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Morning Sickness – Causes, Treatments, and Remedies

about morning sicknessThis is a Guest Post.

Morning sickness (nausea and vomiting in pregnancy) is the bane of many pregnant women, and it can make your life miserable – especially in the first trimester. You may feel nauseous all the time, or you may be spending all of your time in the bathroom puking your guts out. The severity of this pregnancy symptom varies from woman to woman, and even from pregnancy to pregnancy. There’s no way to tell when morning sickness will strike, or how nauseous you’ll feel in the first trimester.

When Does Morning Sickness Begin?

Morning sickness can be one of the first symptoms that you experience in pregnancy. Some women can begin to feel nauseous and pukey at 6 weeks pregnant (which is roughly 2-3 weeks after conception), or earlier. For most women, the onset of their nausea and vomiting occurs at 9 or 10 weeks pregnant.

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (morning sickness) is one of the most universal symptoms that moms-to-be experience. Up to 90 percent of all expectant mothers will experience some degree of morning sickness. For a majority of women, they will experience the worst symptoms during the early hour mornings – hence the name “morning sickness.” But it’s also perfectly normal for you to experience nausea and vomiting at any time of day or even all day long.

How Long Does Morning Sickness Last?

There is also no set time of how long morning sickness will last for pregnant women. For a majority of pregnancies, morning sickness symptoms tend to peak (or gets better) around 11 to 13 weeks pregnant, and nausea and vomiting goes away for these women by the end of the first trimester. However, in 1 to 20 percent of all pregnancies, women experience morning sickness symptoms until the middle of their second trimester, around 22 weeks pregnant. In rare cases, women will have morning sickness until they deliver their child.

I know – That is the last thing you want to hear if you are experiencing morning sickness. Within the first week of vomiting or queasiness, most women feel like they’re about to lose their minds! After all, morning sickness is far from being a pleasant part of the overall pregnancy experience. Even if the payoff is worth it.

Morning Sickness – The Facts

No one wants to feel nauseous and queasy, but luckily, morning sickness doesn’t hurt your baby. It’s a normal pregnancy symptom, and it’s a sign that you have high levels of pregnancy hormones. Having morning sickness actually decreases your miscarriage risk. Women who do not experience morning sickness are at higher risk of a miscarriage in the first trimester.

Let’s look at some of the facts about morning sickness to better understand this pregnancy symptom. First, let’s lay down the general numbers on this condition:

  • Up to 90 percent of pregnant women experience morning sickness to some degree.
  • 50 percent of pregnant women have nausea and vomiting together.
  • 25 percent have only nausea. No vomiting.
  • A very lucky 10 percent never experience any nausea or vomiting.

When Does Morning Sickness Occur?

The name “morning sickness” is misleading. You can feel nauseous and queasy at any time of the day, or night. While some women only feel sick to their stomach during the morning hours (when morning sickness typically is the worst), many pregnant women feel nausea and/or vomiting at other times of the day, or all day long.

Then, “Why is it called morning sickness?” The term is likely a consequence of so many women having it in the morning, as well as in the afternoon and evening. That is where it starts, and sadly not where it ends. For the most part, this all day pregnancy symptom is normal. You will feel queasy at certain points of the day, but it will pass and leave you able to function. Sometimes, it is not this simple.

Women can suffer from severe morning sickness (a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum) – a debilitating condition that leaves the woman unable to cope with daily tasks. Pregnant women with hyperemesis gravidarum have severe nausea and vomiting, which means they may be unable to keep down foods. They may not gain any weight, and they can become so dehydrated that they require a hospital stay.

Fortunately, severe morning sickness is rare (2 percent). But if you suspect you have morning sickness more often than is normal, or if you are worried about your progress, speak to your OB/GYN. Normal morning sickness doesn’t harm your baby, but hyperemesis gravidarum can problems.

What Causes Morning Sickness?

No one knows exactly why most women feel so icky during the first trimester of pregnancy, but most doctors believe that morning sickness is caused by the many physical changes that occur in a pregnant woman’s body, such as:

  • Rapid increases in hormone levels
  • Increased sense of smell
  • Emotional reactions to pregnancy

Each of these pregnancy changes can contribute to nausea and/or vomiting. For example, you might be feeling fine but then encounter a smell your system disagrees with – such as bacon, or a strong perfume. Because of your pregnancy, you will be able to smell it more clearly, and so it will cause a violent physical reaction that can lead to dizziness or vomiting. Anyone who has ever walked through the seafood aisle at a local market when pregnant knows this well.

The mixed hormones levels shooting up in amount, such as hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin), estrogen, and progesterone are also likely culprits of morning sickness. They are the same hormones that can cause swelling (edema in pregnancy), hot flashes, emotional reactions, food cravings, and changes to your skin, hair and nails during pregnancy.

