Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
If you’re reading this you may know by now that “morning sickness” can be really “all-day sickness.” Morning sickness at night, yes! Nausea during pregnancy is one of the hallmark pregnancy symptoms that are just plain well nauseating-- but for good reason.
Morning sickness with a boy or girl? An old wives tale. Morning sickness can happen with either gender! Sorry, no gender prediction.
Read on to find out when morning sickness ends and tricks on how to stop morning sickness in early pregnancy and more about nausea during pregnancy.
★ WHAT IS MORNING SICKNESS?
The term “morning sickness” describes nausea and vomiting that can happen at any time during pregnancy. And morning sickness can be all day-- not just in the AM. It can actually happen during any time of the day or night. For most women, it usually hits during the first trimester and levels off 1-2 weeks into the second trimester.
Nausea during pregnancy is not fun. A woman’s heightened sense of smell can make it worse while having strong aversions to certain foods and smells. Even foods that you once loved can leave you feeling extra queasy.
★ HOW SOON DOES MORNING SICKNESS START?
Symptoms can begin as early as week 6 of pregnancy, while some moms experience it from weeks 7-9. Unfortunately, it may end closer or during the second trimester. It is actually one of the first signs of pregnancy.
★ HOW LONG DOES MORNING SICKNESS LAST?
For most pregnant women, morning sickness begins to subside around 12-16 weeks of pregnancy. Morning sickness peaks between weeks 10-16 and ends around weeks 15-16. Morning sickness is the worst at any time during the first trimester. For those expectant moms carrying multiples, it may last well into the third trimester.
★ MORNING SICKNESS SYMPTOMS INCLUDE
- A queasy feeling during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Women say it’s like bad car sickness.
- A queasy feeling that can be in the morning but can also pop up anytime during the day or night OR it can be all day.
- A strong dislike or aversion to foods or smells that can make you feel sick or throw up.
- An uneasy feeling can happen when hungry or after having eaten.
- Nauseous feeling accompanied by vomiting.
Luckily, morning sickness itself doesn’t harm the baby (or babies). Lack of nutrients (vomiting after meals/liquids) along with weight loss can be a more serious issue requiring medical attention. If you are experiencing any of that, seek help from your doctor so they can rule out hyperemesis gravidarum.
★ CAUSES OF MORNING SICKNESS
Morning sickness is a mystery. No one really knows what causes it, believe it or not! Some theories include:
- Increased levels of hCG, the pregnancy hormone, peaks around the time when morning sickness is the worst.
- A metallic type of taste that some women experience while pregnant.
- A heightened sense of smell (from pregnancy hormones) with smell aversions that lead to nauseous feelings.
- Excessive saliva, which increases nauseousness.
- Increased levels of hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, relax the muscles of the digestive tract and make digestion less efficient.
- Heartburn or reflux, which can happen during pregnancy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 50-90% of women experience nausea during pregnancy. Some experience morning sickness all day, every day, and some experience it sporadically. Some women may vomit while others won’t. Everyone's pregnancy journey is different.
There are some factors that can influence morning sickness, including:
Hormones can be tricky during pregnancy. Sometimes higher hormone levels mean more nausea. If a woman is carrying multiple babies she may experience more nausea than the “average” pregnant woman.
Low hormone levels may reduce nausea symptoms but you can also have normal hormone levels and experience some nausea. See, very tricky.
Fatigue and nausea are a double-edged sword. Any type of fatigue, whether it be physical or mental, can stimulate morning sickness symptoms. And on the other hand, morning sickness can increase exhaustion.
Generally, women who are first-time moms tend to experience more severe morning sickness symptoms. Quite possibly it may be because your body has never dealt with all of these hormones and other changes going on in your body before.
Of course, this isn't at all true for every pregnancy. Many women in their second and third pregnancies experience nausea just as much as their first time around.
Some research suggests that genetics play a role in whether or not you can have morning sickness. If your mom or even sister experienced nausea, there’s a good chance you may too. On the flip side, you can experience nausea and not have any type of family history of it.
★ MORNING SICKNESS RELIEF
The only true way to get relief from morning sickness is to wait it out! But, thankfully there are a few morning sickness remedies to help ease nausea:
GET RID OF OFF-PUTTING SMELLS
Pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell therefore anything that smells “weird” or “offensive” can trigger morning sickness or even puking. Even smells that you loved before like a favorite lotion or even a favorite food like peanut butter.
Tricks like opening windows when possible to air out any smells and simply staying away from anything or any food that can make you sick! If you’re in an office where people use the microwave for lunch -- try and be the first one to get your food and run out of there! At home, open windows, wash clothes with unscented soap, and use natural cleaners with a lemon or peppermint scent.
WEAR SEA-BAND WRISTLETS
These bands look a lot like sweatbands but have an area that puts pressure on acupressure points on your wrist that can help ease nausea. They are safe to use and require no medication. The sea-bands are sold at most drugstores.
