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Why Do You Throw Up When You're Pregnant?

by
author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Why Do You Throw Up When You're Pregnant?
Nausea is a result of progesterone in the body. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Most pregnant women know that the term "morning sickness" is a misnomer. For about three quarters of pregnant women, nausea is a first trimester daily event that doesn't discriminate against time of day, notes BabyCenter. While the near-constant urge to throw up makes many daily activities difficult, that nausea has a purpose in your pregnancy and may actually be a positive effect.

Hormonal Changes

When you become pregnant, your body begins manufacturing more progesterone hormones. Progesterone is responsible for some of your baby's growth and development, so high levels are generally a positive occurrence. Unfortunately, high levels of progesterone make you feel nauseous. Progesterone levels lower and stabilize close to the second trimester, so the urge to vomit typically only lasts through the first trimester.

Nausea Triggers

The excess hormones in your body often make you turn up your nose at foods that you once enjoyed. These nausea triggers make you feel sick or throw up even when they are foods you like. The nausea is most likely the result of progesterone's effect on your sense of smell, which becomes stronger and makes it difficult for you to stomach certain foods.

Benefits of Nausea

While it's hard to feel positive about a near-constant need to throw up, nausea is usually a good sign during pregnancy. A high level of progesterone in your body decreases your risk for early pregnancy loss, especially if you're an older mom, notes MayoClinic.com obstetrician Roger W. Harms. He also points out that nausea encourages you to eat foods vital to your baby's development, such as carbohydrates and folic acid. Your activity level often slows when you feel sick, which helps you avoid potentially dangerous physical fitness.

How to Cope

Pregnancy nausea is usually isolated to the first trimester. Find ways to cope. Keep a little food in your stomach at all times; bland foods such as crackers and granola bars are ideal. Stay hydrated with a bottle of water and know your triggers. If the smell of pizza makes you sick, stay away from places that serve pizza. If your vomiting becomes so severe that it's nearly impossible to keep food down and gain calories, it could be dangerous to you and your baby. Talk to your doctor about prescription drug options to help quell your nausea so that you can continue proper hydration and nutrition.

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