Morning Sickness

Overview

What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness refers to the nausea and vomiting that some women have when they become pregnant. Morning sickness is very common in early pregnancy — it affects more than half of all pregnant women.

Symptoms

I’m nauseous all day. Is it morning sickness?

Although morning sickness is more common in the morning, it can occur at any time of the day or night.

How long will morning sickness last?

Morning sickness tends to go away later in pregnancy, and it’s almost always gone by the second trimester (after 13 weeks, or during the fourth month). However, keep in mind that there isn’t a set time for it to stop because each woman is different and each pregnancy is different.

Will morning sickness hurt my baby?

Morning sickness can only become a problem for your baby if you can’t keep down any foods or fluids and you begin to lose a lot of weight. You should call your doctor if you:

  • Have lost more than 2 pounds

  • Vomit blood (which can appear bright red or black)

  • Have vomited more than 4 times in 1 day

  • Have not been able to keep fluids down for more than 1 day

Causes & Risk Factors

What causes morning sickness?

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes morning sickness, but it likely is caused by the sudden increase in hormones during pregnancy.

Treatment

How is morning sickness treated?

Treatment usually isn’t necessary for morning sickness, but there are some things you can do to help feel better.

Tips to relieve morning sickness

  • Eat small meals throughout the day so that you’re never too full or too hungry.

  • Avoid rich, spicy, greasy or fatty foods.

  • Avoid foods with smells that bother you or make you nauseous.

  • Eat more carbohydrates (plain baked potato, white rice or dry toast).

  • Eat bland foods when you feel nauseous (such as saltine crackers, gelatin desserts such as Jell-O, popsicles, chicken broths, ginger ale and pretzels).

  • The iron in prenatal vitamins can bother some women. If you think your morning sickness is related to your vitamins, talk with your doctor and he or she may change your vitamins.

  • Before getting out of bed in the morning, eat a few saltine crackers to calm your stomach.

  • Wearing "acupressure" wrist bands, which are sometimes used by passengers on boats to prevent sea sickness, may help some women who have morning sickness. You can buy the bands at drugstores, boating stores or travel agencies.

If these tips don’t provide some relief from morning sickness, talk to your doctor. Keep in mind that morning sickness does not mean your baby is sick.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • I’m pregnant and I feel ill all the time. Is this normal?

  • What can I do to help relieve my symptoms?

  • What would be an indication that my morning sickness is putting my baby at risk?

  • My morning sickness is severe. Do I need medicine?

  • What are the risks and benefits of taking this medicine?

  • I’m worried that my baby isn’t getting enough nutrients. Do I need a different prenatal vitamin? Should I make changes to my diet?