It is often called 'morning sickness', but in fact pregnancy sickness can occur at any time of the day and more than half of all pregnant women will suffer with it. Usually the symptoms are fairly mild, and some women will feel nauseous without vomiting.
Pregnancy sickness can start very early in pregnancy, and most women find that by the end of the first three months they are starting to feel better. For a minority, sickness can continue throughout the pregnancy.
What causes pregnancy sickness?
It is thought that pregnancy sickness is caused by the hormonal changes in the body. Although you may feel awful, it has been suggested that this sickness may actually be a good thing as a natural part of the body's defence mechanism against ingesting toxins during pregnancy. Morning sickness doesn't have any adverse effect on your baby and it is only when women are so ill that they lose weight that it may affect the baby's weight.
Should I seek medical help?
You should not take anti-sickness medication to help with the symptoms of pregnancy sickness unless you have discussed this first with your doctor. A doctor will usually recommend diet or lifestyle changes to relieve the symptoms first, but if these are not working then you may be prescribed an anti-sickness medication that is safe for use during pregnancy. You should seek medical advice if you are being sick more than three times a day or are losing weight, if you think you may be getting dehydrated and are finding it hard to keep anything down, or you are in any way worried about your condition.
If the sickness is very severe, it can lead to dehydration and weight loss. This severe sickness is called hyperemesis gravidarum,and women who suffer with it may be offered some form of treatment and may even need to be admitted to hospital if they become very weak. This is rare, as hyperemesis gravidarum affects around 1 in 200 women. If you are feeling very sick and unwell, your doctor may suggest a urine to see if you are very dehydrated or becoming malnourished and suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum.
Sickness remedies from Contented Baby members