8 Of 10 Women Experience Morning Sickness
We spoke with Dr. Siobhan Dolan, medical advisor for the March of Dimes and author of "Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby" who shared the results of a new morning sickness survey and tips for pregnant women experiencing symptoms.
Morning sickness is common
A new national survey reveals eight out of 10 women experience symptoms of nausea and vommiting during pregnancy. These symptoms can be difficult for pregnant women and Dr. Dolan says it's important to see your health care provider and have your symptoms addressed. "There are lifestyle modifications that can be recommended and medication if needed."
Not just in the morning
The term morning sickness can be misleading. Dr. Dolan says the symptoms don't always strike women early in the day. "While it's called morning sickness, it can be afternoon sickness or evening sickness; it can happen at any time of the day."
Kate Cleary, who was 29-years-old when she was pregnant with twins, experienced morning sickness in the afternoon around 4pm.
What does morning sickness feel like?
Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and dry-heaving, but morning sickness can also cause anxiety for pregnant women. Cleary said she dreaded the afternoon since she was in bed from 4pm on due to extreme nausea and frequently found herself worrying if she was eating enough nutrient-rich food for her developing babies.
Like most moms-to-be she was focusing on her babies' health rather than her own discomfort. She didn't take anything for her morning sickness because she thought it was just something every woman experienced, but she says she wished she spoked to her doctor about it.
Can morning sickness be dangerous?
"Most pregnancies are healthy and most babies are born healthy so we don't want to be alarmist," Dr. Dolan says, but "there are situations, however, where a woman can be dehydrated or not be gaining adequate weight and that can pose some challenges to the pregnancy outcome."
Dr. Dolan is interested in improving the quality of life for pregnant women by addressing morning sickness symptoms so they feel better, which will hopefully end up leading to a healthy pregnancy outcome both for baby and mom.
Managing morning sickness symptoms
Dr. Dolan says eating small meals frequently and sticking to bland food (nothing spicy or greasy) are other ways to help manage symptoms.
Cleary made sure to eat small meals throughout the day packed with protein and vegetables to get the nutrition needed.
Dr. Dolan suggests having a water bottle with you and taking small sips throughout the day to help stay hydrated.
Keeping up with prenatal vitamins is also important, Dr. Dolan tells us. If the taste or smell of a particular vitamin isn't suiting you, try to switch to another one, she says. Prenatal vitamins have important nutrients like folic acid that can help prevent birth defects.
In addition to speaking with health care providers, women can now turn to a new website for help. Cleary says MorningSicknessUSA.com is a new all-in-one resource for pregnant women with symptom trackers, expert articles, FAQ and tips for managing morning sickness. She recommends pregnant women track their symptoms to identify what their triggers are so they can avoid them.