“Morning Sickness” is the most common term used to describe the nausea that often comes during the first three months of pregnancy. Known medically as “Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy” (NVP), it is best described as episodic, daytime pregnancy nausea and vomiting. – Although it occurs most commonly after waking in the morning, for many pregnant women it can happen all day. This illness is believed to be caused by the sudden and dramatic hormonal changes that occur during early pregnancy. And it can be aggravated by emotion stress, travel, and the smell or taste of some foods. Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy has been noted throughout history and across cultures. The earliest known description was written on a physician’s papyrus dating back to 2000 B.C. The effects of morning sickness are often underestimated by those who have not suffered through it. Morning sickness can greatly upset a pregnant woman’s daily activities and sense of well being. Many women have to suffer and endure lifestyle disruptions, missed work, sleep disturbances, fatigue and irritability, as a result of the nausea and vomiting. And it has a significant socio-economic impact because of hours lost in paid employment. Overview – Definition, Symptoms, Prevalence Morning sickness is very common, and is reported by 50% – 80% of pregnant women. More specifically, 28% of pregnant women experience nausea only, while 52% experience nausea and vomiting. 20% of pregnant women will have no symptoms at all. The symptoms commonly start 5 weeks after conception and end by week 15 in 60% of affected women. 9% of affected women have symptoms persist beyond week 18 of pregnancy. How severe the symptoms are varies with different women. Most cases are seen as mild to moderate. The most severe form of morning sickness is known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum [emesis means vomiting, gravidarum means pregnancy] where persistent vomiting leads to dehydration and weight loss. Hyperemesis Gravidarum affects between 0.3% and 2% of all pregnant women. There is one positive side to morning sickness! Research has shown that women with Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy have a 30% lower chance of miscarriage and stillbirths than pregnant women with no morning sickness symptoms.
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