Dr Chee Jing Jye, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Specialist from Mount Elizabeth Hospital answers your pregnancy related questions.
WORDS DR CHEE JIN JYE
I am nine weeks pregnant, and I feel very nauseated all the time. Every food and smell makes me throw up and I can’t even drink water without throwing up! I’ve lost some weight, too. Is all this normal and will my baby be affected?
Nausea is common in early pregnancy. This is the body’s response to high levels of hormones produced by the pregnancy.
In addition to nausea, there is often increased sensitivity in the pregnant woman’s sense of smell and taste, which accounts for some women having nausea in response to even the smell of certain food.
By nine weeks of pregnancy, scans should have been done to ensure the pregnancy is progressing well. This is to exclude certain unusual pregnancy conditions may result in severe nausea like molar pregnancy or multiple pregnancy.
If ultrasound scans have confirmed a normal pregnancy, the symptoms of nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy could often be a source of reassurance that the pregnancy is progressing well.
Losing weight in early pregnancy due to decreased food intake as a result of loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting is not uncommon. Pregnant women do not need to be unduly worried.
Frontline management of nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy should be dietary modification. First and foremost, have small frequent meals, rather than three large main meals. Eat 50 to 70 per cent of the normal meal portion for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have small snacks in between meals. Secondly, ensure adequate hydration. Even if the pregnant woman is unable to retain food, she must be able to at least drink enough fluids. Fluids need not be just plain water, which may be too bland for the liking of some pregnant women in early pregnancy. Good alternatives include soup, juice, milk, isotonic drinks etc. Thirdly, if the woman still feels extremely nauseated in spite of the above measures, she can consider taking oral medication to reduce the nausea.
In extreme cases where the woman is unable to tolerate even sips of fluid and becomes dehydrated, administration of fluids through her veins may be necessary.
Usually the symptoms of nausea and vomiting will resolve by 12 weeks of pregnancy. Weight loss in early pregnancy will not affect the foetal development and growth.