Morning Sickness Making You Miserable?
I am 12-weeks pregnant and just can't eat or drink, not even juices or milk. I'm nauseated all the time, and I throw up about once a day. I'm getting very worried, because instead of gaining weight, I'm losing pounds. Do you know of any herbs or techniques I can try?
As you've learned, morning sickness doesn't necessarily occur in the morning. No one knows exactly what causes this condition -- it may be due to hormonal changes which are thought to cause the stomach to empty at a slower rate. Up to 90 percent of all pregnant women experience morning sickness, but the good news is that the nausea and vomiting usually go away by the 16th week.
I know it's small comfort to learn that in all likelihood you only have a few more weeks to endure. (In some cases, morning sickness continues beyond the first trimester, but let's assume your case will be typical.)
You should be gaining weight as your pregnancy progresses, but most women gain only about two pounds during the first trimester. When your morning sickness ends, you should start to gain about a pound a week -- the average weight gain for the second trimester. And, during your last trimester, you'll probably put on about 11 pounds.
You can combat your morning sickness with ginger, which you can take in any form -- tea, candied slices, powdered, or capsules. (You can get too much of a good thing, though -- to be safe, don't take more than 1,000 mg of ginger daily.) You could try wearing acupressure wristbands, which many people use for motion sickness. The bands press on acupressure points on the inner surfaces of your wrists and can quell nausea. They are available at most drug and health food stores. Proper placement of the wristbands is critical -- follow the package directions carefully so you'll know how to locate the pressure points. You can also try hypnosis and guided imagery.
I assume you've told your obstetrician or midwife about your morning sickness and weight loss. The traditional medical advice for morning sickness is simple: Keep your stomach partially full by eating crackers, dry toast, or dry cereal before you get out of bed in the morning, and try snacking on dry, starchy foods later in the day. Also, sip clear liquids between meals. You're more likely to feel nauseous if your stomach is empty or full.
And finally, because it may be hard for you to eat a well-balanced diet when you feel such an aversion to food, make sure you take a multivitamin that has folic acid and calcium. To prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends increasing the intake of folic acid to 400 microgram per day, beginning at least one month before conception and continuing through the first trimester.
You may have heard that the Food and Drug Administration recently banned supplement manufacturers from marketing their products to pregnant women. The rule was quickly withdrawn when it drew fire from birth defect experts who say such a ban puts unborn babies at risk. I'll talk more about this FDA ruling in a coming Q&A.