Will My Morning Sickness Hurt My Baby?

I'm in my ninth week and haven't been able to eat very well. I've been nauseous and vomiting quite often. Will this hurt the baby? My doctors have given me medication, but it doesn't help.

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I feel for you. Living with that constant queasiness is so trying. Fortunately, most pregnant women start to see some improvement around 12 to14 weeks, when the particular hormones that are thought to contribute to the nausea level off.

As long as you can keep some food and fluids down (by nibbling and sipping all day long), you and your baby are probably OK. If you can, take a couple of bites of a high-protein food every few hours, which helps stabilize blood sugars. At the very least, try to get in some sugar and salt by sucking on Popsicles and sipping broth. Don't worry too much about nutrition at this point -- you just want to keep down calories. Often when you can keep down one bite and give yourself a little time, you can then keep down a second bite. As the nausea improves, you can eat more healthful foods.

Next: Lean on your support system

Ginger tea works wonders for some (pour one cup of boiling water over several slices of fresh gingerroot. Let steep five minutes and then sip slowly). An excellent resource is the book No More Morning Sickness (Plume), by Miriam Erick.

If you're throwing up constantly and feeling weak, dizzy, have a headache or have concentrated (dark yellow) urine, you need to phone your caregiver right away. These are signs of dehydration, which will require a trip to the hospital for IV fluids. In the meantime, call in your whole support system. You need to make sure you're getting enough rest (fatigue makes the nausea worse). Let someone else do the shopping and cooking while the nausea is at a peak. And get emotional support from your partner, family members and friends -- anybody who is sympathetic. In just a few short weeks you'll probably start feeling better and can begin to really enjoy the pregnancy.

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