Nausea During Pregnancy – Facts and Theories

Pregnancy is a wondrous miracle for most women – until they experience the first bout of morning sickness about six weeks after conception. Experts have not determined what it is precisely that causes morning sickness and pregnancy nausea, but this physical reaction to the substantial changes a pregnant woman’s body goes through is not surprising. The popular saying is that pregnant women “eat for two,” but now we know that it’s dangerous to eat twice your usual amount of food during pregnancy and so pregnancy vitamins is also really vital.

One of the most significant changes that occur during pregnancy is hormonal. When a woman is pregnant, her body produces a number of different hormones that can have some negative side effects, including intestinal troubles. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is the one hormone that is most likely to be behind pregnancy sickness. HCG is made by the fetus shortly following conception. Later during the pregnancy, HCG production is done by the placenta. This hormone plays a vital role in maintaining Progesterone production. Progesterone is another hormone that is produced at higher levels during pregnancy and it may also cause morning symptoms. The high levels of Progesterone present in the blood stream of pregnant women serve to relax uterine muscles in order to prevent miscarriage or pre-term births. According to one theory, Progesterone may also affect the stomach and intestines, leading to excessive amounts of acid in the stomach that can trigger the onset of vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. The production of Estrogen, a hormone present in all women of child-bearing age, increases greatly during the first stages of pregnancy and it too may be behind the symptoms that affect so many pregnant women.

Yet another theory suggests that nausea during pregnancy could be the result of a vitamin B deficiency. However, although many pregnant women report that taking vitamin B6 helped to diminish their symptoms, it does not necessarily follow that these women had a vitamin deficiency. In fact, the results of one study showed that the levels of Vitamin B6 in pregnant women suffering from morning sickness were identical to those of pregnant women who had not experienced any vomiting or nausea during pregnancy. Experts have not determined why taking Vitamin B6 appears to help alleviate morning sickness symptoms. Likewise, in spite of evidence that multi-vitamin supplements taken at the very beginning and during the early weeks of pregnancy can play a part in the prevention of severe morning sickness, no one knows the reason for this.

The factors causing nausea during pregnancy may have nothing to do with either hormonal changes or vitamins. One of the theories is that the aggravated sense of smell and stronger reaction to particular odors are the main reasons for morning sickness. Because pregnant women usually develop a more sensitive sense of smell, specific scents can cause an instant gag reflex. The increased amounts of Estrogen could also lead to this excessive reaction to particular odors, however. Yet another explanation is that the gastro-intestinal systems of certain women just happen to be more strongly affected by the changes that occur in their bodies during early pregnancy. Finally, vomiting and nausea during pregnancy may simply reflect the fact that some women are naturally more prone to have an abdominal response to stress than others – and pregnancy is a stressful time. The logical continuation of this theory, which is not backed by any evidence, is that the stronger the symptoms, the more stress the mother-to-be will experience. This vicious circle results in prolonged nausea and vomiting.

Several theories exist to explain the causes of morning sickness, but none have been conclusively proven. On the hand, all experts agree on the fact that the great majority of women who experience morning sickness will only suffer from vomiting and nausea during pregnancy during the first three months of their pregnancies. At the end of this period, the production of pregnancy hormones slows down and the high levels of these hormones in the blood starts to drop, leading to a reduction of stomach troubles and the receding of morning sickness symptoms. Check out how to get pregnant.

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