Richmond Practice - Morning sickness or hyperemesis

Morning sickness or hyperemesis

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Why am I feeling sick? Will it harm my baby?

The cause of morning sickness and nausea in pregnancy is unknown but it is thought to be connected to changes in hormone levels. Sickness is the most common medical condition of early pregnancy and it usually resolves spontaneously within 16 to 20 weeks. Sickness in pregnancy is not associated with a poor pregnancy outcome.

Most cases are mild and do not require treatment. It may be worse in the morning, but most sufferers get it throughout the day and into the evening. Nausea affects about 70% of all pregnant women, with about 60% actually vomiting.

Sickness in pregnancy won't harm your baby as long as you're able to keep some food down and drink plenty of fluids.

Rest during the day and eat frequent small meals that are high in carbohydrate and low in fat. Eat a balanced diet if you can, but if you are feeling very sick, eat whatever you can cope with. Your liver stores many of the nutrients your baby will need to develop normally, so it won't matter too much if you are not eating. Avoid sights and smells that trigger your nausea and try natural remedies like vitamin B6 and ginger.

The most severe form of morning sickness is called hyperemesis gravidarum, literally "excessive vomiting in pregnancy." Unlike normal pregnancy sickness, hyperemesis can affect your health and that of your baby.

Consult your doctor or gynaecologist if:
  • you are vomiting many times a day
  • you are unable to eat and drink without vomiting
  • you are losing weight
  • you also have pain, a fever or a headache
  • you get nausea and vomiting for the first time after nine weeks of pregnancy.

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is more common:

  • in a first pregnancy (primigravidae)
  • in a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc)

when previously affected by hyperemesis.

At Elsbeth's Doctors our female consultant obstetricians are all specialists in fetal maternal medicine. They can help with diagnosing the problem and help you prevent and treat morning sickness or hyperemesis. Our doctors are available Monday to Saturday and we can also help in an emergency.