“Pregnancy is a magical, special time,” is a hard notion to sell to the pregnant person who vomits around the clock thanks to the little miracle growing inside. It’s rather difficult to appreciate anything when your body is working overtime growing and developing your child, your organs are rearranging themselves, and without warning a food or certain smells can have you searching for a bathroom. Like, now.
Not all pregnant people experience nausea. For people who do, it’s difficult to believe that some pregnant people never feel sick – at all – during the gestation period. Most pregnant people feel nauseous and vomit during the first half of the pregnancy, feeling much better for the remainder of the pregnancy. And then there are those people who throw up from day 1 of conception until the baby’s birth day. Dr. Garritano and Christina of Her Wellness Health Center are here to explain.
Why does nausea and vomiting happen during pregnancy? Nausea during pregnancy is related to the increased hormone produced in the placenta, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). You begin producing this hormone when the egg attaches to the uterine wall. Research has found that the higher level of estrogen and HCG in a pregnant person, the more nauseous they are. As miserable as this, research has also found that a higher level of hormones (and nausea) in the first trimester means a decreased risk of miscarriage.
If you go through your first trimester nary a stomach flutter, that does not indicate an unhealthy pregnancy or that your pregnancy is at risk. A study done in 2018 found that two genes involved with the development of the placenta will effect early pregnancy, appetite regulation and nausea. If your mother or sisters were severely ill during their pregnancies, prepare yourself to experience the same.
How do you avoid nausea? The most important thing to do is to stay properly hydrated, which means drinking water around the clock to ensure you and baby are hydrated and replacing lost fluids. Some women feel better if they eat a snack every hour and quickly find a go-to snack to keep with them at all times – crackers, particular granola bar, grapes. There are people who could only eat carrots in the first trimester without feeling nauseous, one who could only keep down peanut butter milkshakes, and another person who felt completely fine unless she ate strawberries. Every pregnancy really is different, even down to the diet.
Nausea during pregnancy is normal, but there comes a point where it is a cause for concern. If you are throwing up three or more times a day and losing 5% or more of your pre-pregnancy weight, Dr. Garritano and Christina will want to determine if you have hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that affects up to 2% of pregnant women. Hyperemesis gravidarum causes severe vomiting and dehydration, and just as it affects your weight, it can also affect your baby’s health. We will want to monitor you closely, make sure that amniotic fluid is at a healthy quantity for baby, and assess if you will need an IV to increase your hydration level.
Call Her Wellness at 203-409-2539 if you cannot keep food or water for more than a day, if you feel overly fatigued, if you seem to be losing weight or if you notice blood in your vomit. While nausea happens in the majority of pregnancies, we want to be sure both you and Baby stay healthy through this truly magical and indeed special times.