What Does Nausea Feel Like?

One of the early signs of pregnancy is nausea, and many expectant mothers experience nausea during early pregnancy. Nausea is usually a common symptom throughout the first trimester or even longer, and it is typically the most complained about symptom that women report. Fortunately, even though nausea can be terribly uncomfortable, it is not harmful to you or your baby. Not surprisingly, first time mothers want to know.

What Does Nausea Feel Like?

Nausea, or "morning sickness", is usually worse in the mornings and can sometimes last all day.

Pregnant women describe morning sickness as resembling motion sickness, indigestion, hunger pains, and dry heaves. Unfortunately for some mothers, it may feel like food poisoning leaving them sick and vomiting several times a day. Nausea is also triggered by an increased sensitivity to certain tastes and odors, such as fish or the smell of raw meat. When pregnant women were asked, what does nausea feel like? This is what they shared:

Experiences of Pregnant Women

"I was absolutely miserable for the first six weeks. It was a constant urge to vomit accompanied with hunger pains every morning. I learned that after eating some jello or plain crackers, the nausea became more manageable. However, this may not work for everyone, because a friend of mine got sick every time she tried to eat." - Lucy, 22

"I used to spill my guts in the mornings and evenings, even before I knew I was pregnant. My husband was afraid to even approach me when I got sick, poor thing, he thought he was the problem. However the real morning sickness didn't start until after I was six or seven weeks pregnant, then I couldn't look at, smell, or eat anything for four months.But after thinking about it, I realized that odors were triggering my bouts of nausea. The smell of eggs and garbage was making me nauseous, and by simply changing the breakfast menu over to cold cereal with milk and emptying the trash every day, my symptoms became less intense and frequent." - Gail 26

"The term 'morning sickness' doesn't always apply. For me it was an all-day event, and it didn't stop after the first trimester either. And the worst part was I never knew when it was going to hit. What does nausea feel like? The feeling reminded me of the dizziness I felt after a ride at the fair called the 'tilt A whirl'. The nausea sometimes felt like you had a bad case of the flu that lasted three months long, and you can just forget about getting anything done around the house." - Crystal. 24

Why Would I Experience Nausea in Pregnancy?

Nobody can say exactly what causes nausea during pregnancy. However, it is probably a combination of the many changes your body is going through and some of the possible causes could include:

  • Estrogen: The hormone estrogen increases rapidly during early pregnancy and may contribute to feelings of nausea.
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG): This hormone also increases during early pregnancy, and especially if the pregnancy is with twins. While not much is known about its contribution to nausea, the timing suggests that it might increase a mother's sensitivity to it.
  • Enhanced sensitivity to odors: It's very common for pregnant women to be overwhelmed by certain odors. Culprits can include eggs, raw meat, and fish that instantly trigger a gag reflex leading to vomiting.
  • Sensitive stomach: Many women experience sensitivity to some foods due to the changes in their bodies during early pregnancy.
  • Stress: Research suggests that high levels of stress can also cause nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.

When Does Nausea in Pregnancy Occur?

Besides the question of "what does nausea feel like" when it usually occurs in pregnancy is also one of the main concerns of pregnant women. Nausea usually begins from about 4 to 8 weeks from the day you get pregnant, and will end by about 13 or 14 weeks. Unfortunately, it can also extend well past the first trimester. Women differ as to how intense the nausea is, when it will hit them, and how long it will last. One more thing is that although people refer to the nausea that accompanies early pregnancy as "morning sickness", the truth is it can come at any time of day.

How to Make Yourself Feel Better

You probably already know some of the things that trigger your nausea. However, the following information may help you better adapt to the underlying issues that will help make yourself feel better.

  • Plenty of rest: You will need plenty of rest and relaxation to avoid any exhaustion that may stress you out. You may also want to consider taking some time off from work.
  • Stay hydrated: Make sure you drink small amounts of fluids more often throughout the day to avoid dehydration and a queasy stomach from drinking too much fluid at once.
  • Watch what you eat: Try to avoid greasy or spicy foods, and any other foods that have odor triggering your nausea.Foods high in carbohydratesand low in fat, such as breads, rice and pasta, work best.
  • Meals and snacks: Eat smaller portions during mealtime, and supplement it with snacks such as crackers, dry toast, and dry cereal throughout the day. The goal is to keep something on your stomach at all times so you don't get that empty feeling that could trigger your nausea.
  • Keep a journal: Keep a diary of the foods and odors that make you sick, and record the times of day when you are ill. This can help you avoid some of the foods and odors that disagree with you; and recording the time of day that you are nauseous could show a pattern that helps you take action before the event.
  • An empathetic ear: Find someone you can talk to about the issues you are facing. It could be your partner, your friend, or even your physician. Getting people involved will go a long way towards finding some solution that best fits your needs.

When to See a Doctor

Now that you know what does nausea feel like and that athough morning sickness is something most women can deal with on their own, You will need to contact your doctor if any of the conditions below apply:

  • If you have morning sickness and know you are not pregnant.
  • You find yourself skipping meals because you cannot eat or drink without vomiting.
  • If you develop a fever or have pains.
  • If your nausea and vomiting continue past 12 to 16 weeks of pregnancy.
  • If measures you are taking do not improve your morning sickness.
  • Rapid weight loss due to nausea and vomiting
  • If your vomit shows traces of blood, or course material resembling ground coffee.
  • You are vomiting more than three times per day.
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