As your body begins to get used to the high levels of hormones, you will experience fewer morning sickness symptoms.

Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness

If you’re suffering from morning sickness and you need help getting by, you aren’t alone. One of the most frequent complaints by women in their first trimester (and sometimes second) is that they can’t handle the morning sickness. Not only is in intensely uncomfortable, but it is disruptive of their life, especially to women who have to work and can’t keep running to the bathroom to vomit all the time.

Thankfully, not every pregnant woman has to take medication to manage her morning sickness symptoms. There are a number of natural remedies you can try to get relief from your nausea and vomiting.

Many pregnant women and midwives swear by these home remedies for morning sickness:

  • Keep something on your stomach at all times. Many women crave carbs when they feel nauseated, but studies show high-protein foods work better.
  • Get up slowly in the morning instead of jumping out of bed quickly.
  • Simply avoid any foods or smells that make you feel sick to your stomach.
  • Eat bland foods. Avoid anything spicy, acidic, or fried.
  • Sip little bits of fluid between meals. Don’t drink enough at one time that you feel full. Try to drink a little over a quart of fluids each day to stay hydrated.
  • Get enough rest and distract your mind from the nausea by watching a movie or spending time with a friend.
  • Take your prenatal vitamins before bed or with food.
  • Ginger calms a queasy stomach in many people. Look for ginger ale made with real ginger or use fresh ginger to make tea.
  • Try hypnosis, acupuncture, or an acupressure band.
  • Keep something near your bed to eat first thing in the morning. When you first wake up you are most likely to feel nauseous. This is because your stomach is empty and your acids are acting up. A box of saltines and some bottled water are easy to keep around, and work wonders. Just make sure to speak to your doctor first so they know you are going to be using it.
  • Get Vitamin B6 tablets. These are well known for reducing morning sickness, and they are completely safe to take during pregnancy. They can be expensive, so if you ask your doctor they will usually prescribe it so insurance will pay to get them.

For more natural remedies for morning sickness, read: 10 Tips for Dealing and Surviving Morning Sickness.

Morning Sickness Relief with Medication

Sometimes these natural remedies just won’t work to help you feel better. This is especially true if you have a more severe form of morning sickness, or if you are reacting badly to your prenatal vitamins. In which case, you can speak to your doctor about your options.

Usually, doctors will prescribe you a simple anti-nausea medication that is safe for your baby during pregnancy. Of course, medications in pregnancy always run a small risk, so chemicals and medications are best avoided during pregnancy.

Here are a few medical options your doctor might suggest for morning sickness relief:

  • Emetrol – This is an over the counter medication that has been named as safe for pregnant and nursing women. It is affordable, and so you might be instructed to give it a try before going for prescription drugs.
  • Compazine – One of the most commonly prescribed medications for morning sickness, this is a general anti-nausea also used to treat sea sickness and vomiting during stomach illnesses.
  • Phenergan – This is usually used for more severe cases of morning sickness where the patient is still functional, but vomiting more than twice a day. It should never be taken with Compazine.
  • IV Treatments – In those cases where vomiting is so severe that nothing works, food and drink can’t be kept down and the patient is not gaining (or is losing) weight, they might be hospitalized. In that case, an IV drip with fluids and anti-nausea medications will be administered until the symptoms pass.

While morning sickness is mostly a nuisance for many women, it can be a real problem for others. If your case is extreme, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your doctor.


Special Thanks to My Guest Blogger.

Jessy is a health and wellness blogger for Life Insurance Finder, the free app to help you pick the best insurance plan.


You May Also Enjoy Reading…

My Agonizing Decision to Take Prescription Medicines for Severe Morning Sickness
Severe Morning Sickness is Genetic on Both Sides of Families
Medicine in Pregnancy: An Overview

About the author: This blog post was written by a guest contributor. If you’d like to guest post for Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies, please read my Guest Writing Policy for a guideline of what I am looking for. All guest posts need to be at least 500 words and be original to this site only.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • weight loss January 16, 2016, 7:13 pm

    Good post. I’m going through a few of these issues as well..

  • Kris January 14, 2016, 2:19 pm

    I have debilitating symptoms. Im only 5 weeks pregnant and i pee all day and night. Im up atleast 20 times per night. I have excessive saliva and mucus in my throat. I feel absolutely horrible. I have to stay in bed all day. I have lost 2 days at work..due to my excessive urination. Smells irritate me. I am worried these symptoms cause depression from no sleep. I dont go anywhere because i pee every 10 mins. This cant be normal.

  • Brenda July 15, 2013, 6:39 am

    I can’t believe these figures about the number of women experiencing morning sickness are true! 90%? I think it is a little bit overestimated. I know quite a lot of girls who didn’t have such problems/ Definitely more than 1 out of 10.

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  • Jessy Troy November 6, 2011, 9:51 am

    Thanks for featuring my guest post, DP! I am honored!

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