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GSE Morning Sickness and How to stop it

Morning Sickness

More severe form with excessive nausea and vomiting is called Hyperemesis Gravidarum –

See: Hyperemesis Gravidarum

What is Morning Sickness?

Symptoms, not necessarily confined to the morning - include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, lightheadedness, and dizziness during the early stages of pregnancy. Women with morning sickness may be particularly sensitive to certain odors and foods.

On a positive note –    recent studies have suggested that mothers who have morning sickness have fewer miscarriages;

Causes of Morning Sickness?

No one knows for sure what causes morning sickness - but it is probably a combination of rapidly increasing estrogen and Progesteronelevels, an enhanced sense of smell and excess stomach acids.

One theory is that Progesterone(the dominant hormone during pregnancy) is to blame -Progesteronehas a "relaxing" effect on the muscles in the body, preventing preterm labor by effecting the uterine muscles. However, it also effects other muscles, such as the stomach and intestines. The Progesteronerelaxes the workings of the whole digestive track which makes the elimination of bodily wastes slower, leading to slower stomach-emptying, causing excess stomach acids.

Another more popular theory is that morning sickness is caused by the buildup of hCG(human chorionic gonadotopin) - hCG is produced after implantation takes place and continues to increase until about the 12th week of your pregnancy, at which point the levels of hCG starts to decrease. For many women, but not all, this is also when your morning sickness symptoms will start to decrease.

Women with a high intake of saturated fat during the year prior to pregnancy had a much higher risk of severe morning sickness - than did women eating less saturated fat, according to a Harvard University study,An increase in saturated fat intake of 15 grams per day (E.g. a four-ounce cheeseburger or 3 cups of whole milk) was associated with a greater than threefold increase in the risk of developing morning sickness.

Signorello LB et al, Saturated fat intake and the risk of severe hyperemesis gravidarum. Am J Epidemiol 1996;143 (11 Suppl):S25 [abstract # 97]

What Can I Do To Relieve My Pregnancy Nausea?

OK, so the misery of nausea is not what you might call the joy of motherhood!

–   All you care about now, is what can I do to make it stop. Long and short, there is no one tried and true method that will relieve everyone's case of morning sickness, but below are ideas to try that have worked for others going through the same ordeal:

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) - 25 mg twice daily; Morning sickness Magic is a herbal remedy containing Ginger, Vitamin B-6, Red Raspberry Leaf and Folic Acid. The results of two double-blind, placebo-controlled trials that used 25 mg of pyridoxine every eight hours for three days

Vitamin B6 is effective therapy for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study.

or 10 mg of B6 every eight hours for five days

Pyridoxine for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

suggest that vitamin B6 may be beneficial in alleviating morning sickness. Each study found a slight but significant reduction in nausea or vomiting in pregnant women.

Ginger - in 250 mg. capsules 3x daily can be beneficial. Ginger has long been associated with alleviating nausea. A review of six double-blind trials concluded that ginger is probably an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Borrelli F et al, Effectiveness and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. Obstet Gynecol 2005;105:849–56.

Ginger Tea Recipe

4 cups water

2-inch piece of fresh, ginger root

Honey and lemon slices (optional)

Peel the ginger root and slice it into thin slices. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it is boiling, add the ginger. Cover it and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the tea. Add honey or sugar and lemon to taste.

Avoid heat

Get enough sleep at night / Take naps during the day(but not right after eating) -tiredness plays a big part in morning sickness.

Get out of bed slowly in the morning

Eat plain crackers or dry cereal before you get out of bed in the morning

Open windows /turn on exhaust fans when cooking and after meals – to avoid nausea-promoting smells.

Carry a handkerchief with a few drops lemon essential oil to breathe - when you can't get away from a smell that is bothering you.

Avoid greasy or spicy foods - often cause nausea or heartburn.

Follow your cravings - they will not lead you the wrong way.

Have frequent protein snacks - Low fat meats and seafood, nuts, eggs and beans;

Eat smaller meals every two hours or so – to keep blood sugar levels even; eat meals high in protein and complex carbohydrates;

Eat something salty before a meal

Drink liquids and eat solid foods at separate times - do not drink fluids with your meals;

Drink non caffeinated peppermint and ginger tea

Avoid dehydration - drink small amounts of fluids regularly though the day;

Do not skip meals

Avoid spicy and fried food

Cold food may have less nausea inducing smells associated with them

Utilize accupressure – or wear a Sea-band, a small band to put pressure on the inner wrist .

See instructions on How to apply acupressure, using Acupoint 12.

Acupoint 12 - On the largest crease of the inner wrist, on a line with the thumb, approximately three finger widths up from your hand.


Meridian Tapping Technique – see MTT;

Ensure good liver function – nausea is worse if liver not removing toxins & excess hormones from the blood. During the first trimester there is a surge in the production of three major hormones: estrogen, Progesterone, and HCG. The liver is responsible for breaking down the excess hormones produced during pregnancy.

