13:02 03 June 2009
Does the smell of prawns have you running to the loo? Does your stomach churn every time you think of fried eggs? Coffee make you want to vomit? You may well be suffering from pregnancy sickness. This article also appears on www.bbc.co.uk/parenting/having_a_baby
If this is the case, don't think of it just as 'morning sickness'. Feeling sick during pregnancy can happen at any time of the day " though early in the morning is a common time for it to occur.
It's not at all unusual for a woman in early pregnancy to wake up feeling nauseous, and to make an early morning dash to the loo to throw up.
Feeling ill can start even before you miss your first period, and while most women experiencing sickness find it gets better over time, it's typical to feel much better after three months. Not everyone finds it clears up, though, and a few unlucky women find it goes on longer, with a very small number experiencing it for their entire pregnancy.
It's believed pregnancy hormones cause the sickness. Under the influence of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), these circulate through the body from conception onwards, affecting all organs and preparing your body to sustain the new life.
One of the effects is nausea, and while it's a nuisance and at worst, a severely uncomfortable condition that can lead to undernourishment and constant tiredness and weakness, there could be a good reason for it to happen.
One theory is that it's your body protecting the fetus from harmful substances. Women who suffer bad sickness including vomiting are less likely to miscarry, and the sickness generally stops when the growing baby has developed its major organs.
Is the body 'starving' the mother so more nutrients go into the development of the placenta, and the baby has a better chance of being well-nourished later on?
Ask your doctor or midwife for other tips. If you feel your sickness is affecting your overall health; if you find you can hardly keep any food or drinks down, or you become extremely tired, then seek help. The condition 'hyperemesis gravidarum', which means extreme pregnancy sickness, might even mean a hospital stay " to maintain your fluid levels, and to prevent dehydration. Drug treatment is available in some cases. Pregnancy sickness, even severe sickness, is not associated with any harm to your baby.
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