Nausea in Pregnancy with Dr. Nicole Rankins

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Nicole Rankin’s blog (@drnicolerankins):

It was a beautiful sunny day and I was sitting at my desk getting ready to do some work. I had awesome huge windows in my office and I was looking forward to finally accomplishing some tasks while enjoying the sunny view.

And then it hit me. I had to throw up NOW.

I was about 10 weeks pregnant at the time with my second child. Thankfully there was a bathroom across the hall from my office so I made a beeline for the bathroom. I made it to the bathroom! But unfortunately I didn’t make it to the toilet. As soon as I hit the bathroom door, what seemed like everything I’d eaten for my entire life came spewing out of me. Before I knew it vomit was on 3 walls of the bathroom - yes 3 walls - and none of it was in the toilet.

I hope you can’t relate to this story. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But based on how common nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is (it affects 50-80% of pregnant women), chances are you can relate. Read on to learn more about nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and what you can do about it.

Morning Sickness? Yeah Right….

So let’s clear something up right away. It’s called morning sickness because it tends to be worse in the morning. But nausea and vomiting of pregnancy can occur anytime of the day or night.

It Starts Early And Ends (Fairly) Early

We don’t know what causes nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. But we do know that it almost always begins early, around 5 or 6 weeks gestation. It tends to peak at about 9 weeks and for most women has completely resolved by 16 weeks. For about 15% of women, it will continue into the 3rd trimester. And for about 5% of women it will continue until delivery. 

Extreme nausea and vomiting is referred to as hyperemesis gravidarum. There’s not an accepted definition for hyperemesis gravidarum, but most accept that it’s persistent vomiting with accompanying weight loss. With hyperemesis gravidarum, hospitalization, a feeding tube in the stomach, or parenteral nutrition may become necessary. 

It’s Annoying But Not Harmful

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is extremely annoying and can be downright miserable. However, unless it’s a very extreme case and malnutrition becomes a problem, it’s not harmful to you or your baby. In fact, there’s strong evidence that women with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy have a lower miscarriage rate.

What Can I Do That Doesn’t Require Medication?