There are three possible reasons for a woman to be nauseated during breastfeeding. One of which is the rise of oxytocin level in a woman’s system. Another is due to nutritional deficiency. And lastly, it may indicate an impending pregnancy.
Oxytocin is the hormone released by the posterior pituitary gland that stimulates contraction of the uterus during childbirth and ejection of milk during nursing. It usually rises during lactation period. As a systemic reaction to its upsurge, nausea may seep in.
What causes nausea when breastfeeding?
A lactating woman, who does not take in sufficient amount of calories for herself and her baby may experience nausea as her body’s reaction to a significant decrease in her blood sugar level. Furthermore, the rise of the hormone, oxytocin, and resulting fatigue from babysitting makes her more prone for nausea. In some cases, this can go away by the end of 6 to 8 weeks of lactation.
Another indication of nausea is an impending pregnancy. A non-exclusive breastfeeding woman may have a higher possibility in getting pregnant at the earlier phase of lactation. During such a milestone, a woman’s nausea may be related to sensitivity to high level of the chorionic gonadotropin hormone produced by the troboplast cells, increased estrogen or progesterone levels, lowered maternal blood sugar levels caused by the needs of the developing embryo, lack of pyridoxine or Vitamin B6 and diminished gastric motility. This may be aggravated by fatigue and emotional disturbances associated to pregnancy.
How to prevent and manage nausea when breastfeeding
- A woman needs to increase her daily intake to compensate for the increased caloric demand needed for the development of a fetus in a pregnant woman, as well as for providing adequate nutrition to the breastfeeding infant during lactation.
- A pregnant woman is not supposed to go longer than 12 hours between meals to prevent hypoglycaemia. This may be adapted for a lactating mother as she is also compensating for the increased demand of a breastfeeding infant.
- Breastfeeding positions can be adjusted for comfort. Side-lying, for some, is a relaxing position when breastfeeding. Sitting down with legs elevated in a chair may work just fine for others.
- Vitamin and mineral supplement may be included in the woman’s diet, specifically Vitamin B6 and iron.
- Fluid intake should be increased.
- Manage fatigue through adequate rest. Sleep deprivation may contribute to its occurrence.
- Address emotional concerns related to pregnancy or breastfeeding to relieve the woman’s anxiety and fatigue that may trigger nausea.
- Always keep a snack available for when you get hungry. Dry crackers may be taken in between meals. This may reduce the possibility nausea as the blood sugar level is properly maintained. Late evening snacks may be needed as well.
Women with severe cases of nausea need to seek the help of a physician. Proper assessment may be undergone to determine the the cause of nausea when breastfeeding.
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