Nausea in Pregnancy

Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, CCFP, discusses nausea in pregnancy.

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Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, CCFP, discusses nausea in pregnancy.
Video transcript

Featuring: Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, CCFP

Duration: 2 minutes, 57 seconds

Many women feel good in the first part of the pregnancy, but unfortunately many women also feel pretty nauseated and often very tired and unfortunately, fatigue can also really add to that sense of “ooh, I feel terrible.” So many times women look to their diet for help, to their activity levels for help and maybe even their healthcare provider for solutions about how do I help this terrible feeling that I have going almost twenty-four hours a day.

Paradoxically, women often feel kind of pleased that they are so unsteady in their tummy when they are in their first part of their pregnancy because it is a reflection of a healthy robust hormonal state of pregnancy. So in fact, it is often reassuring to feel lousy in the first semester of your pregnancy.

So sometimes people ask is it harmful to my baby like if I’m not eating or if I don’t feel like eating a normal variety of foods that I would normally consume and the answer is no. Your baby is going to be doing just fine in there and it is going to take all the nutrition, nutrients, and minerals that it needs no matter what you eat.

 I do not think people really know exactly why this happens but certainly, it is a reflection of the high levels of beta HCG hormone that is circulating in the women’s blood stream during this part of the pregnancy. For that reason, women who have more than one developing baby like twins or more have higher levels of this hormone and they often feel even worse. So it is felt to be a hormonal affect, but it is interesting how one woman during one pregnancy can feel so much different from the next time they get pregnant. Both are healthy pregnancies but the experience can be variable.

Women often intuitively figure out what tends to make it worse and obvious triggers are extreme hunger. Therefore, if you are going a long time without meals you will really feel it. So women often think like a mouse, they have small meals more frequently, and most people figure that out pretty quickly.

Other things that tend to make it worse are fatigue and in fact, sometimes being overly hot or even a lot of strong exercise can provoke many feelings of nausea. So people tend to be attentive to their energy levels. Nap if they need to nap and eat smaller meals more frequently.

Overall, this problem of feeling queasy and tired in the first part of your pregnancy is really common, and the goal I think is to take care of yourself and take care of your diet, and in doing that, you are going to help your developing pregnancy for sure.

So, if you are looking for resources about how best to do that, particularly if you have any specialized dietary needs or requirements, you can always ask your healthcare provider, your physician, your midwife and if they think you need extra attention or expertise around that there are certainly lots of qualified dieticians and nutritionists around that could help you with that as well.      



Presenter: Dr. Heather Jenkins, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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