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The two greatest words you've heard recently: You're pregnant! The two worst: morning sickness. This stomach-turning misnomer '- it can actually strike at any time and last all day '- covers a range of symptoms, from heartburn or nausea and occasional vomiting to extreme vomiting. Morning sickness is linked to the increased hormone activity of early pregnancy, popping up as early as the fifth week and sometimes lasting up to the 12th or 13th week '- or, rarely, through to the bitter end.
No, You're Not Alone!
About 60 to 80 percent of pregnant woman experience symptoms of morning sickness, so there's no need to worry. That queasiness means you're producing all the right natural hormones to maintain a healthy pregnancy. In fact, research shows that women who experience morning sickness may have a lesser chance of miscarriage.
5 Tips to Help You Cope
Nausea's no fun, but there are plenty of ways to ease it. Here are some of the simplest and most effective:
- Eat small meals. Eat frequent, small meals that are high in carbohydrates. Pack a cereal bar, low-fat granola or crackers in your purse when you're on the go.
- Have breakfast in bed. Eat before you actually get up in the morning.
- Put on the pressure. Try acupressure wristbands and other treatments.
- Wetter is better. Keep yourself well hydrated.
- Avoid irritants. Stay away from greasy and spicy foods, strong smells, alcohol and tobacco.
Is Morning Sickness Risky Business?
Although morning sickness is normal, talk to your health care provider if you experience prolonged and severe vomiting, called hyperemesis gravidarum. Not only can hyperemesis make you miserable, it also puts you at risk of severe dehydration, which actually exacerbates vomiting and can lead to kidney failure. Your practitioner can help you figure out whether your nausea is just a nuisance or a real problem.