Expecting when does nausea start in pregnancy can be a very anxious moment, particularly for first-time moms. Indeed, this intolerable pregnancy symptom is almost inevitable for more than half of all women, especially in early pregnancy.
Nausea during pregnancy, sometimes accompanied by vomiting, is also called morning sickness since the symptoms usually increase in the morning. However, you may have nausea and vomiting at any time of the day, not just in the morning, which can be very unpleasant.
The difference between nausea triggered by morning sickness and nausea from other conditions is that morning sickness comes with other symptoms of early pregnancy, such as mood swings, food cravings, fatigue, or others.
Besides being a normal symptom that can affect every woman’s daily life and dietary balance, morning sickness is also a good sign of a healthy pregnancy. Some people even believe that women who experience nausea in the early stages are the less likely to miscarry or have a premature birth than others.
However, the absence of such a symptom does not mean either that your pregnancy is a failure! some lucky moms never have nausea or vomiting and give birth to perfectly healthy babies.
What causes nausea in pregnancy?
The most common theory is that hormonal changes, such as an increase in the hCG hormone produced by the placenta to maintain pregnancy, directly contribute to nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Indeed, some conditions causing higher than average levels of hCG, such as Down’s syndrome, molar pregnancies, and twins, often cause severe morning sickness.
In addition, ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone, as well as other factors such as hypoglycemia, increased gastric acidity, stress and fatigue may also contribute to the onset of morning sickness during the first weeks of pregnancy.
How Long Does Nausea Last in pregnancy?
In general, nausea caused by pregnancy begins between the 4th and 6th weeks and reaches its peak intensity between weeks 11 and 13, which coincides with the time when morning sickness is typically most severe.
During this period, most pregnant women report a high sensitivity to food odors and disgust. A slight smell such as cooking will be enough to trigger a feeling of nausea and vomiting.
For about 50% of cases, symptoms will start to improve around the middle of the second trimester, when hormone levels decrease slightly. But this is not a standard rule, the exact timing can vary considerably from one woman to another and from one pregnancy to another.
Unfortunately, for some pregnant women, morning sickness can sometimes last several weeks or even months. For a small percentage of them, it will therefore persist until delivery.
when to take action?
When nausea persists all day and even at night, which can also turn into vomiting, a woman’s body tends to lose weight and fluids, as well as nutrients necessary for the proper progress of pregnancy and fetal development.
In case of violent nausea leading to alarming weight loss and dehydration, you should consult your doctor for safe and effective treatment both for you and your unborn baby.
Regardless of how severe the symptoms are, all pregnant women should be informed of the available options. If you experience moderate to severe nausea during pregnancy, you may need medications specifically designed to reduce your symptoms.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is the most severe form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Often associated with reflux into the gastro esophageal tract, heartburn, acidity, malnutrition, uncontrollable vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration.
This is a very serious medical condition that should be discussed with a health care professional. If left untreated, it can have a significant impact on maternal and fetal health.
Call your doctor immediately if you:
- Have abdominal pain, fever, or dizziness.
- Vomit for almost 24 hours.
- Loss over 2 to 5 kg of weight.
- Feel very thirsty.
- Vomit blood.
- Have a fast heartbeat.
It is important to talk to a health care professional as soon as the earliest intervention will prevent the progression of nausea and vomiting to more severe symptoms.
However, women with mild to moderate nausea and vomiting may try to control their symptoms by changing certain lifestyle habits and eliminating some of the foods they have a problem with.
Some tips to reduce nausea during pregnancy
Pregnancy nausea is one of the most common disorders during a woman’s first trimester. Here are some helpful tips to reduce the severity and frequency of your symptoms.
- Choose a balanced diet that has no heavy ingredients to digest. Have natural cookies, rice cakes, or even a piece of chocolate on your bedside table and eat them before you get up to raise your blood sugar level.
- Get up slowly from the lying position and do not lie down immediately after eating. Avoid caffeine, especially hot coffee.
- Try to eat five or six small, split meals instead of three large meals a day to avoid an empty stomach and maintain your blood sugar levels. An empty stomach is the best way to feel nauseous.
- Vitamin B-6 is particularly known to reduce and prevent most cases of morning sickness: meat, fish, cereals, and legumes contain good amounts of it. You can also consult your doctor for advice on possible vitamin B-6 dietary supplements.
- Remove and avoid nausea triggers and keep away from strong odors such as perfume or other triggers like heat that could make your nausea worse.
- Suck or crunch some ice cubes, or suck on a slice of freshly cut lemon.
- Follow your food preferences, do not force yourself to cook a dish with strong odor that can disgust you and trigger nausea. Likewise, if food odors make you more sensitive, don’t hesitate to cook cold dishes, which are less likely to excite your nostrils.
- Wait for about half an hour after dinner before brushing your teeth. If brushing your teeth gives you a heartburn, opt for a mouthwash. Use it frequently to keep your breath fresh.
- Stay hydrated and avoid drinking during meals. A small trick to gently stimulate your digestive system is to drink a good glass of water a few minutes before starting your meal, and drink again a few minutes later.
- Go out for fresh air as much as possible and avoid smoky places. Smoking during pregnancy is obviously not recommended! not only is it likely to make you nauseous, but it is also very harmful to your unborn child.
- You shouldn’t take “anti-nausea” herbal teas and other food supplements, or grandmothers’ remedies without discussing them with your doctor.
- Remember to rest as much as possible since fatigue worsens nausea and vomiting.