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Health Information

Morning sickness

Summary/Definition

Morning sickness during pregnancy is a common symptom that occurs in 70-85% of pregnant women. Morning sickness during pregnancy begins in the early stages of pregnancy and lasts until the 14th-16th week of pregnancy. Morning sickness during pregnancy is accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and in severe cases can cause complications such as dehydration, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, thyroid disorders and liver dysfunction. The exact cause of morning sickness during pregnancy is unknown, but it is known that it is caused by hormonal changes, stress and nutritional deficiencies. If morning sickness during pregnancy is mild, the symptoms can be alleviated by changing the lifestyle. However, in severe cases, medication may be required. Extremely severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is called hyperemesis of pregnant women. The diagnosis of hyperemesis of pregnant women can be made in the presence of severe vomiting and nausea and the exclusion of other causes other than pregnancy. Hyperemesis of pregnant women is the most common cause of hospitalization in the first trimester (up to 12 weeks of pregnancy) and the second most common cause of hospitalization throughout pregnancy after premature birth. The cause of morning sickness is also not exactly known, psychological trends, evolutionary adaptation and hormonal stimulation are assumed as the reasons. Summarizing the reasons for hyperemesis of pregnant women, we can say that this is a complex relationship between endocrine disorders, such as hypothalamus/adrenal glands, thyroid gland, ovaries/corpus luteum and placenta, and non-endocrine disorders associated with immunological, anatomical and neurological effects. It is said that such interaction causes hyperemesis of pregnant women. There are diseases with similar symptoms that need to be differentiated from morning sickness, and most importantly – when it occurs for the first time.

▲ The National Health Information Portal of the Korean Agency for Disease Control and Prevention, “Morning Sickness”

Symptoms

Consequences for pregnant women include dehydration, weight loss, acid-base imbalance, electrolyte disorders, hypokalemia, increased hemochromatosis, increased red blood cell volume, acute renal failure, Wernicke encephalopathy, esophageal rupture, pneumothorax, acute tubular necrosis, depression, somatosensory disorders, health problems, and consequences for the fetus include underweight, reduced lactate levels, etc.

Treatment and course of the disease

Morning sickness during pregnancy and hyperemesis of pregnant women can be considered the same concept, since hyperemesis of pregnant women is a continuation of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, and if symptoms are not treated properly in the early stages, the likelihood of hospitalization for hyperemesis of pregnant women increases. The decision on treatment is made by a pregnant woman, and the goals of treatment include minimizing discomfort and symptoms, minimizing and preventing dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, preventing and minimizing ketonuria, drinking enough fluids and preventing unnecessary hospitalization.

Treatment methods include medication using doxylamine, vitamin B6, antihistamines, ondansetron, metoclopramide, corticosteroids and preventive therapy such as relaxation, diet, lifestyle improvement, stress management, non-drug treatment such as ginger consumption, and complex intake of vitamins a month before pregnancy to reduce vomiting.

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