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, until the middle of the second trimester.
Nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting, is also called “morning sickness” as the symptoms are often stronger in the morning. However, you may experience nausea and vomiting at any time during the day, not just in the morning, which can be very unpleasant, since it really affects your daily routine and your dietary balance.
Morning sickness very often begins around the 4th or 5th weeks of pregnancy and occurs for most women in the first trimester. However, this is not a rule and this timing may vary considerably from one woman to another and from one pregnancy to another.
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. In addition to being a normal symptom that can uncomfortably interfere with daily life, morning sickness is also a good sign of a healthy pregnancy.
It is even believed that women who experience nausea in the early stage are less likely to have a miscarriage or premature birth than others. However, the absence of such a symptom does not mean either that your pregnancy is a failure! Many women don’t have nausea and give birth to perfectly healthy babies.
What causes nausea in pregnancy?
Scientists don’t know the exact cause of pregnancy nausea and vomiting, which seems to be multifactorial. The most common theory is that hormonal changes, such as an increase in human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG), which is produced by the placenta and helps to maintain pregnancy, directly contribute to nausea during the first trimester.
Some conditions causing higher hCG levels than average, such as Down’s syndrome, molar pregnancies, and twins, often induce severe morning sickness.
Ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone, and other factors such as hypoglycemia, increased gastric acidity, stress and fatigue may also promote the onset of morning sickness during the first weeks of pregnancy.
How Long Does Nausea Last in pregnancy?
In general, nausea triggered 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, before improving in about 50% of cases by the middle of the second quarter, when the hormone levels begin to slightly decrease.
Unfortunately, for some pregnant women, morning sickness can sometimes last for several weeks or even months. In a small percentage of them, it will, therefore, persist until delivery.
when to take action?
If your nausea is really too strong and leads to alarming weight loss and dehydration, consult your doctor for a safe and effective treatment for you and your unborn baby. Regardless of how severe the symptoms are, all pregnant women should be informed about the available options.
When nausea persists throughout the day and even at night, which can also turn into vomiting, women tend to lose weight and fluids, along with the necessary nutrients for the proper progress of their pregnancy and the development of the fetus.
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is the most serious form of severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, often associated with reflux in the gastroesophageal 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. Pregnant women with moderate to severe nausea may need medications specifically designed to reduce their 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 in pregnant women. If they are unpleasant, some pieces of advice can be considered to relieve the discomfort.
The best way to manage this condition is to avoid too much nausea and vomiting with a bland diet that has no heavy ingredients to digest. Here are some useful tips to reduce the severity and frequency of your symptoms.
- 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.
- Try to eat regularly, without skipping meals. Instead of eating three large meals a day, prepare five or six healthy meals to avoid an empty stomach and maintain your blood sugar levels. An empty stomach is the best way to feel nauseous, and don’t overdo it either. It is better to prepare small, split meals.
- Remove and avoid conditions that aggravate vomiting, such as certain foods (greasy, fatty, fried, and spicy foods), smells, activities, or stress.
- Go in line with your food preferences, do not force yourself to prepare a dish that has a strong smell, and that will certainly disgust you and trigger nausea. Likewise, if food smells make you particularly sensitive, do not hesitate to cook cold dishes, less likely to excite your nostrils.
- 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 to drink again a few minutes after your meal. Moreover, it is advisable to avoid drinking during the meal.
- Suck or crunch some ice cubes, or suck on a slice of freshly cut lemon.
- Vitamin B6 is particularly known to reduce and prevent nausea during pregnancy. Meat, fish, cereals, and legumes contain good amounts of it. You can also consult your doctor for advice on possible vitamin B6 dietary supplements.
- 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.
- Go outside for fresh air as much as possible and avoid smoky places. It is not recommended to smoke during pregnancy! Not only is it likely to make you nauseous, but it is also very harmful to your unborn child.
- Avoid caffeine, especially hot coffee. Moreover, 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.