Learn more about pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, along with remedies that may help ease that queasy feeling.
Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting that occurs during pregnancy. And, despite its name, morning sickness can strike at any time of the day or night.
Many pregnant women have morning sickness, especially during the first trimester. But some women have morning sickness throughout pregnancy. Management options include various home remedies, such as snacking throughout the day and sipping ginger ale or taking over-the-counter medications to help relieve nausea.
Rarely, morning sickness is so severe that it progresses to a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. This is when someone with nausea and vomiting of pregnancy has severe symptoms that may cause severe dehydration or result in the loss of more than 5% of pre-pregnancy body weight. Hyperemesis gravidarum may require hospitalization and treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids, medications and rarely a feeding tube.
Common signs and symptoms of morning sickness include nausea and vomiting, often triggered by certain odors, spicy foods, heat, excess salivation or — often times — no triggers at all. Morning sickness is most common during the first trimester and usually begins by nine weeks after conception. Symptoms improve for most expectant mothers by the mid to late second trimester.
Contact your health care provider if:
The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown. Hormonal changes are thought to play a role in morning sickness. Rarely, severe or persistent nausea or vomiting may be caused by a medical condition unrelated to pregnancy — such as thyroid or liver disease.
Morning sickness can affect anyone who's pregnant, but it might be more likely if:
You might be more likely to experience hyperemesis gravidarum if:
Mild nausea and vomiting of pregnancy typically won't cause any complications to you or your baby.
If left untreated, severe nausea and vomiting can cause dehydration, an electrolyte imbalance, decreased urination and hospitalization. Research is mixed on whether hyperemesis gravidarum causes poor weight gain for your baby during your pregnancy.
There's no way to completely prevent morning sickness. However, avoiding triggers such as strong odors, excessive fatigue, spicy foods and foods high in sugar may help.
Morning sickness is typically diagnosed based on your signs and symptoms. If your health care provider suspects hyperemesis gravidarum, you may need a clinical exam and various urine and blood tests.
If your morning sickness symptoms persist, your health care provider may recommend vitamin B-6 supplements (pyridoxine), ginger and over- the-counter options such as doxylamine (Unisom) for management. If you still have symptoms, your health care provider may recommend prescription anti-nausea medications.
Moderate to severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy may cause dehydration and electrolyte, such as sodium or potassium, imbalance. Extra fluids and prescription medications are recommended for moderate to severe morning sickness.
Your doctor will talk about how often you have nausea, how many times you have vomited, whether you can keep down fluids, and whether you have tried home remedies. There are a number of prescription medications that are safe to take during pregnancy for nausea and vomiting. Your doctor will recommend a safe option, based on the severity of your symptoms.
Check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications or supplements during pregnancy.
If you have hyperemesis gravidarum, you may need to be treated with intravenous (IV) fluids and anti-nausea medications in the hospital.
To help relieve morning sickness:
Various alternative remedies have been suggested for morning sickness, including:
Some women might be tempted to try marijuana as a way to ease nausea if they live in a state where it's legal. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warns that pregnant women shouldn't use marijuana because the effects of the drug on mother and baby haven't been well-studied. Additionally, chronic marijuana use may result in a nausea and vomiting syndrome called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.
Check with your health care provider before using any herbal remedies or alternative treatments to relieve morning sickness.
You can usually wait until a routine prenatal appointment to talk to your doctor about morning sickness.
To prepare for your appointment:
Some basic questions to ask about morning sickness include:
Don't hesitate to ask follow-up questions as they occur to you during your appointment.
Some potential questions your health care provider might ask include:
May 15th, 2021