–    Vitamin CandVitamin K stimulate detoxifying enzymes in the liver.Foods specifically high in Vitamin C include: citrus fruits; lemons, limes, oranges,* strawberries, tomatoes, honeydew, melons, sweet potatoes, green peppers, potatoes

–    Vitamins B6 and B12 - also help the liver to perform optimally.
Foods high in both Vitamin C and Vitamin K include: broccoli, kale,cauliflower, bok choy, brussel sprouts, cabbage, wheatgrass.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) (Severe morning sickness)

One to three percent of pregnant women suffer from an excessive amount of nausea and vomiting that interfere with nutrition and hydration - You should consult a qualified medical professional if you are vomiting more than three times a day, are unable to retain any fluids you drink, and are progressively losing weight. HG can be devastating for the mother and detrimental to the baby when the mother is unable to keep anything down and has to be hospitalized for intravenous feeding.

Check your own symptoms against this list:

✔ Severe and persistent vomiting

✔ Dehydration - signs of dehydration listed below:

Ketones in urine (easy to test yourself with Ketostix - available online)

Decreased blood pressure

Increased heart rate

Pinched skin returns slowly.

Flushed dry skin

Dry eyes

Dry Mouth

Coated tongue

Trouble thinking clearly/confusion

Decreased urination

Dark urine

✔ Loss of weight - anything over 5% of your pre-pregnancy weight

✔ Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)

✔ Constipation

✔ Difficulty eating and drinking

✔ Extreme fatigue

✔ Nausea aggravated by physical temperature extremes

✔ Increase in saliva resulting in difficult swallowing

✔ Slow or inpaired thinking

✔ Decrease in attention span

✔ Blood electrolyte levels abnormal

✔ Decreased Motivation

✔ Decreased physical performance

✔ Increased anxiety

✔ Symptoms aggravated by motions

✔ Poor skin tone

✔ Dry, shrunken tongue

✔ Need for intravenous nutrition

✔ Aching eyeballs, difficulty focusing, rapid vision changes

✔ Boredom

Evidence suggests that the hormone LEPTIN plays a role in severe morning sickness (and PCOS)

Aka N, Atalay S et al, (2006). "Leptin and leptin receptor levels in pregnant women with hyperemesis gravidarum". The Australian & New Zealand journal of obstetrics & gynaecology 46 (4): 274–7;

"Cervero A et al, (2006), The role of the leptin in reproduction". Curr. Opin. Obstet. Gynecol. 18 (3): 297–303.

Zofran for HG?

Used for HG, many women have found prescription Zofran (Ondansetron hydrochloride) effective at helping them stay nourished and hydrated

✔ Zofran is an antiemetic - effective at stopping nausea and vomiting;

✔ Zofran works by blocking the hormone SEROTONIN - which causes vomiting.

Selective serotonin-3 (5HT-3) antagonist - 5HT-3 receptors are mainly found in the small intestine (and in the CNS to a lesser degree). By blocking this receptor you decrease the nausea. The 5HT-3 receptor is responsible for the nausea (seen as a start-up side effect of the SSRIs). Stimulation of the 5HT-3 receptor by the increased serotonin (as a result of the SSRI) causes nausea, which is resolved when this receptor is desensitized (usually within the first month after starting the SSRI).


–   The FDA labels Zofran as a category B - given to medicines that have NOT been studied in pregnant humans, but do not appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies.

–    There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women –and so this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed. Studies on pregnant rats and rabbits given Zofran have revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus.

Possible Side Effects of Zofran

(official Zofran site:

✔ Headache

✔ Diarrhea

✔ Constipation

✔ Fever

✔ Malaise/fatigue

✔ Lightheadedness

✔ Drowsiness

Precautions for Taking Zofran

–   Do not drive while taking Zofran

–   A history of any of the following problems may affect your being able to take Zofran

✔ Stomach/intestinal problems

✔ Liver disease

✔ Allergies

Save Money Buying Generic Zofran

–   Zofran (Ondansetron hydrochloride) is very expensive (~$900 for 30 tablets) -and many insurance companies will not cover the cost of Zofran. Ask your doctor for the generic brand of ondansetron, which is much cheaper.

Alternative Drugs for Nausea

–   Emitrol (no prescription needed)

–   Bendectin - combination of Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and an antihistamine, doxylamine(antihistamines calm the labyrinthine inner ear); Available in Canada as Dicletin or you can buy the ingredients separately and combine them); FDA declared "Safe and effective for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy."

–   Compazine (Prochlorperazine) and Phenergan(Promethazine) -these are phenothiazine-like drugs, meaning they act centrally in the brain to relieve nausea.Technically, they're sedative-antihistamines, like the doxylamine in Bendectin.

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