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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.
Fortunately, 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.