Getting through the day can be hard enough, but throw in pregnancy nausea at night, and it becomes near impossible.
Nausea during pregnancy is generally referred to as morning sickness, but it can happen any time of day or night.
The term “morning sickness” doesn’t fully describe what you may experience.
Some women only have nausea and vomiting in the morning hours, but sickness with pregnancy can happen at any time of the day or night.
Not only does it make sleeping a challenge, but you might get up to vomit on more than one occasion during the evening hours.
The severity of sickness varies from woman to woman. You may feel mildly queasy unless you keep your stomach full, or you may feel severely ill and throw up even after only drinking plain water.
Read on to learn more about morning sickness at night, how to manage this condition, and when you should seek help.
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Why Do I Have Morning Sickness At Night?
Many moms-to-be quickly discover that “morning sickness” is misnamed because nausea and vomiting can strike morning, noon, or night. It can keep you from falling asleep and even wake you up, especially during the early weeks of pregnancy.
No one knows what causes nausea during pregnancy, but it might be a combination of factors, including:
- Rapidly rising levels of hormones in early pregnancy
- Enhanced sense of smell and sensitivity to odours
- A sensitive gastrointestinal tract
- Specific genes that are involved in placenta development
Doctors don’t fully understand why pregnancy sickness occurs. The hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy and how you respond to them likely plays a role.
In rare cases, unrelated conditions, like thyroid or liver disease, may cause severe nausea or vomiting.
Women carrying twins or multiples may also have more pronounced sickness.
Nausea in pregnancy generally starts before the nine-week mark. However, in some women, it may even begin as early as two weeks after conception.
Some women experience sickness early, later on, or not at all. For example, morning sickness may last for a few weeks or months but generally eases up near the end of the first trimester.
Some women may experience nausea and vomiting throughout their entire pregnancies. This more severe form of morning sickness is called hyperemesis gravidarum.
Only around three per cent of women develop this condition. It’s diagnosed after a woman has lost five per cent of her prepregnancy weight and often requires medical treatment to manage dehydration.
How Long Will Nighttime Pregnancy Nausea Last?
Most women who suffer from nausea feel complete relief by about 14 to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Some women may feel queasy for longer or even throughout the entire pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have nausea or vomiting that lasts longer than 20 weeks.
She can check you for dehydration and appropriate weight gain and also give you options for relief.
Treatment And Prevention
There’s no proven way to prevent morning sickness, but there are some lifestyle changes you can make that may help with your nausea, no matter when it strikes.
You may need to experiment with several changes to see relief. And what may work one day may not work the next.
- Eat before getting out of bed each morning to avoid an empty stomach. Bland foods like dry toast or saltine crackers are good choices.
- Avoid triggers, like strong smells that make you feel nauseous.
- Get fresh air when you can. Something as short as a walk around the block may ward off nausea.
- Try incorporating ginger into your day. For example, you can make ginger tea with fresh ginger by steeping a 2-inch peeled piece of ginger in 1 to 2 cups of hot water for 10 to 20 minutes. You can also find ginger capsules and ginger candies at many grocery stores.
- Ask your doctor about alternative medicine. Acupressure, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and even hypnosis may help.
- Take a prenatal multivitamin every day. You can find many brands over the counter, or your doctor may prescribe one to you.
If you find that most of your nausea happens at night, try keeping a diary to look for triggers.
Is your stomach empty? Are you eating hard-to-digest or fatty foods that are unsettling you? Do any foods or other measures make you feel better?
Finding relief may involve a bit of detective work.
Even your daily multivitamin may contribute to your sickness. Try taking it at a different time of the day to see if that helps. Or perhaps try taking it with a small snack.
If nothing seems to work, ask your doctor to suggest a different type of multivitamin that may not make you feel as sick.
Sometimes the iron in your multivitamin can make you feel queasy. However, there are varieties available that don’t contain iron, and your doctor can suggest other ways you can meet this nutritional need.
Ways To Manage Morning Sickness At Night
The worst of nausea usually comes in the morning when the combination of pregnancy hormones and an empty stomach can make getting out of bed feel like stepping off a roller coaster.
But some of us struggle with feeling much more ill at night. Luckily, there are steps you can take to help ease the effects of nighttime sickness.
Correct Your Sleeping Position
Acid reflux is a significant cause of night sickness. Therefore, to avoid it, prop up your head with two pillows to keep it a little elevated and sleep on your left side with your right knee bent.
You can also keep a pillow between your knees for more comfort.
Eat Small Meals
Eat frequently, but eat less. Make sure that your meals are small and frequent, as this is the best way to keep yourself from being hungry or too full. It is advisable to eat something every two or three hours.
