For some women, the nausea that can strike during the first trimester is worse in the mornings, maybe because the stomach is empty at that time of day. But ask anyone who's had morning sickness, and she'll tell you: It can hit any time it wants. It often starts during the fifth or sixth week (that is, three to four weeks after you miss your period — we describe how doctors calculate the timing of pregnancy in Chapter 2) and goes away, or at least becomes much less severe, by the end of the 11th or 12th week. It can last longer, though, particularly in women who are expecting twins or more.
If you're experiencing nausea, we sympathize. Even when nausea doesn't actually cause you to vomit, it can be extremely uncomfortable and truly debilitating. Certain odors — from foods, perfumes, or musty places — can make it worse. Look in the nearby sidebar, "Ways to keep nausea at bay," for recommendations on how to minimize morning sickness. If your queasiness gets out of control — if you experience weight loss, if you find that you can't keep down food or liquids, or if you feel dizzy or faint — call your doctor.
If you're really bothered by the nausea, talk to your doctor about over-the-counter or prescription medications. Your doctor may suggest or prescribe one of the following:
✓ Vitamin B6: Some evidence suggests that 50 milligrams of vitamin B6 three times a day can reduce nausea.
A combination of vitamin B6 and the antihistamine doxylamine (Unisom — one pill at nighttime, check before you buy because some generics substitute a different medication) may also be helpful. This combination is similar to the medication Benedictin, which was removed from the market due to completely unsubstantiated claims of an increase in birth defects. Although Benedictin still isn't available, scientists don't believe any longer that it's teratogenic (causes birth defects). Take time to talk to your doctor about trying vitamin B6, with or without doxylamine. Remember that doxylamine is marketed as a sleep aid, so it will most likely make you pretty drowsy.
✓ Ondansetron (Zofran): Some women find relief for extreme nausea with or without vomiting from this prescription medication. Although ondansetron hasn't been extensively studied in pregnancy, we know of no reports of an increase in birth defects associated with this medication.
✓ Metoclopramide (Reglan): Your doctor can actually administer this drug by continuous infusion under the skin through a device known as a subcutaneous pump. The advantage of this method is that for those women who really can't even swallow a pill because they're so nauseous, they don't have to.
Occasionally, the nausea and vomiting are so severe that you develop a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. The symptoms include dehydration and weight loss. If you develop hyperemesis gravidarum, you may need to be given fluids and medications intravenously.
ir If you're less than six weeks pregnant, you can take folic acid alone instead of your prenatal vitamin. Folic acid is the main supplement that you need early in ir^ll your pregnancy, and it's much less likely to upset your stomach than the multivitamin you normally take during pregnancy. Check with your doctor for the correct dose for you.
You may hear some women say that morning sickness is a sign that you're experiencing a "normal" pregnancy, but that claim is a myth — and so is the reverse. If you're not having morning sickness, or if it suddenly disappears, don't worry that your pregnancy isn't normal; just enjoy your good fortune. Similarly, you may hear that the severity of your queasiness indicates whether you're having a girl or a boy. But that's also a myth, so don't buy those pink or blue outfits just yet (and turn to Chapter 2 for even more myths about determining the sex of your bundle of joy).
Above all, don't compound the problem by worrying about it. The nausea is harmless — to you and the baby. Your optimal weight gain for the first three months is only 2 pounds. Even losing weight probably isn't a big problem.
Was this article helpful?
A Hard Hitting, Powerhouse E-book That Is Guaranteed To Change The Way You Look At Your Health And Wellness... Forever. Everything You Know About Health And Wellness Is Going To Change, Discover How You Can Enjoy Great Health Without Going Through Extreme Workouts Or Horrendous Diets.