Morning sickness is characterised by nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It usually occurs during the early months. About 60% of pregnant women suffer from morning sickness at some stage of their pregnancies, and some actually vomit. Morning sickness is most common between weeks 5 and 8 of pregnancy, but can persist to week 16.

Morning sickness gained its name because the most common symptom is a feeling of nausea upon arising. There are no established causes of the illness, although many believe that hunger makes a significant contribution. Metabolic changes resulting from pregnancy have also been suggested as causal factors. In unusual cases pernicious vomiting can develop in pregnancy and should not be confused with the relatively mild symptoms of morning sickness. Although this affects only one woman in 200, it can cause dehydration and weight loss and treatment for it must be sought.

The treatment of morning sickness involves a number of approaches. A cup of tea and a slice of toast eaten in bed before arising is sufficient to allay the symptoms in many women. Peppermint or raspberry tea are also recommended. Raspberry tablets can be substituted if preferred. Most effective of all is ginger, either fresh or in tablet form, but it should not be taken in the last few months of pregnancy as it may cause colic in the unborn child.


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