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human embryo at 5 weeks and 3 days

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A front view of the embryo: the head region is bent downward so that the central nervous system can be seen. The tubelike structure in the head region is the developing spinal cord. The tail of the embryo is curving upward.

Morning sickness is one of the most common and least welcome symptoms of pregnancy.

Feeling sick and vomiting are common symptoms of early pregnancy. There are various theories to explain why morning sickness occurs; one is that it's due to the rising levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) hormone during the first trimester. Morning sickness, unfortunately, doesn't only happen before breakfast; in fact it can happen at any time of day and more than once in 24 hours.

One of the greatest challenges of early pregnancy is keeping it a secret from colleagues. If you have to keep rushing to the bathroom to vomit, people are likely to become suspicious. They may also notice that you look unwell or are more tired than usual. To help you handle this, you may want to tell one or two colleagues or your boss. You could ask them to keep it a secret for the time being. It's a good idea to keep some face wipes, toothpaste, and a toothbrush in your drawer, together with any snacks that you have found help to ease your nausea.

If you're finding it difficult to handle your vomiting, or are worried you are vomiting too much, seek advice from your doctor. Rarely, the sickness can become more serious and require medical treatment (see You are 8 Weeks and 3 Days).

Focus On... Health

Ease the nausea

Unfortunately there is no definitive cure-all for morning sickness, though you could try the following natural remedies:

  • Eat little and often-having low blood-sugar levels may make the nausea worse so even if you feel sick, eating small snacks may help.
  • Try eating a plain cookie or cracker first thing in the morning before you get out of bed.
  • Stick to bland foods such as cereal or toast and avoid eating fatty and oily foods.
  • Try having foods and drinks that contain ginger such as gingersnaps or ginger tea.
  • Drink plenty if you are vomiting, to avoid becoming dehydrated. Put a bottle of water in the fridge and sip it gradually throughout the day. If you feel you are getting dehydrated, for example if your urine is getting very concentrated, you may need to see a doctor.

If the nausea or vomiting is too much to bear, then consult your doctor, who will be able to prescribe anti-nausea medications.

As A Matter Of Fact

Ginger has been shown in studies to help with pregnancy-induced nausea.

One study found that the decrease in nausea happened four days after including ginger in the diet daily; so don't give up if you don't get relief right away. Try crystallized ginger chews or tasty ginger cookies; drink soothing ginger tea; and try cooking with fresh ginger. Be aware that most ginger ale does not contain real ginger, so is unlikely to ease nausea.

ginger cookies for morning sickness

Ginger contains properties that help to ease nausea. Put a plate of cookies on your bedside table, and nibble them before you get out of bed.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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