Morning Sickness: Symptoms, Causes & Remedies

pregnant woman experiencing morning sickness symptoms

Pregnancy is an exciting time, and your body also changes daily as you support a growing baby. Morning sickness is a common pregnancy issue. Contrary to the name, it can happen in the morning or throughout the day, and cause disruption to your daily life.

We’re breaking down what you need to know about morning sickness, the most common symptoms and causes, and what you can do to possibly get relief.

What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness is nausea or vomiting during pregnancy. Morning sickness symptoms usually begin about five to six weeks after your last menstrual period and peak around nine weeks. While it subsides for most around 14 weeks of pregnancy, this isn’t always the case. Every pregnancy is different. No matter when your nausea subsides, remember that your body is doing amazing things.

The good news is that while mild morning sickness occurs in up to 90% of pregnancies, it does not hurt your baby in any way. It may even be a good sign:

  • It may indicate that all is well with you and your baby 
  • Your symptoms probably show that the placenta is making all the hormones needed for a healthy pregnancy 
  • Morning sickness might be related to a lower risk of miscarriage 

Morning sickness symptoms

While it varies from person to person, here are some common symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting any time of the day 
  • Dizziness and headaches 
  • Gastric reflux (stomach contents coming up into esophagus) 
  • Heartburn 

What causes morning sickness?

Morning sickness is usually caused by hormonal changes that lead to decreased stomach emptying. Factors that make symptoms worse include an increased sense of smell and gastric reflux. 

You may be at higher risk for morning sickness if: 

  • You’re having multiples (twins or more) 
  • You had severe morning sickness before 
  • You get motion sickness (car sick) 
  • You suffer from migraine headaches 
  • Your mother or sisters have experienced morning sickness 
  • You’ve felt sick when taking contraceptives that contain estrogen 
  • It’s your first pregnancy 
  • You are obese (BMI of 30 or more) 

Morning sickness remedies

To help treat nausea during pregnancy, the American Pregnancy Association outlines these tips:

  • Avoid trigger foods 
  • Eat frequent small meals 
  • Eat low-fat, high fiber foods 
  • Drink liquids at least 30 minutes before or after solid foods 
  • Drink cold, clear and carbonated or sour drinks 
  • Try ginger-ale, ginger tea or a ginger lollipop 
  • Drink less water/fluids with your meals  
  • Getting plenty of rest 
  • Take your prenatal vitamin with a snack or before going to bed 
  • Eat crackers or plain toast in the morning before getting out of bed to avoid moving around on an empty stomach 

Keep healthy snacks on hand such as nuts, fruits or crackers. 

Morning sickness medicine

There are some effective morning sickness medicines. Many experts recommend vitamin B6 and Unisom (doxalamine). A combination of the two (Diclegis) may be recommended. Check with your doctor before taking any medications.

Sometimes, women suffer from a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. It may become impossible for you to keep anything down and other prescriptions might be needed. If those don’t work, you might need to be hospitalized to protect your health and your baby.  

Call your ob-gyn if you have any of these signs and symptoms of dehydration:

  • You don’t have much urine and it is dark in color 
  • You can’t urinate (pee) 
  • You can’t keep liquids down 
  • You feel dizzy or faint when you stand up 
  • Your heart is racing 

While morning sickness is normally a mild discomfort during pregnancy, in rare cases it can become a more serious problem requiring medications and even hospitalization. Knowing what is and isn’t normal will help assure that you, and your baby, remain healthy.

Please note this content is for informational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider about your specific journey.