Morning Sickness at Night: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment

Morning sickness is the term used to refer to nausea and vomiting women experience during pregnancy. The term morning sickness, though, does not do complete justice to the condition. This is because morning sickness can happen at any time of the day, not just the morning. Some women experience nausea and vomiting only in the morning hours, but they can also experience these symptoms during any time or the day, or for that matter, during the night. In fact, when you experience nausea and vomiting during the night, it can be even worse than the morning, as it prevents you from getting any sleep in the night. Many women become confused at hearing about morning sickness at night. Indeed yes, morning sickness is very much possible at night also. Let’s take a closer look.

About Morning Sickness at Night:

Morning sickness is one of the most common discomforts of pregnancy. Almost all pregnant women experience morning sickness during the first trimester of their pregnancy. Some women, though, continue to experience morning sickness throughout their pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting, particularly during the morning hours, is referred to as morning sickness. However, morning sickness can actually happen at any time during the day or even during the night. Sometimes, when nausea and vomiting take place regularly in the night, it is also referred to as night sickness. The severity of nausea and vomiting varies from woman to woman. Some women start feeling queasy and nauseated when they have not eaten for some time, others start vomiting even after drinking plain water as well.

What Causes Morning Sickness at Night?

As mentioned above, nausea and vomiting are not just limited to the morning hours while you are pregnant. When you experience morning sickness at night, it is often referred to as night sickness. Even at night time, you will feel equally uncomfortable, queasy, and experience the same level of overall discomfort as you do in the morning hours. In fact, many women report night sickness to be even worse as it does not let them get a good night’s sleep.

There are many causes of night sickness, but the major reason is believed to be the hormonal changes that the body goes through during the early stages of pregnancy. The hormones keep on increasing rapidly during the first three months of pregnancy, causing you to experience nausea and vomiting. Many women also suffer from morning/night sickness due to their heightened sensitivity to certain smells.

Another reason for experiencing morning/night sickness in pregnancy can be because of consuming too much oil and too much spice. Spicy or oily foods cause acidity and indigestion in many pregnant women, leading to morning sickness during the night. Stress is also a factor that can cause morning sickness in the night.

Can Morning Sickness at Night Help you Determine the Gender of the Baby?

There is a popular myth that runs in many cultures that if you experience morning sickness in the night, then you are likely to be carrying a girl child. However, this is simply a myth and there is no scientific evidence to indicate anything of such sort. Nevertheless, there is some research that suggests that women who experience severe morning sickness, a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, are more likely to be carrying girls.

Can Morning Sickness at Night be Prevented and what is the Treatment?

It is not really possible to prevent morning sickness at any time of the day. However, you can make certain dietary and lifestyle changes that will help you manage your nausea, no matter what time of the day it strikes at. You will have to try out certain changes in order to see what gives you the most relief. During your pregnancy, you may find that what method works one day to provide relief from nausea, may not work on the next day. ‘

It may feel extremely weird to experience morning sickness at night, but the fact is that this is quite common among women while they are pregnant. However, it is possible to overcome morning sickness at night. Here are some tips that will help you better manage the symptoms of morning sickness at night.

Fix Your Sleeping Position – One of the biggest causes of morning sickness at night is acid reflux. You can correct this by fixing your sleeping position. If you prop up your head to keep it a little bit elevated from the rest of your body and then sleep on your left side, you will be able to prevent acid reflux. It will also help if you keep your right knee in a bent position. For added comfort, consider keeping a pillow in between your knees.

Opt For Smaller And More Frequent Meals – You must have heard this advice already if you are pregnant. Eating smaller meals, but spacing them out evenly throughout the day, is generally recommended for pregnant women. The key is to eat frequently but to eat less as this will balance your hunger. It will not make you feel hungry nor will it make you feel too full, both of which can cause nausea and eventually make you vomit. You should ideally eat every two to three hours. Follow a healthy diet that consists of protein, carbohydrates, and other essential macro and micronutrients. You should also snack on healthy foods such as nuts, biscuits, or fruits, rather than junk foods.

Cut Out Spicy Foods – You should opt for eating bland foods if you are experiencing morning sickness at night. Avoid having spicy food, especially for dinner, just before you are about to sleep as this will only aggravate the morning sickness. Try eating foods like toast and milk, clear soup, bananas, rice, etc., to keep your morning sickness in check.

Increase Your Water Intake – It is important to increase your fluid intake during pregnancy. Not having sufficient water can cause indigestion and also aggravate constipation, another common discomfort associated with pregnancy. Indigestion is also known to be one of the major causes of morning sickness at night. Keep a glass of lemonade or a bottle of water handy at all times so that you can keep sipping it from time to time. This will keep you well hydrated and also help prevent nausea. You can try to sip on some apple juice during the night as it has shown to keep blood sugar levels stable during pregnancy.