However, following a healthy diet. Your diet should consist of foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy.
Always keep some biscuits or dry fruits near your bed so that even during the night, you have something to munch on.
Eating fennel seeds after a meal or when you feel queasy can help, as it helps indigestion.
Avoid Spicy Food
Eating non-spicy food such as toast, milk, broth, clear soup, white rice, or bananas can help prevent night sickness.
Avoid Fatty Foods And Sugar
Pregnant women should stay away from food items containing lots of fat and sugar since they are hard to digest and can cause acidity and indigestion.
Increase Fluid Intake
Increasing your fluid intake can help cure indigestion, which is usually one of the leading causes of nausea and sickness during pregnancy.
Keeping a bottle of water or some lemonade near your bed and sipping it from time to time will keep your body hydrated and, as a result, keep nausea at bay.
Sipping apple juice through the night will also help in keeping your blood sugar levels stable.
Avoid Strong Smells
If the smell of perfume or some curry makes you nauseous, stay away from it.
If a specific smell at home makes you queasy, open all the windows and let fresh air come in or switch on the exhaust fan.
Graze Through The Day And Night
Nausea is most common on an empty stomach. So instead of three large meals, try three smaller meals with additional snack breaks in between.
Almonds or low-sugar yogurt can help fend off sickness both during your commute home and right before bed.
Something with a little bit of protein is excellent for keeping your glycemic index a little more balanced.
It will also make you feel full longer. Keep easy-to-grab protein-filled snacks by your bedside so you can take a nibble if you wake in the night or before you get out of bed.
Cut The Fat And Sugar
Fried foods and fare high in sugars and fats are harder to digest, which can cause bloating, heartburn and acid reflux.
If you’re prone to nausea, avoid them as much as possible. When you eat carbohydrate or sugary food, like an apple, balance it with a protein, such as cheese.
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Clear The Air
If certain smells make you want to hurl, open your windows and turn on your stove fan.
Another trick: Eat your dinner cold. While that may sound unappetizing, cold food is less smelly.
Studies show ginger may help reduce nausea, so try sipping some ginger tea in the evening.
An acupressure wristband, which you can pick up at a drugstore for around $15, might also help.
Clinical trials have shown these wristbands to be 50 per cent effective at keeping pregnancy-related nausea at bay.
If you’re looking for more relief, you might want to talk to your healthcare provider about Diclectin, a combination of vitamin B6 and an antihistamine that is the only prescription drug approved for treating pregnancy nausea.
It causes drowsiness, so it can also help you get some rest. However, recent reports suggest it may not be as safe as once thought—talk to your midwife or doctor about the risks and benefits.
Another option is taking vitamin B6 on its own (up to 200 milligrams a day is safe), which has also been shown to relieve morning sickness.
Eat Something Sour
A sour taste works like an astringent and helps alleviate nausea during pregnancy.
Therefore, go for something like a lemon pickle, which is dipped only in salt. It is also an excellent remedy for a sour stomach.
Try Acupressure Or Sea-sickness Bands
Seasickness bands are worn around the wrist. They press upon specific points that help in the temporary reduction of nausea during pregnancy.
However, if the band does not provide you relief, consider acupressure, as it is more intensive and helps cure nausea as soon as possible.
Ginger has medicinal properties, which can cure nausea and other ailments like a cough, cold, and migraine.
You can include ginger in your daily diet in the form of ginger tea or salads. Eating a ginger tablet can also help. Sip ginger tea in the evening.
However, do not overdo it since too much ginger and tea can cause gas and acidity.
Anywhere between 1 to 3 grams of ginger can be consumed per day without adverse effects on your health.
Essential oils like lavender and peppermint will relax you and alleviate nausea.
You can apply a few drops on your wrist or put it in your handkerchief and simply smell it when you are nauseated or sick.
You can also burn a few scented candles to calm you down.
Follow The Brat Diet
The BRAT diet, which consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, can help cure nausea and vomiting.
It is also suitable for people suffering from a sour stomach and loose motion.
However, stop following this diet once your nausea and sickness is under control, as this diet does not provide you with the nutrients required during pregnancy.
Consult Your Doctor
If you experience extreme night sickness during pregnancy, consult your doctor. Ask him for medicines that can provide relief from pregnancy nausea.
You should take medicines only after consulting your doctor, as it could harm your pregnancy.
Drink Something Warm
Drink something warm before going to bed. A warm drink will prepare your mind and body for some sleep. For example, you may drink ginger tea or peppermint tea.
