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The first days and weeks of pregnancy are a critical time in the life of the developing child. Even tiny amounts of DNA-damaging teratogens can cause damage to the embryo or even induce spontaneous abortion.

Morning Sickness Is Your Body's Way of Keeping Baby Safe

The first days and weeks of pregnancy are a critical time in the life of the developing child. Even tiny amounts of DNA-damaging teratogens can cause damage to the embryo or even induce spontaneous abortion. Certain herbs and spices, as well as some nutritional supplements, contain substances that can be harmful to the baby even in the two weeks before a woman knows she is pregnant.

morning_sickness.pngFortunately, nature provides an early warning system for expectant mothers. This early warning system is morning sickness. Known in its extreme form as hyperemesis gravidarum, literally "excessive throwing up during pregnancy," this combination of nausea and vomiting affects up to 90 per cent of women during their first trimester. And although the condition is known as morning sickness, only about 2 per cent of women experience symptoms exclusively in the morning. About 80 per cent of expectant mothers endure morning sickness at all hours of the night and day. Symptoms are more severe:

•    For the first child,
•    When the unborn baby is female (due to increased estrogen levels),
•   When the mother is exposed to drinking water contaminated with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (very common in Central America, especially Nicaragua), and
•    When the mother has over-active thyroid.

Fortunately, the symptoms tend to go away after the embryo has developed all its internal organs. Many scientists believe that morning sickness is the way the body ensures the embryo is not damaged by any contaminants in food, water, herbs, or spices. The herb ginger is safe for baby and helps relieve symptoms, but the most serious problems from the use of herbs and spices during early pregnancy is due not to the herbs and spices themselves but due to common contaminants. If you make a habit of using certified organic herbs and spices, this will never be a problem for you. One commonly used women's herb, however, is extremely detrimental during pregnancy and also for mothers who breastfeed their babies.

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