Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy occur in more than 80 percent of women. It often starts at week 4 or 5 and disappears around 12 weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes the nausea lasts longer, with some luck during the entire pregnancy. Extreme nausea occurs in more than 1 percent of all pregnancies. Sometimes this requires hospitalization.
Hormones make you feel nauseous
Many women suffer from nausea during pregnancy. This is most severe during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Afterwards, the complaints disappear again in most women, but some continue to suffer from them for a longer period of time. It used to be thought that nausea in pregnant women was just a psychological complaint. Nowadays people know better: nausea is caused by pregnancy hormones. During the first weeks, a lot changes in the female body under the influence of hormones. These changes cause the vomiting center in the brain to be unnecessarily stimulated. This results in nausea and sometimes vomiting. Moreover, the nausea is often much more severe in women who are pregnant with multiples. This is due to the increased HCG in the blood.
It is called pregnancy sickness, but some also call it morning sickness. This is because nausea occurs most often in the morning. This has to do with the empty stomach in the morning and the blood sugar level. As a result, many pregnant women feel most nauseous in the morning. However, nausea can also occur later in the day or even persist throughout the day.
When does the first nausea start?
For many women, nausea is the first sign of pregnancy. This often starts at 4 or 5 weeks of pregnancy. The nausea is worst in the morning, but can also occur later in the day. Starting with a cup of light tea in the morning, preferably before getting up, will prevent the worst nausea. In addition, eating small meals spread throughout the day is better than three large meals. Fatty foods can make nausea worse.
Hyperemesis gravidarum: extremely nauseous
Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that the pregnant woman feels extremely nauseous during pregnancy. This is also called hyperemesis gravidarum. The nausea is so bad that it is difficult to keep food and drinks down. Often the appetite is also lost due to nausea, making eating increasingly difficult. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of morning sickness that is little recognized. It is often thought that the woman is acting out, exaggerating or that it is all in her mind. But this is absolutely not the case. The boundary between normal morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum is often difficult to determine. In fact, one only speaks of severe nausea if the pregnant woman is admitted to hospital due to dehydration symptoms. This occurs in more than 1 percent of all pregnancies.
Admission to hospital
In case of severe nausea it is sometimes necessary for the pregnant woman to be admitted to hospital. This is the case when eating is no longer or almost impossible. In particular, keeping food inside is the biggest stumbling block. The woman may also vomit from just a sip of water. This causes dehydration that can be serious. In the hospital, the stomach is allowed to rest for 12 to 24 hours. Drinking water or other clear liquids is tolerated. In addition, an IV will be inserted to provide the body with the necessary nutrients and/or fluid. In addition, medications can be administered through the IV to combat nausea. Then you will start eating small amounts of food. In most cases, the complaints disappear again in the second half of the pregnancy. Sometimes, however, the complaints persist throughout the entire pregnancy. In severe cases it is impossible for the woman to eat and drink normally during pregnancy. All smells can cause nausea, even smells that have nothing to do with food. The nausea can be so severe that vomiting occurs up to 50 times a day. Sometimes hospitalization is necessary for the entire pregnancy. Some women are forced to choose an abortion. And for some women things are so bad physically and psychologically that a miscarriage follows. Hyperemesis gravidarum should never be underestimated.
Not nauseous means a miscarriage
There are also women who do not feel nauseous at all during pregnancy, or only a little bit occasionally. It is sometimes thought that this is a harbinger of a miscarriage. On the one hand, this is possible. When the fetus dies, the HCG and other hormones in the blood decrease. It is precisely these hormones that cause nausea. Many women who have a miscarriage notice a reduction in pregnancy nausea in advance. But having little nausea does not always mean an impending miscarriage. Some women simply react much less strongly to the hormones. And other women naturally produce less HCG, while still delivering a healthy, full-term baby.
- HCG during pregnancy