Pregnancy - Morning Sickness

Morning Sickness During Pregnancy

Pregnancy and morning sickness come almost hand-in-hand. Approximately 85% - 95% (depending on whose study or article you read) pregnant moms suffer some degree of morning sickness during the first trimester. Like anything else in a pregnancy, morning sickness differs from pregnancy to pregnancy. Some moms have no trouble with it at all, while some suffer through their entire pregnancy with bouts of morning sickness. Some moms suffer 24-hour nausea, and others are so sick that they require hospitalization because of dehydration caused by continuous vomiting.

What is “Morning Sickness”?

Morning sickness (which is sometimes called “pregnancy sickness”) refers to pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. While the most common time expecting Mom’s experience morning sickness is in the morning (most likely due to the fact that the stomach is empty at the time and more prone to being queasy), morning sickness can happen anytime during the day, sometimes striking without warning. It can last for a few minutes or for several hours – for some moms, it can last all day. Morning sickness may be simple (or extreme!) nausea, and can be (but is not always) accompanied by vomiting.

When does Morning Sickness start?

Morning sickness is usually occurs during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, making its first appearance around the 4th - 6th week of pregnancy (this is when most Mom’s realize that what they are experiencing might not be a touch of the flu, but it might be time to take a pregnancy test). Symptoms end around the beginning of the second trimester for about half of pregnant moms who suffer from morning sickness. About half of pregnant mom’s who experience morning sickness in their pregnancy through parts of the second and third trimesters. A few unfortunate moms suffer from morning sickness through their entire pregnancy. It’s not uncommon for morning sickness to go away for the second trimester, and then make an encore appearance in the second half of the third trimester.

What Causes Morning Sickness?

There may be more than one specific cause of morning sickness. Common culprits that cause morning sickness include:

  1. Hormones: It’s believed that increased levels of hormones is directly related to morning sickness. The specific hormones believed to cause morning sickness are:
    • Estrogen. Estrogen levels can increase by up to a HUNDREDFOLD during pregnancy – that’s a lot of estrogen. Many scientist and doctors believe that this increase may be the cause of morning sickness for many women.
    • Progesterone (a steroid hormone). During pregnancy, progesterone relaxes the muscles in the uterus. While this helps prevent early childbirth, it may also relax the stomach, leading to excess stomach acids, and cause morning sickness symptoms.
    • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HcG). HcG is a hormone produced by the baby embryo soon after conception and later by the placenta. The presence of this hormone is believed by many to be the main cause of morning sickness.
  2. Physiological changes which take place in early pregnancy, including the changes in the way the body metabolizes carbohydrates.
  3. There is also research being done to see if morning sickness is the body’s way of letting mom know she needs to change her diet. Researchers and doctors believe that morning sickness may warn mom’s to eat bland diets during the first months of pregnancy as an evolutionary safety mechanism meant to keep women from eating foods that might be dangerous to the baby.

    Check out the following Washington Post article for more information regarding toxins and morning sickness
  4. Another cause of morning sickness can be Mom’s heightened sense of smell, and sensitivity to smells. This is a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” theory – does Mom suffer from morning sickness as a result of the sensitivity to smells, or is Mom sensitive to smells because of morning sickness?

What are morning sickness symptoms?

The symptoms of morning sickness are pretty basic, and range in severity from mom to mom and even pregnancy to pregnancy. You may be suffering from morning sickness if . . .

  • You feel nauseated or queasy during the day
  • You find yourself sensitive to smells

Are there any cures for morning sickness?

It’s one thing to know about morning sickness, it’s another thing to get rid of morning sickness. Morning sickness remedies have been around since women first started getting pregnant. Two of the most common cures for morning sickness are:

Saltine crackers are always recommended as a morning sickness cure – because most of the time, they work. The crackers are bland, and quickly absorb stomach acid which can cause the nauseated feeling experienced with morning sickness.
Ginger (in tea, candied or ginger ale form) has been used as a folk-remedy for centuries, and has now been scientifically proven to be an effective morning sickness remedy for many moms

Visit our articles Tips on How to Prevent Morning Sickness, and Morning Sickness Cures and Remedies for more tips on how to prevent and cure morning sickness.

Why do some women suffer from morning sickness more than others?

Like everything else in a pregnancy, morning sickness is different from Mom to Mom, and no two moms have the exact same experiences. Some of the factors that could determine whether you experience morning sickness or not, or the degree that you experience morning sickness include:

Your history:

  • Is this your first pregnancy? If so, you may be more prone to morning sickness than those moms who are pregnant with their second or third child.
  • If you had a sensitive stomach before pregnancy, you may be more likely to experience morning sickness during pregnancy.
  • You had nausea and vomiting in a previous pregnancy.
  • You have used the pill as a method of birth control and you experienced nausea as a side effect. This could indicate that your body is sensitive to estrogen.
  • You suffer from motion sickness.
  • You suffer from migraine headaches.

Your Genetic Background:

  • If your grandmother, mother or sisters had severe morning sickness, chances are you will, too.

This pregnancy:

  • Are you pregnant with twins or more? Moms of multiples report more nausea than moms of singletons.

Is there any risk associated with morning sickness?

The biggest risk of morning sickness are dehydration and malnutrition caused by the fact that you can’t eat, drink, or keep anything down. Visit our article The Risk of Morning Sickness for morning sickness risks and warning signs to look out for.

Contrary to a popular old wives tale, morning sickness does not increase the risk of miscarriage. As a matter of fact, several studies have shown that women who suffer morning sickness in pregnancy are less likely to suffer a miscarriage than those that do not experience morning sickness.

Should I Worry If Morning Sickness Doesn't Start for Me?

There are many, many pregnant women – and pregnancy graduates - who will say that you should count your blessings! While some people believe that morning sickness is a sign of a healthy pregnancy, not having morning does not mean that there is anything wrong with you, your baby or pregnancy. The vast majority women who experience no morning sickness symptoms carry to full term. Talk with your doctor about your concerns if you have any at all.

The information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. The information is NOT intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have.