Isn't Morning Sickness Supposed to be in the Morning?

QUESTION

Dear Mr. Dad,

My wife is two months pregnant and is queasy pretty much all the time. Isn't morning sickness supposed to be in the morning? And is there anything I can do to help her?

ANSWER

About half of all pregnant women experience morning sickness. Despite the name, the nausea, heartburn, and vomiting can strike at any hour of the day. No one's quite sure what causes morning sickness. Some suggest that it.s a reaction to the pregnant woman's changing hormone levels. Others, such as researcher margie profet, suggest that morning sickness is the body's natural way of protecting the growing fetus from "teratogins" (toxins that cause birth defects) and "abortifacients" (toxins that induce miscarriage).

Either way, for most women morning sickness disappears after about the third month. Until then, here are a few things you can do to help your partner cope:

  • Help her maintain a high-protein, high-carbohydrate diet.
  • Encourage her to drink a lot of fluids -- especially milk. You might also want to keep a large water bottle next to the bed. She should avoid caffeine, which tends to be dehydrating and she might want to start the day with a small amount of a juice or flat soda; the sweet flavor will probably encourage her to drink a little more than she might otherwise.
  • Be sensitive to the sights and smells that make her queasy -- and keep them away from her. Fatty or spicy foods are frequent offendors.
  • Encourage her to eat a lot of small meals throughout the day.every two or three hours, if she can--and to eat before she starts feeling nauseated. Basic foods like rice and yogurt are particularly good because they're less likely to cause nausea than greasy foods.
  • Make sure she takes her prenatal vitamins.
  • Put some pretzels, crackers, or rice cakes by the bed -- she'll need something to start and end the day with, and these are low in fat and calories.
  • Be aware that she needs plenty of rest and encourage her to get it.

-- "Mr. Dad"

Armin Brott

A nationally recognized parenting expert, Armin Brott is the bestselling author of The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-To-Be, The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year, Fathering Your Toddler, The Military Father: A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads, and four other books on fatherhood. He has written on parenting, fatherhood, and health for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and dozens of other periodicals. He also hosts "Positive Parenting," which airs on a dozen stations in the US and worldwide on the American Forces Network. Armin lives with his family in Oakland, California. You may visit his website at mrdad.com to learn more.