Don’t Tire Yourself Out.
Do not overwork yourself. Tiring your body will result in fatigue and stress, which may trigger nausea. Instead, go for an activity which will de-stress and relax you.
You can go for a walk or practice prenatal yoga.
Have An Early Dinner
It is advisable to have dinner at least two hours before going to bed. This helps in the proper digestion of the food and prevents acid reflux.
Eat Foods Rich In Vitamin B6 And B12
Eat foods that are a rich source of Vitamin B6 and B12.
You can eat different types of nuts, banana, carrot, fish, chicken, spinach, onion, tofu, egg, yoghurt, etc., to cure nausea during pregnancy.
Try Deep Breathing Exercises
If night sickness stops you from sleeping peacefully, try deep breathing exercises that will relax your senses and nerves.
You can also try lighting some aromatic candles and listen to soothing music while lying on your bed. Remember to switch off your phone, computer, and television before you hit the bed.
A good massage with some aromatic oil like lavender or citrus just before going to bed, followed by a warm bath, will relax your senses and help you sleep well at night.
Keep Simple Snacks At Your Bedside.
Snacking on crackers, for example, may help you feel better and get back to sleep if you wake up feeling nauseated in the middle of the night.
To ward off that sick feeling when you first wake up in the morning, nibble a few crackers and then rest for 20 to 30 minutes before getting up.
Don’t Eat Too Close To Bedtime.
Lying down right after eating can slow digestion. Avoid fatty foods at dinnertime, as they take longer to digest.
Also, steer clear of rich, spicy, acidic, and fried foods, which can irritate your digestive system. Instead, complex carbohydrates and proteins are your best bet for an evening meal.
Sip Ginger Tea At Bedtime.
Several studies have shown that ginger can reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Although no side effects or adverse outcomes occurred in the research on ginger tea, it’s a good idea to check with your provider before using it – or any herbal remedies – during pregnancy.
When To Seek Help
Mild to moderate morning sickness doesn’t usually affect your baby’s health. However, if lifestyle changes aren’t helping, there are other treatments available:
- Vitamin B-6 and doxylamine. These over-the-counter (OTC) options are an excellent first line of defence against nausea. There are also prescription drugs that combine these two ingredients. Taken alone or together, these drugs are considered safe during pregnancy.
- Antiemetic drugs. If B-6 and doxylamine don’t do the trick, antiemetic drugs can help prevent vomiting. Some antiemetic drugs have been deemed safe for pregnancy, while others may not be. Your doctor is your best resource for determining the benefits versus the risks in your case.
If you have hyperemesis gravidarum, you may need to seek immediate medical attention. Not keeping any foods or liquids down may be dangerous for your health and your growing baby. You may also develop issues with your thyroid, liver, and fluid balance.
Watch for symptoms like:
- severe nausea or vomiting
- passing only small amounts of urine that may be dark in colour, which could be a sign of dehydration
- being unable to keep down liquids
- feeling faint or dizzy upon standing
- feeling your heart race
- vomiting blood
Extreme bouts of nausea and vomiting may require a hospital stay to replenish fluids and vitamins via an intravenous (IV) line.
You may also receive additional medications while in the hospital. In some cases, your doctor may even recommend tube feeding to ensure you and your baby are getting enough nutrients.
Tips For Staying Healthy
Don’t worry too much if you’re unable to eat your regular diet. In many cases, you should start feeling better after your first trimester.
In the meantime, try these tips:
- Keep your stomach full, but not too full, by eating frequent small meals, about every one or two hours.
- Consider eating a “BRAT” diet with bland foods like bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea. These foods are low in fat and easy to digest.
- Try adding protein to all your meals and snacks, such as nuts, seeds, beans, dairy, and nut butter.
- Stay hydrated by drinking fluids, like plain water, often. Drinking beverages that contain electrolytes can also help prevent dehydration.
- If your “morning” sickness is interfering with your sleep, make sure you’re not lying down too soon after eating a meal. When you need to get out of bed, make sure you’re rising slowly. And try your best to get rest throughout the day when you can.
Otherwise, ask your doctor about taking vitamin B-6 and doxylamine.
Doxylamine is the active ingredient in Unisom SleepTabs, an OTC sleep aid. A side effect of this medication is drowsiness, so taking it at night may help with both sleep and nausea.
Morning sickness can be a difficult hurdle to cross in your pregnancy. So don’t shy from asking for help from friends and family while you’re feeling sick.
Try your best to identify your triggers and experiment with various lifestyle measures until you find a mix that works for you. And don’t hesitate to contact your doctor for treatment options and other advice.
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