Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are some of the commonest symptoms of being pregnant; in fact they may be some of the earliest indications that conception has occurred.
An estimated 75 to 80% women experience some amount of nausea and vomiting; what is also known as morning sickness (though for many women it could occur at other specific or non-specific times of the day).
Why vomiting during pregnancy is normal and even healthy
The pregnancy nausea can be horrible for a lot of women and it can be triggered by smells and foods that hitherto caused no problems. Also the feelings can continue throughout the day. It is understood that the heightened sense of smell is what contributes to the nausea.
However, the nausea and throwing up is gone when you are 12 weeks pregnant and by the time the second trimester begins most women feel a lot better.
Morning sickness or vomiting during the pregnancy is thought to be a defense mechanism evolved by the body to ensure that nothing harmful or toxic to the baby is ingested by the mother during this time, which is vital for a baby’s development.
In fact there is even some evidence to indicate that women who have no morning sickness are statistically more likely to have a miscarriage or have a baby with birth defects.
The nausea during pregnancy is also an indicator that the pregnancy hormones are being produced at the levels that they are required to be for a healthy pregnancy. A rise in the levels of estrogen levels and that of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is thought to contribute to the feelings.
There is also evidence to suggest that the pregnancy woman herself may benefit from nausea and morning sickness. Pregnancy is a time of lowered immunity when the body is more vulnerable to infection that can result from bacteria and parasite exposure.
The nausea and sickness in pregnancy is most often seen to be triggered by fish and meat products, which indicates that this is a defense mechanism evolved by the body to protect itself against such infections.
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
Some women experience a form of extreme vomiting during pregnancy – about 1% of pregnant women have such severe vomiting that they may be unable to keep much down and experience weight loss and even dehydration as a result.
This is a very serious condition that, if left untreated, could lead to a variety of complications such as malnutrition, renal failure, hypoglycemia, atrophy, Mallory-Weiss Syndrome, clotting disorders, and may be life threatening in a lot of other ways. The psychological consequences of this condition are also very significant.
This severe form of vomiting in pregnancy should be attended urgently if a woman displays symptoms such as being unable to keep anything down, if she loses more than 5% or more of the weight that she was before she got pregnant.
Hospitalization may be indicated in particular if the vomiting during pregnancy is also accompanied by stomach pain, fever, headaches, dizziness or fainting, fatigue, weakness, diarrhea and so on.