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Between fifty and ninety-five percent of all pregnant women, as well as some women who use hormonal contraception experience morning sickness, which is also referred to as nausea, vomiting of pregnancy, or pregnancy sickness. The nausea can range from being mild to severe enough to induce actual vomiting. Extreme cases, which are referred to as hyperemesis gravidarum may result in hospitalization to treat dehydration. Although morning sickness can occur at any time throughout the day, it often occurs upon waking since blood sugar levels are at their lowest after a night without food. This condition usually begins in the first month of pregnancy, where it is at its worst between the fifth and seventh weeks and ends around the fourteenth or sixteenth week. At this point in pregnancy, the embryo’s organ systems are being laid down and the embryo is most susceptible to birth defects. Although there is not enough evidence to blame one single cause, there are many theories for possible causes of this condition. Some of these include: an increase in the level of estrogen circulating throughout the blood; low blood sugar, which often occurs during pregnancy; an increase in progesterone which relaxes the muscles in the uterus, preventing early childbirth, but also relaxes the stomach and intestines, leading to excess stomach acid; and an increase in sensitivity to odors, which in return over-stimulates normal nausea triggers. Women who deal with morning sickness are told to avoid foods that are bitter, pungent, or highly-flavored, as well as foods that are likely to contain toxins. Morning sickness offers an evolutionary advantage, since studies have demonstrated that those women with more severe morning sickness are less likely to miscarry or have a child with birth defects.

For those of you who are pregnant and are having problems with morning sickness, there are ways to help. At least half of all pregnant women experience some type of upset stomach at least once during their pregnancy. If the morning sickness is mild, there are a couple things you can do in order to control it. First, avoid any foods or smells that will trigger your stomach to be upset. It’s a good idea to develop certain eating habits which decrease the frequency of morning sickness such as eating small frequent meals and avoiding hunger pains. You should plan on eating a snack high in protein in the evening to regulate your blood sugar and a few crackers or toast in the morning after waking. It’s also a good idea to take a prenatal vitamin daily. If problems consist, try drinking ginger, peppermint, fennel seed, and red raspberry teas regularly. Flat sprite can also help to settle an upset stomach. Some women use acupressure bands, breathing exercises, and aromatherapy to relieve morning sickness. If your morning sickness is severe, you should see a doctor. Your nausea may be connected with other problems or you may be suffering from a type of morning sickness that can endanger your health and cause pregnancy complications. Although the causes are unknown, treatment usually consists of vitamin shots or pills anti-nausea medication, and IVs to re-hydrate you if vomiting is causing serious problems.

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