The archetypal and age old first pregnancy symptom would have to be the woman rushing to part with a recent meal and in fact nausea and/or vomiting in pregnancy is among the most common pregnancy symptoms.
A pregnant woman may well be concerned about throwing up during pregnancy, worried that the baby is not getting the kind of nourishment and sustenance that it needs during pregnancy. But can vomiting in pregnancy really harm the baby?
Why nausea and vomiting during pregnancy occurs
Nausea happens to half of all pregnant women and is known to be associated with elevated levels of estrogen in the body. The alteration of a womanâ€™s sense of taste and smell, the cravings and the aversions she develops at this time contribute to the problem.
Elevated levels of progesterone relax the muscles of the intestines and the stomach which is another reason for pregnancy vomiting.
Increase of certain liver enzymes also increases levels of bilirubin, which can further add to the problem.
Why vomiting during pregnancy may actually be good for the mother and baby
There is a theory about the morning sickness (or indeed pregnancy related sickness at pretty much any time of day or gestation).
It is thought that this is an evolved trait that helps to protect the expectant mother and her unborn baby from any toxins that the mother may accidentally ingest. The fact that the vulnerability of the fetus highest at about 3 months gestation and that vomiting during pregnancy is also at its worst at this time, tends to corroborate this theory.
There is also the fact that pregnancy nausea or revulsion tends to relate to those foods which have a higher likelihood of being contaminated or which may prove toxic for a pregnant woman and her fetus. These are some of the reasons why research has shown that pregnancy outcomes when women experienced mild or moderate morning sickness were better than when women experienced no nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Women who have no morning sickness are actually likelier to miscarry a pregnancy or to have babies with birth defects when compared to women who had at least some amount of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
This evolved trait is also seen to be beneficial for the mother. Pregnancy is a time when the bodyâ€™s defense mechanisms are lower and the immune system is suppressed. This makes a woman more vulnerable to infections. The nausea and morning sickness can effectively protect a woman against food borne illnesses, particularly those spread by meat and fish.
Why medication to stop vomiting in pregnancy may not be a good idea
Research has found that morning sickness has no negative impact on a fetus such as nutritional impairment or stunting of growth or any sort of defects. In fact it is seen to have the beneficial impacts spoken of above. Anti nausea medication is not advisable since they may cause a woman to make unwise food choice in pregnancy.
So unless a woman has an extreme form of vomiting during pregnancy called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which causes weight loss, dehydration and other problems, there is really no need for treatment other than natural and home remedies.