How to Handle Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is seen as a hallmark symptom associated with pregnancy. Before even confirming pregnancy with a doctor, women may experience bouts of nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy. While it is coined as morning sickness, it actually can happen at any time of the day. Finding relief for these symptoms may be difficult. Ginger happens to be a top answer when moms ask for suggestions to alleviate morning sickness. Ginger in its various forms has historic effectiveness for settling the gastrointestinal tract, being relatively safe, and being easily accessible.

Morning sickness is nausea, vomiting, and/or the sick-to-your-stomach feeling that may be experienced at any time during the day.The reason why women experience morning sickness is still being researched. Some believe it is a deficiency in minerals, the increased levels of hCG or other hormones, the new heightened sense of smell leading to aversions, the excessive saliva, the relaxin of muscles, specifically those of the digestive tract. It is thought that up to 80% of women experience morning sickness in some degree during the first trimester of pregnancy, and for the majority of women, symptoms typically resolve by the beginning of the second trimester.

Ginger

An old staple that many see recommended by Google or loved ones for morning sickness is Ginger. Primarily grown in Asia and tropical regions, Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is a perennial herb belonging to the family Zingiberaceae. Gingerols and shoals are the most active ingredients in ginger. Fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, and powdered or ground are a few forms that ginger is presented. It can be further formed into capsules, tinctures, tablets, or teas. Of course, the gingerols and shogaols concentrations will vary between the different preparation methods. Ginger is great because nearly within the gastrointestinal tract, ginger carries out antiemetic properties by increasing gastric tone & motility and increasing gastric emptying. This is due in part to the anticholinenergic and antiserotonergic actions. Simply put, the properties in ginger help to alleviate the nauseous feeling, which is important to note because some medications only relieve vomiting. Nausea is best described as an uncomfortable sensation in the throat to upper part of the abdomen. Nausea may or may not result in stomach content forcing itself out. Vomiting on the same hand is involuntary, forceful expulsions of contents from the stomach. The two can happen separately. But commonly vomiting is experienced after bouts of nausea.

Morning Sickness & Breastfeeding

This uncomfortableness can leave moms feeling like their body is no longer theirs and no longer in control. Moms who experience morning sickness for a long duration of pregnancy may not feel as excited to breastfeed, as they seek to enjoy the body that is now theirs again. While your feelings are valid, if providing human milk to your infant is the goal, be sure to seek support early on to keep your eye on the goal. For moms who this is not their first child, and for moms that are still breastfeeding during pregnancy, morning sickness may become intensified during this time. It is important to reach out to a healthcare professional if the sickness becomes overwhelming and greatly affects day-to-day activities. 

Palatty PL, Haniadka R, Valder B, Arora R, Baliga MS. Ginger in the prevention of nausea and vomiting: a review. Crit Rev in Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):659–69. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

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