Helping you make better health choices

In shops now or delivered to your home from only £3.50 an issue!

Subscribe!

Morning sickness

MagazineSeptember 2005 (Vol. 16 Issue 6)Morning sickness

The nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP) - 'morning sickness' - is common in early pregnancy

The nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP) - 'morning sickness' - is common in early pregnancy. Thought to affect 70-85 per cent of pregnant women (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2003; 4: CD000145), and often accompanied by tiredness and lethargy, these symptoms usually clear after the first three months, but can, in some cases, last throughout the pregnancy.

The following factors have been suggested as playing contributory roles: low blood pressure and blood sugar levels; hormonal changes; emotional ambivalence towards pregnancy; and vitamin and mineral deficiencies (especially iron and vitamin B6). Eating too much refined, greasy or spicy foods is also blamed. Also, pressure on the stomach from the growing uterus can interfere with proper digestion, and this may be another cause of the condition.

Despite the sheer volume of women who suffer from the condition, morning sickness is not well understood and often poorly treated (J Perinat Neonatal Nurs, 2004; 18: 312-28).

A number of drugs can also cause nausea and vomiting as side-effects, including antibiotics, NSAIDs, thiazides, oestrogens and - ironically - iron. If you're on any other drugs, check out their side-effects.

Some health practitioners believe morning sickness is more common in women carrying twins or triplets, but there is no conclusive evidence to say that this is so.

What doctors tell you
Although there is no currently approved medication for morning sickness, doctors may suggest taking antacids, sugar solutions or antihistamines, all of which can be purchased over the counter.

There are also drugs used to manage nausea and vomiting by acting either directly on the digestive tract or on the brain. Drugs that act on the digestive tract increase intestinal contractions and accelerate food transit. Centrally acting agents act on the vomiting centre (chemoreceptor trigger zone; CTZ) in the brainstem to block the nerve impulses that trigger nausea and vomiting. These include dopamine antagonists, anticholinergics and antiserotonin agents (ondansetron).

Severe vomiting is dangerous for both mother and baby, as vital minerals and nutrients can be lost through dehydration. Symptoms include dizziness, thirst, passing less urine than usual (or none at all) or passing dark urine. A midwife or GP can take a simple urine (ketone) test to confirm the degree of dehydration. In extreme cases, the patient may need to go to hospital, where fluids can be given through an intravenous drip.

Isabel Atherton


Loss of taste from a drug cocktail?

Infected glands

You may also be interested in...

Sign up for free today

Sign up now to get your FREE 17-point Plan to Great Health

Free membership gives you access to our latest news reports, use of our community area, forums, blogs, readers' health tips and our twice-weekly
e-news letter.

WDDTY Recommends

Latest Tweet

About

Since 1989, WDDTY has provided thousands of resources on how to beat asthma, arthritis, cancer, depression and many other chronic conditions.

Start by looking in our fully searchable database, active and friendly community forums and the latest health news.

Positive SSL Wildcard

Facebook Twitter

Most Popular Health Website of the Year 2014

© 2010 - 2016 WDDTY Publishing Ltd.
All Rights Reserved