Avoid Excessive Sugar And Intake Of Fatty Foods – While avoiding fatty foods and processed sugar is advisable regardless of whether you are pregnant or not, during pregnancy, it becomes even more important that you avoid having foods that are rich in fat content and also contain a lot of sugar. Your body finds it hard to digest these, which can often lead to acidity and indigestion, worsening your morning sickness.

Avoid Being Around Strong Smells – Many women have reported that strong smells make them feel nauseated and make their morning sickness worse. If a particular perfume or the smell of some food makes you feel nauseated, then it is best to stay away from them. If you are feeling queasy due to some smell at home, then you should open the windows to allow fresh air to come in and it will help the smell to disperse. Switching on an exhaust fan is also a good idea.

Sour Taste Works Wonders – It may surprise you to know that taking something sour will actually help relieve your nausea during pregnancy. Sour tasting foods work similar to an astringent, relieving nausea. You can opt for having a lemon pickle, dipped in some salt. This is not only good for relieving your nausea but also works wonders if you have a bad stomach.

Start Taking Ginger – Ginger is known for its many medicinal and healing properties. Ginger is known to help cure nausea and other common ailments such as the common cold and cough, migraine, and many stomach conditions. If you want to include ginger in your day-to-day routine, then sipping on some freshly brewed ginger tea or grating ginger over your salad is the way to go. You can also keep a ginger lozenge in your mouth to get rid of nausea. If you suffer from morning sickness at night, then having ginger tea in the evening hours will definitely provide relief from this.

Apart from these tips, there are also some overall tips you can follow to get relief from the symptoms of morning sickness at night. These include:

  • Before you get out of your bed every morning, try to eat something. Avoid leaving your bed on an empty stomach. Even dry toast, salt crackers, or just a handful of seeds are all good choices.
  • Identify and avoid triggers that make you feel nauseated. Try to see if you are hungry if you are eating foods that are hard to digest, if certain smells make you feel queasy, etc.
  • Get as much fresh air as you can. A walk around the block will help clear your head and also ward off nausea.
  • If you find that your night sickness is getting difficult to handle, then you can ask your doctor to suggest some alternative medicines or therapies. These may include acupuncture, acupressure, hypnosis, or aromatherapy.
  • While you are managing morning sickness, don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins and all the other medications that your doctor has prescribed. Many women find that their daily prenatal multivitamin also makes them feel nauseated. If this is the case, then, to begin with, try taking it at a different time of the day to see if it helps.

Otherwise, you can also try taking the multivitamin with a small snack. If in spite of all this, you still feel nauseated upon taking your multivitamin, then you should consult your doctor to get a different type of prenatal multivitamin that will not make you feel nauseated and queasy. The primary culprit in most multivitamins is iron, which makes many women feel queasy. There are certain varieties of prenatal multivitamins that do not contain iron and your doctor will be able to recommend the best option you can choose. However, don’t forget to meet the requirement for iron at the same time since it is equally important that you get a sufficient amount of iron when you are pregnant.

Conclusion

Suffering from mild to moderate morning sickness, be it during the morning hours or during nighttime, will not have an impact on your baby’s health. However, if you feel that you are losing weight due to severe vomiting, then it could be that you are suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. To manage mild to moderate morning sickness, most of the times making lifestyle and dietary changes are sufficient to manage the symptoms of this common pregnancy discomfort. If the lifestyle changes are not helping, then the commonly used treatments for combatting morning sickness include a combination therapy of vitamin B6 and doxylamine, which are over-the-counter drugs that serve as the first line of defense against nausea and vomiting. There are also other prescription medications available that help prevents nausea, but you will find that most of them contain vitamin B6 and doxylamine or a variation of these two ingredients. These drugs are considered to be safe for your baby when taken during pregnancy.

There are also some antiemetic drugs if the combination therapy of vitamin B6 and doxylamine does not work. Antiemetic drugs help prevent both nausea and vomiting, and while many of these drugs are safe to consume during pregnancy, some of them are not considered to be safe. This is why it is important to consult your doctor before you take any medications during pregnancy.

Even if you are unable to eat your normal diet due to morning sickness, it is not a cause of concern as it happens to a majority of women, particularly during the first trimester. You will notice that these symptoms will disappear on their own during the fourth or fifth month of your pregnancy. In the meantime, you should consider following some of the tips mentioned above to get relief from morning sickness at night.

Also Read:

References

Wheatley, D., 1977. Treatment of pregnancy sickness. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 84(6), pp.444-447.

Norheim, A.J., Pedersen, E.J., Fønnebø, V. and Berge, L., 2001. Acupressure treatment of morning sickness in pregnancy. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Scandinavian journal of primary health care, 19(1), pp.43-47.

Quinla, J.D. and Hill, D.A., 2003. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. American family physician, 68(1), pp.121-128.

Murphy, P.A., 1998. Alternative therapies for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 91(1), pp.149-155.

Dundee, J.W., Sourial, F.B.R., Ghaly, R.G. and Bell, P.F., 1988. P6 acupressure reduces morning sickness. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 81(8), pp.456-457.

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