Morning sickness is extremely common during pregnancy, and can often be a primary source of discomfort as a woman progresses through early pregnancy. In today’s article, we’ll discuss when morning sickness usually begins, as well as outline a few helpful tips for successfully weathering this symptom of early pregnancy.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness, also referred to as nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), is a common symptom of pregnancy that involves nausea or vomiting. Research is still not completely clear on why women have morning sickness during early pregnancy, but some suspect that it may be the body’s way of protecting a developing baby against foodborne illnesses or exposure to other chemicals found in foods. With more than 50% of women experiencing it to some degree, morning sickness is generally not harmful and is, in fact, often an early indicator of a healthy pregnancy.
How Long Does Morning Sickness Last?
For most women, morning sickness lasts from weeks 6 to 12. Most women begin experiencing symptoms around weeks 6-8. It’s very uncommon for women to experience any morning sickness before the six-week mark. Morning sickness typically ends during weeks 12-14. It is uncommon for women to experience morning sickness after week 14 of pregnancy.
Symptoms Vary from Pregnancy to Pregnancy
Morning sickness will vary from woman to woman and even from pregnancy to pregnancy (some women may, for example, experience significant morning sickness with their first child, only to not experience any at all in their next pregnancy). Despite its name, it can occur during any time of the day—not just in the morning—and can be triggered by certain smells or even tastes.
How to Treat Morning Sickness
For a small percentage of women (about 10%), morning sickness persists for the entire length of pregnancy. Some even experience an extreme form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) that results in extreme nausea and vomiting to the point of dehydration and weight-loss. HG is usually marked by:
- Nausea that doesn’t subside
- Loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy body weight (more than 10 pounds)
- Dehydration that causes constipation
- Nutritional disorders, such as vitamin B1, vitamin B6, or vitamin B12 deficiencies
- Metabolic imbalances such as metabolic ketoacidosis or thyrotoxicosis
- Physical and emotional stress
- Difficulty with activities of daily living
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should contact your ob-gyn immediately. Most women, however, are able to stick it out through the discomfort and begin feeling much better after week 16. Normal morning sickness can usually be alleviated or made less uncomfortable using a few helpful remedies:
- Drinking plenty of water through the day (avoiding it with your meals)
- Drinking ginger tea and ginger ale or snacking on candied ginger
- Taking naps and getting plenty of sleep
- Airing out your home or work-space to help clear out any nauseating smells
- Avoiding eating or preparing spicy or fragrant foods
- Sit upright immediately after a meal, rather than lying down
- Take vitamins during the evening rather than the day
- Avoid heat (which often triggers nausea)
- Avoid skipping meals
If you are experiencing severe and persistent nausea that is unresponsive to the above remedies, you should contact your obstetrician, as they may be able to recommend supplements (such as vitamin B6) to help. We also recommend that you talk to your doctor before taking any supplement, medication, or herb for morning sickness, as certain substances can be harmful to pregnant women. You should let your physician know if you experience morning sickness symptoms that stop abruptly during the first trimester.
North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach
If morning sickness is a part of your pregnancy journey, rest assured that it’s generally not harmful to you or your growing baby. Though it can be very uncomfortable, it helps to keep a positive attitude and remember that it usually goes away after 3 to 4 months. At North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach, we are committed to providing exceptional healthcare through a full range of obstetric and gynecological services in Jacksonville. We are a family-oriented practice that seeks to give individualized attention to every patient, and our all-female delivery team of board-certified ob-gyn specialists offers complete obstetrical care for both mom and baby. If you’d like more information about how to treat morning sickness, or if you are interested in scheduling an appointment with us, contact us today!