What causes nausea during pregnancy?

Nausea and vomiting are a very common symptom of pregnancy. Approximately 75-80% of pregnant women develop it during the first trimester. It poses no danger to the mother or baby, except in cases of intense and persistent vomiting, known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which is estimated to affect 0.3 – 2% of pregnant women.

The intensity of these symptoms varies greatly from one woman to another and can be so irritating that they prevent many daily activities from being carried out. Some women experience nausea more intensely in the morning, which is why it is commonly known as morning sickness, although in reality it can occur throughout the day.

What are the causes?

Exactly what they are due to is not known, but leading theories point to a combination of several factors, especially those hormonal changes along with increased sensitivity and stress.

In the past, it was also attributed to a psychological or emotional origin, for example, as a reaction to an unwanted pregnancy, but this theory is currently not supported.

hormones

During pregnancy, major hormonal changes occur, especially human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This hormone, produced in the placenta, increases rapidly in the first few months of pregnancy and is believed to be the main cause of nausea and vomiting typical of pregnancy.

In the morning, there are usually spikes of HCG in the blood, which is why many women experience symptoms worse in the morning and improve throughout the day.

In multiple pregnancies where more HCG is produced, nausea and vomiting are more common. The same occurs in diseases that present higher levels of HCG, such as choriocarinoma, which shows the possible relationship between levels of this hormone and symptoms.

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It has also been linked to increases in other hormones, such as progesterone. estradiol and leptin.

Greater sensitivity

During pregnancy there is an increased sensitivity to smell. Some odors can directly trigger the gag reflex, which can be another factor in pregnancy nausea.

The stomach and intestinal tract also become more sensitive during the early stages of pregnancy.

Stress

Many women experience stress in early pregnancy, especially primiparous women, whether because of family, work, or personal environment. Some researchers believe that stress may contribute to a greater predisposition to nausea and vomiting.

How long do the symptoms last?

There is no strict beginning and end, but they usually occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. They usually appear around the sixth week and disappear after the twelfth week, when hgc levels begin to drop, although there are women who suffer from nausea for longer, even up to the sixth or seventh month.

Is it dangerous for the baby?

nausea and vomiting they are not dangerous for the baby as long as adequate nutrition and hydration are provided. Even in severe cases that require treatment, it is unlikely to cause harm. That’s why it’s very important to pay attention to your food and fluid intake.

If vomiting is very persistent and intense, which is known as hyperemesis gravidarum, you need to see a doctor. In some cases, intravenous rehydration may be necessary. Some symptoms of dehydration are very rare urination and very dark urine.

If nausea is accompanied by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood, or fever, see a doctor as soon as possible.

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spikes

To maintain a correct diet and reduce nausea, it is recommended to eat little and often without skipping any meal so that the stomach does not become empty. In the morning, before waking up, you can eat a little in bed, rest for 15-30 minutes, and then slowly get up.

You should also drink fluids in small amounts frequently throughout the day to maintain good hydration. Drinking before or after eating should be avoided.

Many women feel the need to sleep more than usual during the first trimester of pregnancy, and tiredness often makes nausea worse. So rest is also very important.

Some natural therapies, such as acupuncture, relieve many women and are not dangerous for pregnancy. Some studies have even found acupuncture to be as effective as drug treatments. In any case, drugs should never be used over-the-counter for nausea.

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