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How to Handle Nausea During Pregnancy

Friday, August 08, 2014

You’re having a baby! You must be so happy! You must be so excited! You must be so… nauseous?

Unfortunately for many women pregnancy and nausea go hand in hand. Dr. Jessica Maute at Novant Health Lake Manassas OB/GYN has helped many patients deal with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. She understands that “morning sickness” can be more than just a nuisance, and works to help her patients prevent and treat pregnancy-induced nausea.

“There is no easy answer about what causes nausea during pregnancy,” Dr. Maute shared. “Some have suggested women have a psychological predisposition to nausea, but other research suggests it’s much more biological. Aversions to certain foods, for instance, could be an evolutionary adaptation that keeps women from eating foods that could potentially hurt an unborn baby.

“There’s also evidence that nausea and vomiting are linked to the rise in level of hormones including estrogen and hCG, a hormone released from the placenta,” Dr. Maute added. “That might be why nausea is worse for many women early in pregnancy when these levels are rising quickly.”

Regardless of the cause, persistent or severe nausea, also called hyperemesis gravidarum, can be a nine-month nuisance. “Eating small, frequent meals and avoiding stimuli that can trigger nausea are some basic ways to feel a bit better,” Dr. Maute suggested. “Meals with protein are more likely to alleviate nausea than carbohydrates or fats. You can also try ginger capsules or anti-nausea wristbands.”

Dr. Maute says if nausea is causing weight loss or significantly disturbing your life, you should tell your doctor. “In the most severe cases, medication can help,” she said. “The first medication most patients should try is vitamin B6 plus doxylamine, both of which can be purchased over-the-counter at your pharmacy. These are safe during pregnancy.”

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