When a lady starts throwing up or turns up her nose at food that would have made her go gaga before, or even become squeamish at the smell of some foods, everyone starts to wonder, and if they are in a position to ask, they out rightly ask, “Are you pregnant?”
For some women, the sign of nausea is all they need to burst into songs of joy. The deed is done! Feeling nauseous is an almost standard part of the first trimester and sometimes, the whole length of a pregnancy.
Now, it doesn’t mean that morning sickness, evening sickness or all day sickness is welcome or wanted. Imagine your stomach turning at the sight of your favourite food? Not a nice experience, I tell you. I had a touch of morning sickness (I say a touch because I have seen pregnant ladies go through worse), and I was off a lot of foods and fruits that I liked, because even the mere sight of food led to a mouth-full of saliva, and I wasn’t salivating or anything nice. I was preparing to dump whatever was in my stomach.
We all know that morning sickness is not of the best symptom of first trimester pregnancy, but sometime last week, as I was strolling the internet, I found an interesting piece of information and I was wowed at the intricacies of nature and even our very mindful God.
Morning sickness was linked to a significant reduction in the risks of miscarriage, especially in women who have had miscarriages before, according to a newly published study by JAMA Internal Medicine and done by researchers from the National Institutes of Health.
The NIH calls the research, which builds on similar studies, “the strongest evidence to date” that nausea and vomiting in pregnant women are associated with a lower risk of pregnancy loss.
The latest NIH study, which is a result of secondary analysis of data from a separate clinical trial, involved tracking symptoms logged daily by nearly 800 pregnant women. All of the women in the study had at least one previous pregnancy loss, with about one-third of the participants having experienced two losses.
About 84 percent of the women reported nausea, with or without vomiting, by the time they were eight weeks pregnant. Smaller percentages of women had morning sickness earlier in pregnancy — with about 20 percent of them reporting illness in the first two weeks of pregnancy, and more than 50 percent of them reporting nausea or vomiting by five weeks. Sadly, almost a quarter of the pregnancies resulted in miscarriage, many of which occurred before the eight-week mark.
The researchers said that, although there has been speculations that suggest nausea is a sign of a healthy pregnancy, previous evidence has been limited.
“Our study confirms prior research that nausea and vomiting appear to be more than a sign of still being pregnant, and instead may be associated with a lower risk for pregnancy loss,” they wrote.
While the study identified a strong correlation between morning sickness and a lower prevalence of miscarriages, the researchers are still unable to determine why the link exists.
However, some experts have speculated that nausea may encourage a healthier pregnancy by leading women to eat less, thereby reducing the risk of toxic exposure to the developing foetus via food.
Also, the loss of appetite has been shown by more research to lower levels of circulating insulin and encourage growth of the placenta.
I must say, this is exciting news from the world of medical science. However, it is important to emphasise that if a woman isn’t suffering from nausea and vomiting, it doesn’t mean she will miscarry.
However, it’s not time to dance just yet, as experts reacting to the new research, one of whom was Sarah McMullen from the National Childbirth Trust, said that while pregnant women with morning sickness might be relieved to hear they may have a lower chance of miscarriage, they should not ignore the hazards presented by the condition.
“Vomiting can lead to dehydration and weight loss, so women suffering from severe sickness need to keep an eye on their symptoms,” she said.
“If they are unable to keep anything down, they should contact their doctor or midwife immediately.”
Morning sickness can be severe, as is the case with Princess Kate, who was hospitalised in the early stages of her two pregnancies.
Some of the ways to deal with morning sickness is by eating smaller portions of meals or trying a little ginger or lemon; lime is too acidic.
You can also find the foods that work for you. It is important that you eat, because morning sickness can be exacerbated by low blood sugar.
While some women find that eating salty or tart foods, like potato chips and lemonade, can help alleviate nausea, the truth is, nobody knows why certain foods work better than others, not even the pregnant mom, so follow this plan: if you crave a food and can keep it down, eat it.
In dealing with liquids, increase your fluid intake, to make up for your nausea. Add some natural flavours to your water, if plain water isn’t doing the job. Add some pineapple, cucumber and for a zing taste, add some ginger.
While at it, try to drink fluids only between meals; if you must drink during meals, limit the amount to keep your stomach from feeling overly full. You can also use a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes.
So mamas, that morning sickness you are experiencing could be a blessing in disguise.
Godspeed on the pregnancy journey.
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