Morning sickness can be debilitating, but for most it only affects the early stages of pregnancy. Two obstetricians discuss the causes and possible cures for morning sickness and what it means for the health of your baby if the sickness persists.
Dr. Pat O'brien: Morning sickness is the feeling of nausea and vomiting that typically occurs in early pregnancy. Typically, where it is often about 12, 13, 14 weeks of pregnancy but in a small proportion, a woman can persist the whole way through. Dr. Zoe Penn: Well morning sickness is probably not very well named. Yes, many women do get it in the morning, when they get up. But a lot of women get it all of sorts all times during the day, and some women have it all day. Dr. Pat O'brien: No body knows for sure what causes morning sickness but almost certainly it's due to the hormones of pregnancy. The hormones that are made by placenta, and the afterbirth and by the baby itself. Dr. Zoe Penn: It usually occurs in the first third of pregnancy. So it's usually gone by about 13 or 14 weeks. And most women it's not disabling but you get the odd women who find it very difficult to go to work, and you get some women who even need to come into hospital for because they get so dehydrated, they just can't keep any even water down. Dr. Pat O'brien: Paradoxically enough, it seems that the more morning sickness there is, the worse a woman feels in early pregnancy, the better the outcome for the pregnancy so the lower the risk of miscarriage statistically speaking and the lower risk of some problems in later pregnancy as well. Dr. Zoe Penn: So there is lots of positive things you can say about having morning sickness. And that's probably because if you restrict peoples calorie intake a little bit during the first third of the pregnancy, then it means they grow a slightly larger placenta and that seems to a good thing for the baby. Dr. Pat O'brien: It's very hard to predict who is going to be affected by morning sickness and in fact if a woman has really bad morning sickness in one pregnancy that doesn't mean that she is going have bad morning sickness the next time. There is no predicting from one pregnancy to the next. Dr. Zoe Penn: If you take two digestive biscuit while you're still horizontal, people often find that very helpful and not to have any fluid until you're actually up and around feeling a little bit stronger. The other things that people often use and are said to be helpful, ginger tea, and also acupuncture, or acupressure bands can often be quite helpful. Now, if women are having a lot of trouble with morning sickness, then usually it's a good idea to see the midwife or the doctor and get advice about what are the medications that are useful and safe in early pregnancy. But it's a good idea to exhaust all the other things before you get to that point.