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It's unclear what causes this discomfort and disruption, but Dr. Milena Forte, a family physician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, says morning sickness is believed to be a result of changing hormones in the early stages of pregnancy. She also says every woman will experience morning sickness differently -- even from pregnancy to pregnancy.
Many women will typically begin experiencing nausea when they're about six to seven weeks pregnant, and will notice an abatement of symptoms around the 11-to-12-week mark.
However, some women will feel nauseated throughout their entire pregnancies. The good news is that most cases of morning sickness are normal and are not harmful to you or your baby.
Try some of the following remedies for morning sickness to help keep your stomach settled so you can get on with your day.
1. Eat more carbs
Finally, a good excuse to load up on your favourite carb-rich foods! One of the most common remedies for morning sickness is eating plain crackers. Keep a box in your bedside table so you can have a handful before you even get out of bed in the morning. If you experience your nausea later in the day, potato chips may do the same job.
2. Sip ginger tea
Dr. Forte suggests including more ginger in your diet to ease nausea. It's easy to toss ginger into stir-fries at suppertime, but in the morning your best bet is ginger tea. Grate ginger into very hot water, let it steep for a few minutes and then sip it slowly.
3. Avoid strong smells and triggers
If certain food smells or other odours nauseate you, avoid them. Consider asking someone else to cook supper so that your stomach isn't unsettled before eating. It may also be helpful to eat cold foods, as they don't smell as strongly as hot dishes. If it's warm enough outside, open your windows and let the fresh air flow in, even when you're not cooking.
4. Eat six to eight small meals per day
Don't overload your stomach with too much food at once. Give it a chance to digest what you're throwing at it, and eat consistently throughout the day. Bonus: Eating more small meals may also help you avoid heartburn, too.
5. Avoid too much motion
Like a child with motion sickness, it may be too much movement that is setting you off. Dr. Forte suggests avoiding elevators and car rides, if possible, particularly during the time of day you find yourself most nauseated.
6. Stay hydrated
To help keep food down, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommends avoiding fluids at mealtimes and immediately before and after eating. Instead, stay hydrated by drinking small amounts of fluid consistently throughout the day and every time you get up in the night to visit the bathroom.
7. Take medication to settle your stomach
When nothing else seems to be working, most women can try taking dimenhydrinate (Gravol). It will settle your stomach, but it will also make you drowsy.
Diclectin is another option, says Dr. Forte. It's designed specifically for women experiencing nausea during pregnancy. It contains B vitamins and anti-nausea medication, which -- similar to dimenhydrinate -- will cause drowsiness. Ask your physician if it may work for you.
When to consult your doctor
If none of these remedies for morning sickness are working for you, your doctor may be able to prescribe a medication that will help. Always speak to your doctor before trying a new remedy or medication.
It's also important to call your doctor if you are experiencing morning sickness to a degree that you can't keep anything down at all, including liquids. "Nausea is often a sign of a healthy pregnancy, and is not usually a concern unless women are becoming severely dehydrated," says Dr. Forte.
Most morning sickness tends to ebb around the 11-to-12-week mark, which is about the same time many women will have an appointment with their doctors. Be sure to discuss your morning sickness with your physician so she knows how it's affecting you.