The queasiness that comes on early in pregnancy is quite common and normal. Here’s what causes it, plus ways to help you overcome it.

Morning sickness during pregnancy is common: As many as 70 to 80 percent of pregnant women experience this condition. 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. For many women, the symptoms start around week six of pregnancy and subside around week 12.

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:

  • Stress
  • 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 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.
  • Instead of three big meals, aim for six smaller mini‐meals, and try not to skip meals.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.

Extreme Morning Sickness Symptoms

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.