REST & DE-STRESS
Sleep! It may be easier said than done, but sleep can help queasiness tremendously. Relaxation techniques like prenatal yoga or simply deep breathing can help ease tension, which can, in turn, help ease nausea. Carve out time for things that you love that tend to distract you like walking, painting, reading, or even journaling.
KEEP YOUR MOUTH FRESH!
Regularly brushing your teeth is most beneficial whether or not you are pregnant– but especially if you’re pregnant! Minty fresh toothpaste can help alleviate feelings of nausea or take a bad taste out of your mouth. Plus, if you’ve been vomiting from morning sickness, brushing your teeth can help prevent any long-term damage.
If your usual toothpaste contributes to nausea, try another type of mint, berry, or even vanilla flavor.
★ TAKE A PRENATAL VITAMIN MORNING SICKNESS
Prenatal vitamins that contain vitamin B6 can help ease nausea symptoms. Plus, it can help compensate for any nutrients that you are missing in your diet whether it be from vomiting or food aversions.
Feed Mom and Me Prenatal also contains added organic peppermint and ginger to help ease nausea. You can even open up the vitamin and add it to a smoothie. Click here for more info!
Always ask your practitioner about taking any additional supplements or prescribed medications for morning sickness.
★ FOODS THAT HELP WITH MORNING SICKNESS
Protein might be the key nutrient to help with nausea. Including protein with each meal and snack can definitely keep nausea at bay. For example, cheese or peanut butter with crackers or chicken soup.
Forgo greasy foods that can be difficult to digest or even keep down. Take note of everything that can make your nausea worse and steer clear of it (at least for now!).
Here are some foods that help with morning sickness:
- Bland, easy-to-digest foods like toast, some fruit, crackers, plain yogurt, frozen plain waffles or cereal or cold foods like yogurt pops or fruit ice pops.
- Almond or oat milk. A glass of cold milk, especially at night can help ease sickness.
- Soups, smoothies, shakes. Sometimes blended drinks and soups are just the easiest and best way to get both nutrients and calories. We love berry smoothies and chicken soup for pregnant women!
- Carbonated drinks and hot water with lemon. Carbonated drinks like seltzer and even some ginger ale can really help an upset stomach. Starting the day (or any time of day) with hot water with lemon can also help any stomach issues or nausea.
- Fruit! Not only is fruit high in nutrients, but it’s also high in water– which counts as hydration. Water packed fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe are great to enjoy either alone or with yogurt or cottage cheese (if you can handle them!). Citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit can also help ease nausea symptoms by eating or even just smelling them.
- Ginger has been proven to help ease pregnancy symptoms. Add it to your food (like salads or simple stir frys) or even just smell it. You can also add it to your hot lemon water and make ginger tea. Check the labels on ginger foods like ginger ale, ginger snaps, ginger candies to make sure it’s actually ginger in there!
For more on ginger check out our blog Ginger During Pregnancy.
★ TIPS THAT CAN HELP REDUCE NAUSEA AND VOMITING DURING PREGNANCY
Eat early. It sounds counterintuitive but you can become more nauseous when your stomach is empty so eat often and eat frequently (every 3-4 hours). Always have a snack with you like nuts or crackers. Consume snacks as soon as you wake up and a snack before bedtime and even if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Snacks before bed can look like peanut butter on crackers, cheese on crackers, cereal with milk, cheese stick, almonds, and fruit.
Plan small, frequent meals. Eating too much or even too little can cause queasiness. Aim to consume something every 3-4 hours, preferably with some type of protein. Smaller meals are easier to digest so you’re more likely to feel better throughout the day.
Keep a stash of snacks. Keep snacks everywhere from your purse to your car to your nightstand and even your desk at work. You just never know. Trail mix or cheese sticks are great on-the-go snacks.
Skips foods that make you want to vomit and aim for foods that make you happy. If a particular food makes you want to puke, steer clear away. For example, if you can’t stomach cheese, make sure to get your calcium from yogurt or dark greens and your protein from chicken or nuts.
Eat what you can keep down. That’s the most important thing to do when you’re not feeling well.
★ CAN MORNING SICKNESS HURT MY BABY?
Thankfully, no. While you may be experiencing pregnancy sickness, your baby is feeling fine just growing along! A tiny baby doesn’t have many nutritional needs yet, so you can get away with eating a few items plus taking a prenatal vitamin for now.
Try and stay hydrated throughout your pregnancy. Dark urine is a side effect of dehydration. Staying hydrated while pregnant helps your growing baby get the most nutrients possible.
If your nausea is continuous and you vomit several times a day, and feel like you may have extreme morning sickness, make sure to tell your OB.
★ IS IT BAD TO HAVE NO MORNING SICKNESS?
Pregnancy morning sickness may not be pleasant but it does give a pregnant woman some comfort knowing that the pregnancy is moving along. However, it is also perfectly fine if you are not experiencing any type of morning sickness. Approximately 25% of pregnant women do not experience morning sickness.