When Does Morning Sickness Start & How Long Does it Last?
70-80% of pregnant women experience morning sickness at some point during their pregnancy.
For many women, morning sickness symptoms start around week six of pregnancy and hit their peak in intensity and discomfort around week nine. Unfortunately, the label “morning sickness” is not very accurate, since pregnant women can experience the symptoms—nausea and vomiting—any time of day or night. Around week 12 symptoms start to subside and often cease in week 14, though morning sickness can persist into the second trimester. In rare cases, morning sickness may last throughout the entirety of your pregnancy.
What Causes Morning Sickness During Pregnancy?
Experts are not entirely clear on the cause of morning sickness, but increased pregnancy hormones in your body are thought to play a role. Other factors in morning sickness include:
- Feeling run down or tired
- Travel (if you have motion sickness)
- Certain foods, such as spicy and greasy dishes, which can make the problem worse
- Carrying twins or triplets (which is more likely to bring on morning sickness due to higher hormone levels)
Morning Sickness Remedies & Relief
Although morning sickness is quite common and usually not harmful to you or your baby, you’ll want to find ways to get relief. These strategies can help.
Eat to Calm Pregnancy Queasiness
- Try munching on a few crackers to help calm your stomach before you get out of bed—consider keeping a few on your nightstand for easy morning snacking.
- Instead of three big meals, aim for six smaller mini‐meals, and try not to skip meals.
- Keep healthy snacks available for snacking throughout the day to avoid an empty stomach.
- Skip spicy and greasy foods that can be morning sickness triggers.
- See if ginger helps. Some pregnant women find relief with ginger products, such as ginger tea, soda, and candy.
- Other tried-and-true tummy-soothing foods work for morning sickness too—keep bananas, crackers, toast, and applesauce available to eat when your stomach feels too sour for something else.
- Bubbly or subtly sweet cold drinks may help ease queasiness while keeping you hydrated and providing calories you may be missing from eating solids.
- If odors bother you, ask your spouse or friends to cook for you. If you’re doing the cooking, be sure to open the windows and turn on the fan to help eliminate odors.
Get your rest and keep comfortable.
- Nap throughout the day and try and get a full night’s sleep—fatigue can trigger morning sickness symptoms.
- Get out of bed slowly in the morning. Take your time waking up and ease into your day without a rush.
- Stay in cool‐temperature places; heat can contribute to the nausea.
Change your prenatal supplement timing.
- Taking your prenatal vitamin in the morning or on an empty stomach may worsen feelings of nausea. Try taking it with a snack or meal or take it before bed.
- Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy after taking the vitamin may also help with queasiness.
Be sure to stay hydrated.
- Drink small amounts of liquid all day long. Staying hydrated is important during pregnancy, and vomiting can increase your risk of dehydration.
- Focus on drinking water to stay hydrated.
- If you can’t tolerate liquids, try sucking on ice chips.
Try alternative approaches for morning sickness.
- The acupressure wrist brands that many people use when traveling can help relieve morning sickness symptoms for some women.
- For a more holistic approach, talk to your doctor about acupuncture, which gives some women relief. Be sure to find an acupuncturist who has training in pregnancy issues.
Could it Be Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG)?
If you are throwing up excessively, it’s wise to check with your doctor to see if you have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which is basically extreme morning sickness.
Beyond the symptoms of typical morning sickness, HG may include excessive nausea that won’t subside, weight loss, not being able to keep any food down, and extreme dehydration. Check with your medical provider if you have any of these symptoms. Your doctor will want to make sure you’re not dehydrated and that you and your baby are getting the nutrients you need.
When to go to Your Doctor for Morning Sickness
You should call your doctor about your morning sickness if:
- Your nausea or vomiting is severe, meaning you can't keep fluids down
- You can only create a small amount of dark urine (or stop urinating), which is an indicator of dehydration
- You are dizzy or faint
- You have a racing heartbeat
- You are vomiting blood
While morning sickness can be uncomfortable, it doesn’t need to get in the way of the more fun, exciting things you can do while you are planning for the arrival of baby. Explore pointers for eating in the first trimester, staying fit and active throughout pregnancy.