If you think you are pregnant seek help and assistance from a midwife or from
Do not take any alcohol or recreational drugs. If you are on any prescribed drugs check with your doctor immediately
for their safety. For all OTC medications check with the pharmacist or your midwife first. Reduce or stop
smoking as soon as you think you may be pregnant. Be careful with chemicals such as hair dye, oven cleaners, garden
sprays etc. Book a midwife as early as you can and register for antenatal classes before 12 weeks.
This occurs in most pregnancies (70-85%). It is caused by the changes to a woman's hormonal levels needed to sustain
the pregnancy in the first trimester until the placenta can take over fully at about 12\- 14 weeks. (Myles 1990 11th
Morning sickness may start as early as 5 - 6 weeks and can last up to 16 weeks. Hormonal changes make the woman more
sensitive to smell and taste accompanied by varying degrees of nausea and in some cases vomiting may occur.
For most women there is an adjustment time of coming to terms with the idea of being pregnant or of becoming a
mother, complicated by feeling unwell with nausea and vomiting may make this period of the pregnancy difficult. Seek
counseling support or talking to a trusted friend about your thoughts or feelings.
Morning Sickness is aptly named because most women feel worse as soon as their feet touch the floor in the morning.
This is generally due to low blood sugar levels after a night of fasting but it can occur at any time of the day or
night. It may last for a few minutes or continue right throughout the day into the evening.
If a woman becomes very unwell and unable to hold any food or water down for any sustained length of time such as
24\- 48 hours she needs to seek out medical help from a midwife or a doctor.
The main key to cope with morning sickness is to try eating before getting out of bed. Have a carbohydrate snack such
as toast or crackers in a ziplock bag beside the bed for a quick snack. Or have your partner bring you a weak cup of
tea and dry toast to bed before you get up.
Joan Donley's Compendium for a Healthy Pregnancy and a Normal Birthis a very useful guide book for pregnancy. Joan's
references to statistics include that 360 NZ babies are born each year with impairments caused by maternal
consumption of alcohol and that cigarette smoke contains an estimated 3800 chemicals.
A quote Joan used:
"The area in which a woman can exert the most influence over the outcome of her pregnancy is nutrition"
We often forget the food we eat is the fuel for our body; cells need certain minerals and vitamins to function
The present recommendation is to take folic acid daily for 4 weeks before conception until 3 months post conception
to help prevent spina bifida. Please speak to your LMC (Doctor, Midwife) or pharmacist about this.
Try to avoid sugar or sweet foods as they tend to quickly raise the blood sugar levels initially making the woman
feel better but then the blood sugar level may drop suddenly making her feel much worse.
Keep blood sugar levels constant by eating small frequent meals throughout the day.
Sipping plenty of fresh water or clear fluids in between meal times lessons the load on the stomach.
Women report that brushing their teeth or thinking about brushing their teeth makes them nauseous. So leave this to
between meals - you may have to do it in stages. Front - stop, top \-stop, back-stop, bottom - stop
Sides \-finish.Choose a toothpaste that has a very light minty flavor.
Remember this won't last forever it is normal in pregnancy and you soon start to feel well again. Every person is an
individual so what works for one woman may not work for the next.
Here is a list of things you may want to try:
- Smell a fresh lemon just before eating
- Travel sickness wrist bands based on acupressure point in the wrist - can be effective.
- Eat unsweetened baby food such as pureed apple purchased in a jar or can - so you can lift the lid and eat it
- Small tins of baked beans, baby apple or vegetables can easily fit into a handbag for when you are out or at
- Try placing crackers or dry bread in a small ziplock bag for when you are in bed at night or out visiting or
shopping or at work.
- Smell a fresh lemon just before eating.
- Use gloves on your hands when preparing or cooking so they don't smell the food after you have eaten.
- Avoid spicy, fatty, or strong smelling foods.
- Avoid or reduce your tea and coffee intake.
- Avoid all alcohol!
- Avoid fizzy drinks - replace with water or milk.
- Rest well - a short power nap in the afternoon will help and go to bed early by 10pm at night.
- Lighten your social calendar and stay at home in the evenings.
- If you have small children or a toddler to care for - try to rest when they rest or have a friend help.
- Ask your partner to change nappies or feed the toddler when they are home.
- Explain that mummy is feeling unwell and needs lots of rest.
- If going in the car makes you unwell - sit by the air vent or open window - stop often.
- Avoid hot crowded places - give yourself plenty of fresh air.
Don't under-estimate the value of eating just 1 teaspoon of liquid or food at a time. (keep trying!)
If you are vomiting:
- Suck ice cubes
- Try travel sickness wrist bands based on acupressure point in the wrist - may ease it a bit.
- Sip lucozade or powerade to replace electrolytes.
- Sip unsweetened apple juice or eat apple puree.
- Suck ice cubes.
- Try nibbling at crackers or dry toasted bread every 15-30 minutes in the day time.
- Carry a water bottle with you at all times and sip it every 10-15 minutes.
- Take a couple of minutes to breathe in the fresh outside air every couple of hours in the day time.
- Hold your nose or using a soft clothes peg on it just before eating or cooking a meal.
- Having someone else prepare and serve the meal.
- Grocery shopping may be better done on line or done by a partner.
- Avoid the meat aisle or soap/determent aisle if the smell triggers you.
- Carry a sick bag or bowl with you - have a spare in the car or your desk at work.
- Hypnotherapy may help.
- Acupuncture may help.
- Homeopathy may help.
- Reduce your social life and rest or sleep as much as you can.
- If you are working you may not be able to keep it a secret for long.
- See if you can rest in the sickroom at lunch times for a short rest or nap.
- Try going for short walks in your lunch hour.
- If you are on public transport take a sick bag - you may want to consider starting or finishing work a little
earlier to avoid the rush hour and being crammed into a bus or train.
Look for signs of dehydration: dark colored urine, breath that smells like nail polish remover, dry skin caused by an
inability to keep any food or water down, fuzzy or muddled thinking.
Seek immediate medical help from your midwife or your Doctor. Or go to your hospital for rehydration therapy with an
intravenous drip. A small amount of women (1%) suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum. They need specialist medical help
with anti-nausea medication, hydration therapy etc
Finding a Lead Maternity Carer (LMCs)
Book early with a midwife and for antenatal classes.
The 0800 MUM 2 BE Maternity Consumer phone line is run by the Ministry of Health.
The 0800 line has a person answering the phone between 9am and 2pm Monday to Friday. Voicemail is available to leave
a message after hours and all messages will be responded to accordingly. The 0800 line supplies lists of Lead
Maternity Carers (LMCs) for requested areas. The phone line does not give counseling, midwifery or medical advice.
For maternity consumers requiring information regarding pregnancy care and other information contacts, through their
local Public Health Provider or order online at http://www.healthed.govt.nz
A free Pregnancy booklet is available.
LMCs and Medical Centres can obtain the Your Pregnancy booklet.
For more information on finding a Midwife see our http://www.babywebnz.org.nz/display/BabyWebNZ/Find+A+Midwife