Lets’ talk pregnancy with One Mama Midwife: Surviving the First trimester
Even though you don’t look pregnant from the outside, your body is going through changes in every system in your body to accommodate your growing baby. One of these changes that women experience is morning sickness.
Morning sickness is nausea and/or vomiting during pregnancy, about 85% of women will have some morning sickness throughout their pregnancy. Morning sickness usually peaks at 9 weeks gestation and subsides by 20 weeks gestation. Although vomiting is a concerning symptom of morning sickness, nausea can severely adversely impact women’s quality of life and ability to complete daily tasks.
Extreme nausea and vomiting is called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), this is defined as consistent vomiting that leads to fluid, electrolyte and acid base imbalance, nutritional deficiency and weight loss. HG occurs in 0.3-1.5% of pregnancies and often requires multiple hospitalisations throughout the pregnancy.
- Eating small regular nutritious meals throughout the day.
- Eat some jatz or fruit tingles to settle your stomach before getting out of bed in the morning.
- Eating before feeling hungry.
- Sipping on small amounts of water or sucking on ice chips. Sometimes drinking warm water goes down better than cold water.
- Ginger (tea, biscuits, confectionary)
- Acupressure (Sea bands) and acupuncture
- Nerve stimulation
- Make the most of your best time of the day – eat well when you feel best or whenever you feel hungry
- If the smell of hot food makes you feel ill – try having cold food instead.
- If possible, avoid cooking and ask for help from friends and family
- Lie down when nauseated.
Frequent vomiting can harm your teeth. To protect them, brush regularly but not within an hour of vomiting. Rinsing your mouth with weak bicarbonate of soda solution after vomiting or chewing sugar free gum will help protect them.
HG will require hospitalisation to rehydrate with IV fluids. Maintaining hydration is more important than nutrition in the short term. If you are unable to keep fluids down for a period more than 1-2 hours, it is important to call your hospital’s maternity unit. The severity of your nausea and vomiting will determine if you need lifestyle changes or medications in combination with regular hospitalisation for rehydration to improve your HG.
Often friends and family notice your morning sickness and use this to identify that you are pregnant (this happened to me at work with pregnancy number 4). I am a big believer in normalising telling friends and family that you are pregnant before the “12 week rule”.
Whether the news of the pregnancy is exciting, scary, upsetting or surprising it is important that you have support, especially when dealing with morning sickness during the first trimester. If the pregnancy does not end up continuing, it is even more important that you have a good support network to help you through the grief of having a miscarriage. It is becoming increasingly common for women to share their pregnancies before 12 weeks and talk about miscarriage, so that we can all support each other. It is completely up to you who and when you share your news, but it can make a massive difference to your mental and physical health to confide in at least one friend or family member and throw out the “12 week rule”. Let’s normalise supporting one another and not suffering in silence.
Remember, the first trimester and morning sickness don’t last forever. Try to focus on all the amazing and exciting moments of pregnancy. You’ve got this mama!
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