, herbal teas, and clear broths are generally well-tolerated. Some women find relief from ice-cold beverages, as the cold temperature can help soothe the stomach.

If dietary modifications and home remedies do not provide sufficient relief, there are medications that can be prescribed by doctors to manage severe morning sickness. It is essential to consult with a healthcare provider to discuss the potential benefits and risks of medication use during pregnancy.

In addition, rest and relaxation are crucial during pregnancy, and fatigue can exacerbate nausea. Ensuring adequate sleep and managing stress through practices like deep breathing, meditation, or prenatal yoga can be helpful. Sometimes, changing daily routines or taking short breaks during the day can provide much-needed relief.

Avoiding strong odors, whether from cooking, perfumes, or household cleaning products, can help reduce nausea triggers. It may also be beneficial to open windows and maintain good ventilation in living spaces to ensure a fresh, odor-free environment.

Support from partners, family, and friends is invaluable during pregnancy, especially when dealing with morning sickness. Communicating openly about the challenges and discomfort can provide emotional support and help reduce stress. Partners can assist with meal preparation and household chores, making the expectant mother’s daily life more manageable.

Final Thoughts
Coping with nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy can be a challenging experience, but there are various strategies and remedies to help alleviate the discomfort. Dietary modifications, natural remedies like ginger and acupressure wristbands, and medical interventions are all potential options for managing morning sickness. Lifestyle adjustments, such as getting adequate rest and minimizing stress, can also contribute to a more comfortable pregnancy.

The author is a MBBS, MS, DNB (Obstetrics & Gynecology) at Apollo.

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