Morning sickness in pregnancy

It's a common pregnancy discomfort, but how can you deal with morning sickness and how long is it likely to last?

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Never mind cravings – sometimes feeling the desire to eat anything at all is a real achievement when you’re pregnant. If it’s all you can do to nibble on a piece of toast, it’s likely you’re suffering from morning sickness.

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Despite the name, morning sickness can strike at any time of day. However, according to some experts, it can actually help protect your developing baby.

A study conducted by Cornell University concluded that morning sickness helps protect you and your foetus from food-borne illnesses and shields your unborn baby from potentially harmful chemicals.

Why do I get morning sickness?

No one knows exactly what causes morning sickness, though it’s thought to be a combination of hormonal changes, fatigue and your new hypersensitive sense of smell.

For many women, morning sickness disappears once they reach week 14 or 15, and they slowly begin to feel that pregnancy ‘bloom’.

Coping strategies

Stress can often make the situation worse, so try not to worry about being sick.

You might want to try coping strategies such as visualisation and relaxation. And don’t worry about what you’re eating – or rather, not eating – either.

“Getting anxious will just make things worse,” explains Lynn Alford-Burow, nutritionist at The Nutrition Coach. “Aim for five small meals to avoid the problems with nausea, energy dips and indigestion.”

Many women say they feel worse when they’re tired, which is a sure-fire way of your body telling you that you’re overdoing it. Have as many early nights as possible, and take catnaps during the day if you can.

Try to eat and drink

When you’re battling morning sickness, it doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you manage to get something down you to boost your blood-sugar levels. Stick to meals that are easy to prepare, or get your partner to do the cooking. If there are certain foods you can’t face, then don’t force yourself.

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Hot water with grated ginger or lemon juice is a good way to increase your fluid intake, and if heartburn is a problem, avoid eating a heavy meal right before bed and keep spices to a minimum.

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