The First Trimester of Pregnancy: An Overview
Nausea and Vomiting
Truly, nothing is as miserable in early pregnancy as severe nausea. Although many women are fortunate to experience no nausea at all, many suffer greatly. Usually when the amount of rising hCG plateaus at about 10 weeks, the nausea subsides. It can extend into the second trimester, but by then it is much more tolerable.
Some think that this unglamorous aspect of pregnancy historically has survival value for our species. Food aversions may have helped women avoid eating harmful substances. And of course, aversions are also closely related to cravings, the opposite swing of the pendulum.
Hyperemisis (extreme nausea) can be severe and dangerous. In a minority of extreme cases, pregnant women need to be hospitalized overnight to be rehydrated (given IV replacement fluids to prevent dehydration). This is usually enough to get a woman stable enough to begin eating again.
However, if a woman continues losing weight and isn’t helped by hospitalization, then hyperthyroidism must be ruled out. After that, a consulting gastroenterologist will need to further rule out dysentery, parasites, and other exotic causes. Ultimately, doctors may recommend Zofran, which can be administered with a wearable pump.
So, what’s the final word? All the possible dangers we’ve discussed are much more the exception than the rule. If you’ve been pregnant before, then you know exactly what I mean. If this is your first, take good care of yourself and your baby—and enjoy this wonderful experience.
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