Can you have morning sickness in the evening?
People talk about “morning sickness” in pregnancy, but in fact evening sickness can be almost as common. And just as miserable.
Around two thirds of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting in the early weeks of pregnancy. You might feel sick first thing in the morning, when you are tired in the evening, or all day long.
The good news is that feeling sick in the morning, the evening and at any time of day or night is considered to be normal. It is probably a good sign that your body is making all the right hormones. The bad news is that it can make you feel really rubbish.
Many women prefer not to go public with their pregnancy for the first few months. This means that you can’t even get sympathy for how you’re feeling, or explain to your work colleagues why you have developed a sudden fascination with the ladies’ loos. Even the smell or sight of certain foods or substances can make you heave. How are you going to get through this?
No one is completely sure what causes sickness in pregnancy, but it is thought to be related to having healthy levels of pregnancy-maintaining hormones. There is also an idea that we may be super-sensitive to tastes and smells in early pregnancy to prevent us from eating anything that might harm the developing baby. You can be sick quite a lot and feel nauseous evening, morning and all day long while your baby remains just fine!
Don’t worry if you don’t feel sick
Some lucky women just don’t really get sick in pregnancy. I was one of them – yes you can hate me now! So if you’re not bothered by pregnancy sickness, don’t worry about it. Just keep quiet and offer sympathy to your vomiting pregnant friends.
Plan what and when to eat
This is a matter of trial and error, but many women find eating small, bland meals and snacks little and often is the best thing. This can help to keep your blood sugar level and reduce feelings of nausea. Plain biscuits, dry toast and generally boring foods high in carbohydrates and low in flavour usually work best. Many women keep a few biscuits by their bedside to nibble before attempting to get up in the morning. A milky drink in the evening can help too.
Keep drinking (unfortunately not alcohol!)
It’s important to stay hydrated, especially if you are vomiting regularly, so try to drink plenty of fluids. Take small sips if you have trouble keeping anything down. Lemonade, tonic water, coke or ginger beer can all go down well, and help keep your electrolyte levels up too.
Ginger teas or tablets, or nibbling crystallised ginger makes some women feel less sick. Ginger speeds up the natural movement of foods out of your stomach, which can reduce nausea.
Try acupuncture or sickness bands
There is evidence that acupuncture can be good for pregnancy sickness. If you can’t get to a qualified acupuncturist, you can try the acupressure anti-sickness wrist bands sold at many pharmacies for travel sicknesss. They are safe in pregnancy and can be very effective.
Get plenty of rest
Pregnancy is very tiring. You are growing a new human inside you.
Don’t expect to feel the same as before you were pregnant. It can be difficult when you have a demanding full time job or an energetic toddler, but do your best to get some extra rest. Going to bed early, or sneaking in a little afternoon nap if possible, can make you feel a whole lot better. If you feel really rough, take a day or too off work sick and just chill out. You deserve it.
Exercise in pregnancy can help your physical and emotional wellbeing, and help take your mind off annoying symptoms – like feeling sick. Safe forms of exercise include walking, swimming and pregnancy yoga taught by a qualified instructor. Avoid new forms of exercise during the first trimester.
Get practical and emotional support
Make sure your partner understands how you are feeling. Explain what foods or smells make you feel bad, and ask him to avoid them for a while if he can. See if you can get some extra help round the house so you don’t have to do all the chores when you get in from work. Have a really good moan – and a cry if necessary – to your mum or your best friend. Sometimes it helps to be heard!
Know when to get medical help
Around 1 – 2% of pregnant women are unlucky enough to get hyperemesis gravidarum. This means excessive vomiting in pregnancy, and it usually needs medical intervention. If you can’t stop vomiting and can’t even keep fluids down you should seek advice from your GP or midwife, or go to A&E. You will be offered blood and urine tests, and you may be given medications such as antihistamines to control the vomiting, and intravenous fluids. You may need to stay in hospital for a couple of days until your condition is stabilised and you are feeling better.
Remember it won’t last forever
For most women, pregnancy sickness stops by around 16-20 weeks of pregnancy. A few unlucky mums-to-be continue to feel sick right up until baby is born. That is way too long – but still not forever! Remember this will eventually come to an end. Try relaxation, calm breathing, yoga and mindfulness exercises – and thinking about things that make you happy.
Having a baby is a big deal – make sure you look after yourself and get all the support you need.
Karen Lawrence loves supporting pregnant mums. She is a qualified midwife and health visitor, mum of seven children and a specialist pregnancy and postnatal yoga instructor. She teaches pregnancy yoga and relaxation classes in South Essex. To see more about Karen’s classes, visit