Rx for Readers: How long will the nausea last?

I know that women usually feel better in the middle of their pregnancy, but how long will the nausea go on?

pregnant woman 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [illustrative])
pregnant woman 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [illustrative])
I am 24 years old and in the first trimester (seventh week) of my first pregnancy. During Passover, I started feeling morning sickness – nausea and tiredness but not vomiting – and can hardly eat anything except matza, tea and a bit of vegetables. I can’t bear to look at any other food or smell any of the cooked dishes I used to love. Can anything be done to help me? Is there any “trick” or natural thing I can do? If not, are there any prescription drugs that will help but not endanger the fetus? I’m afraid I’ll lose weight if this meager diet continues. I know that women usually feel better in the middle of their pregnancy, but how long will the nausea go on?
A.R., Tel Aviv
Dr. Raphael Pollack, a veteran obstetrician/ gynecologist and chairman of ob/gyn at the Bikur Cholim branch of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, replies:
Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy are a common complaint. Although it’s called “morning sickness,” the symptoms can occur at any time of the day or night, but usually it is worse after waking up. The cause is not clear, but it is important to realize that in a minority of cases it can be a harbinger of serious illness – for example, any kind of hepatitis. It is important to see a doctor so that certain basic laboratory investigations be performed to check whether there are any such problems.
Once all serious illnesses are ruled out, there are certain tips that may be useful. First, it is much more important for newly pregnant women to drink than to eat. It is possible to drink liquids that have sugar or honey dissolved in them to provide calories. An easy and usually accurate way to know if you’re getting enough fluids is to keep an eye on the color of your urine. It should not be dark colored, but as light as possible. If it is light, you are probably drinking enough fluids.
Other advice I can give you to cope with morning sickness is not to push yourself to eat; instead, concentrate on light foods like toast with honey or jam. Another tip is to have ice cream or popsicles (ice lollies). These provide liquids and calories. If you find yourself losing weight, go for assessment by your obstetrician.
If you want a prescription medication to alleviate the condition, go to your doctor. Pramin and Zofran are usually prescribed, and risks are minimal.
The good news for expectant mothers is that morning sickness is considered a good prognostic sign of a healthy fetus, and that though they may suffer in the early stages, the symptoms mean they are more likely to carry successfully.
And the unpleasant complaint usually ends by the end of the first trimester.
My older children, who are now aged six and four, were both attached to security blankets and stuffed animals until the age of two and a half, and my youngest, who is at that age now, continues to hold his teddy bear.
Does this serve a purpose, or should I try to get him to give it up? Like the others, my youngest doesn’t like when I wash his bear, as it then loses its odor. I try to take it away when he isn’t looking and wash it, but when he gets it back, he always knows and protests. I thought that just from a cleanliness point of view, I should stop the habit. What do experts advise?
C.T., Jerusalem
Prof. Alan Apter, head of the department of psychological medicine at Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel in Petah Tikva, comments:
What you describe is a normal stage in child development involving a “transitional object,” named by the famous British pediatrician Donald Winnicott. These objects represent a stage in which the child is gradually becoming independent and these “objects” exist half in reality and half in their imagination – a “transitional space.” The bottom line is that the beloved objects will disappear by themselves.
They should not even be washed if not absolutely necessary. Don’t worry or try to take them away from the child. Instead, let him separate from it by himself.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting.
Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 91000, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538- 9527, or e-mail it to jsiegel@jpost.com, including your initials, age and place of residence.