Coping with severe morning sickness

Laura Mappas
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Morning sickness. Image: Getty

Most pregnant women experience the nausea of "morning sickness", but in some cases the condition can be so severe it affects the unborn baby.

Sick to the stomach
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a complicated way of saying "vomiting a lot because you're pregnant". We're not just talking about normal first-trimester queasiness, but rather feeling so sick to the stomach that you're unable to keep down any food. This is bad for both mother and baby as neither is getting the nutrients they need.

One in 10,000 women will be unlucky enough to suffer from severe HG, while one in 100 will be affected by the medium variety, which can be treated with medication.

The causes
This is a grey area — while there do seem to be some genetic links, broadly speaking, the severe sickness is a reaction to the flood of pregnancy hormones.

What you can do to ease the quease
Tried and tested morning sickness remedies are your best bet. Used in conjunction with prescribed antiemetics, they may help lessen the sickness.

As far as home remedies go, try these old favourites:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Ginger
  • Lots of sleep
  • Homeopathy
  • Acupressure wristbands
  • Eating small meals often
  • Eating foods that are very hot or very cold
  • Peppermint
  • Dry biscuits
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Cantaloupe and vinegar in hot water.

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