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Morning Sickness

Morning sickness affects about 50 per cent of all pregnant mothers to some extent.

Some just feel mildly nauseated at some point in the day and then it passes; others feel sick from the moment they get up until they go to sleep again but are never actually sick; some vomit constantly for three months and are then fine; some feel nauseous and are occasionally sick for the whole nine months. Every woman's morning sickness is unique to her, as will be the steps she takes to alleviate it. If you are suffering, then bear in mind that in most cases, it does stop at around 14 weeks.

Morning sickness is thought to be caused by an excess of the hormones oestrogen and human chorionic gonadotrophin, which are highest early in the pregnancy (this is why the symptoms tend to pass after 14 weeks). There is also some indication that morning sickness is made much worse by low blood sugar, hence the traditional advice about eating a dry biscuit and having a cup of tea before getting up in the morning.

In fact there is quite a lot you can try to alleviate your symptoms, although you will find that some things work well, and others not at all, or that some things work some of the time... However you are feeling it is sure to be exacerbated if you are overtired, and in the early stages of pregnancy you will probably feel tired, if not exhausted, a lot of the time. Try to make time for extra rest and sleep. You will probably find that this tiredness will pass, too.

Over-the-counter homoeopathic remedies recommended for morning sickness include Nux vomica, Ipecacuanha, and Sepia; remember that it is always worth consulting a trained and qualified homoeopath for a more individualized prescription. You may find that your midwife knows of someone to recommend, or has homoeopathic training herself.

Acupuncture has been proved successful with many cases of nausea and vomiting and, received at the hands of a skilled practitioner, is completely safe for use in early pregnancy. Acupressure points in the wrists can be utilized; wrist bands, used also to alleviate travel sickness, are available from many chemists now.

Ginger, (crystallised, in capsule form, as ginger root tea or even non-alcoholic ginger ale) is often helpful. Cutting out tea and coffee, and substituting herbal teas (in particular camomile) is recommended. Eating small, regular and nutritious meals while avoiding fatty and spicy foods can help. Taking zinc and vitamin B6 supplements, 50 mg of each a day) is sometimes suggested by nutritional therapists, particularly if pregnancy follows use of the contraceptive pill. Reflexology performed by a trained practitioner is beneficial and, in extreme cases, might even help put an end to continual vomiting.

However bad you are feeling during this early part of your pregnancy, hold fast to the fact that in the majority of cases it will disappear - seemingly overnight - at around 14 weeks. If you can just manage to eat reasonably, keep rested, and not become overwrought, then you will avoid taking an exhausted self into the next phase of pregnancy. It is worth trying to do what you can to keep going by using alternative therapies, but if you need to go to bed at 8 p.m. six nights a week just to be able to get up in the morning, then submit gracefully. Women who don't suffer won't understand your problem, neither will men, but if they have ever suffered from travel sickness point out to them that morning sickness is similar but lasts day-in, day-out for three months. You get used to it, and you get on with the rest of what you have to do, but it's wonderful when it goes away!

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