Vomiting in Pregnancy

Jan 9, 2024


― Dr. Nisha Aggarwal- Gynaecologist & Obstetrician‍

What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It’s a common condition affecting up to 70% of pregnant people in the first trimester of pregnancy (the first three months). Despite its name, “morning” sickness can happen at any time of the day. There are various at-home treatments for morning sickness, including diet and lifestyle changes. Some obstetricians recommend over-the-counter (OTC) medications for nausea. Symptoms tend to improve by the second trimester (beginning at 14 weeks) for most people.

How soon can morning sickness start?

It starts as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, but the exact timing varies. Most people experience signs of morning sickness before nine weeks of pregnancy.

When does morning sickness peak?

  • Morning sickness feels the worst for most people around eight to 10 weeks of pregnancy. However, this time varies, and not everyone’s symptoms “peak” at the same time.

How long does morning sickness last?

  • Morning sickness tends to improve or go away around the 13th week of pregnancy (the end of the first trimester). However, some people experience lingering symptoms through the beginning of the second trimester (weeks 14 to 27 in pregnancy). In rare cases, morning sickness occurs until the end of your pregnancy.

What are symptoms of morning sickness?

  • Heartburn or reflux.
  • Seasickness or motion sickness.
  • Something is stuck in their throat.
  • Hunger pangs.

What causes morning sickness?

  • The cause of morning sickness isn’t entirely known, but healthcare providers believe it’s a mix of physical and chemical changes. It may be caused by:
  • Low blood sugar.
  • An increase in pregnancy hormones like human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) or estrogen.
  • Blood pressure fluctuations.
  • Changes in metabolism.
  • Morning sickness may be worsened by:
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Being overtired.
  • Eating or smelling certain foods.
  • Motion sickness.
  • Heat or warm weather.

Can morning sickness become severe?

Yes. Most people with morning sickness feel nauseous for a short time each day and may vomit once or twice. In more severe cases of morning sickness, nausea can last several hours each day and vomiting occurs more than four times per day. This is a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum.

What can I do to reduce morning sickness?

Diet Changes 

  • Eat a few crackers or toast in the morning to help settle your stomach. Keep a few crackers next to your bed and eat a couple before getting up.
  • Eat several small meals a day instead of three large meals. Don’t skip meals.
  • Avoid spicy and fatty foods. Eat bland foods such as bananas, rice, dry toast, plain baked potato, gelatin, broth, eggs, or applesauce.
  • Eat nutritious, protein-rich snacks between meals, such as yogurt, peanut butter on apple slices or celery, cheese or nuts.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, throughout the day. Avoid caffeinated beverages.
  • Always carry a bag of snacks with you when you’re away from home.
  • Make tea with real grated ginger or try ginger candies.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Take your prenatal vitamins with a snack. If your prenatal vitamin contains iron, try taking it at bedtime. Talk with your doctor about other vitamin options.
  • Avoid odors, flickering lights and other situations that bother you and trigger your nausea.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Keep rooms well-ventilated, turn on a fan or go outside from time to time to get some fresh air.
  • Smell fresh, pleasant scents such as lemon, orange or mint.
  • Don’t lie down after eating.
  • Rinse your mouth after you vomit. This can help protect your teeth from the acid contained in your vomit.