Morning sickness ... a very common pregnancy side effect.

Morning sickness ... a very common pregnancy side effect.

You’ve done it – you’re pregnant! In less than a year, you’ll have a gorgeous, brand new little human all of your own. If only you didn’t have to get through this awful nausea first!

Research indicates that up to 80 per cent of pregnant women get morning sickness in pregnancy. Caused by elevated oestrogen levels, it often starts around week six of pregnancy. It’s usually accompanied by exhaustion, a stronger sense of smell and a few other not-so-fun side effects of pregnancy.  

The good news? Morning sickness can be seen as a sign that everything is going as it should be 

The good news? Morning sickness is a sign that you’re producing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is made as the embryo develops. It can be seen as a sign that everything is going as it should be.

As staying hydrated can help ward off nausea, it's important to drink small amounts throughout the day. Some women say herbal teas containing peppermint and ginger can especially help ease morning sickness; <b>belliesbubsboobs.com</b> offers Quease Ease tea, a mix of these ingredients, for $15.90. Click for more photos

Help ease your morning sickness

As staying hydrated can help ward off nausea, it's important to drink small amounts throughout the day. Some women say herbal teas containing peppermint and ginger can especially help ease morning sickness; belliesbubsboobs.com offers Quease Ease tea, a mix of these ingredients, for $15.90.

  • As staying hydrated can help ward off nausea, it's important to drink small amounts throughout the day. Some women say herbal teas containing peppermint and ginger can especially help ease morning sickness; <b>belliesbubsboobs.com</b> offers Quease Ease tea, a mix of these ingredients, for $15.90.
  • A study of 600 women by doctors at the Adelaide Women and Children's Hospital found that acupuncture can reduce the severity of morning sickness symptoms - even one session could have a positive impact on the nausea. Many mums on the Essential Baby forum agreed that acupuncture helped ease their symptoms.
  • Many pregnant women on the Essential Baby forum agreed that vitamin B6 helped ease their morning sickness symptoms. B6 tablets are available from pharmacies and health food stores, but you can also try eating brown rice, lean meats, avocados, whole grains, corn and nuts, which are also high in B vitamins.
  • Certain smells might make you feel sick, so it can help to carry a something nicely-scented so that when you feel the need, you can take a sniff to ease your nausea. Some find that a rosemary sprig or bottle of lemon extract works wonders, but another option is Mohdoh: called 'mouldable aromatherapy', it's like playdough with added essential oils, and releases a great scent. Our favourites: 'Breathe', which uses eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender and hyssop essential oils, and 'Calm', with rosewood, ylang ylang, jasmine and lavandin; $14.95 from <b>mohdoh.com.au</b>.
  • Research has shown that women with mild nausea can benefit from thinking positively. When it hits, have a seat and take a few deep breaths. Try to relax, focusing on releasing the tension from your toes to your head. Think about how your baby is growing, and remember that what you're feeling is just a side effect of that growth. You can also try talking to your baby to distract you from the nausea.
  • Many mums on the Essential Baby forum say ginger helped ease their morning sickness. It can be taken in tea (just slice off a little and steep it in hot water for a few minutes), in ginger beer, ginger snap biscuits, crystallised ginger or hard ginger lollies. You can also try ginger tablets from the health food store or vitamins section of the pharmacy.
  • Eat something small, such as a few biscuits or crackers, before you get out of bed in the morning (leave it by your bed before you go to sleep at night). You can feel sick when your blood sugar level is low, so eating before you even stand up can help in the mornings.
  • Peppermint, in many different forms, can help ease morning sickness; the menthol works as a cooling, anaesthetic stomach soother, and it can also help with heartburn and indigestion. Try peppermint tea or mint lollies, or use peppermint oil in an aromatherapy diffuser to scent the air. Spearmint tea is also worth a try.
  • Doctors and midwives recommend eating smaller amounts throughout the day, rather than sticking to the usual three main meals - it's a good idea to not get too hungry OR too full. It can also help if you have a drink half an hour before or after meals, instead of drinking while you're eating. try to keep a stash of healthy foods nearby, so you're never left empty handed when you need it most.
  • In acupressure, specific body parts are stimulated to help ease nausea. Acupressure wristbands (such as Psi Bands, pictured; $21.95 for two, from <b>sincewewerekids.com.au</b>) are drug-free alternatives for those who suffer from morning sickness. Acupressure bands can also be used to help treat nausea caused by travel sickness and hangovers.
  • If over-the-counter products and other suggestions aren't helping, visit your doctor, as they can prescribe medications to ease nausea. If you're experiencing severe morning sickness, with excessive vomiting, weight loss and dehydration, it's also important you seek medical attention - you might have hyperemesis gravidarum, which can require intravenous treatment.
  • The only cure 100% guaranteed to cure morning sickness? Giving birth. Try to remember that you won't feel like this forever - and that at the end of it all, you'll have a wonderful new baby to show for it!

Now for the bad news. Although it usually ends around 12 weeks into pregnancy, morning sickness occasionally lasts for longer; this varies from woman to woman, and even from one pregnancy to the next. The sickness can hit at any time of the day or night, and can cause nausea that leads to vomiting. Some women say it’s like a hangover that won’t go away. Around one per cent of pregnancies can cause hyperemesis gravidarum, which involves severe vomiting, weight loss and dehydration. If you're ever concerned about your pregnancy, or feel more sick than you think is normal, don't hesitate in seeing a doctor or your midwife - you might need urgent medical treatment.  

For those with normal morning sickness, however, there are things you can try to ease your morning sickness. You can start by eating and drinking properly, and getting enough rest. Our gallery shows a few more ways you can try to get on top of it too – and also reveals the thing that works 100 per cent of the time!

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