The first few weeks of pregnancy can be an overwhelming, confusing and exciting time. Pregnant women go through a lot of physical and emotional changes, especially in the first trimester. Each day can seem like a new journey in itself, with new pregnancy symptoms.
Morning sickness is one of the most well-known pregnancy symptoms. Even though it brings on feelings of nausea and vomiting, it can be reassuring for those who have been wondering if they’re pregnant. However, this symptom can also be quite miserable for moms-to-be. No one wants to feel nauseous, but it’s natural, and there are remedies available.
Moms experiencing morning sickness are not alone. In fact, about 70% of pregnant women will likely have morning sickness at some point in the first trimester. Fortunately, morning sickness does not pose any risk to a baby or the mom-to-be.
When Does Morning Sickness Start?
Morning sickness is one of the first tell-tale signs of pregnancy if the expecting mom didn’t take a pregnancy test yet. The symptoms of morning sickness can begin to appear in the fifth week of pregnancy. Commonly, though, it appears in the sixth week, about two weeks after a missed period.
The symptoms can appear gradually, or they may suddenly appear overnight. For example, a mom-to-be could start having food aversions or may feel nauseous with certain smells. The aversions may progress to nausea and vomiting when she eats that food or smells something. On the other hand, an expectant mother may wake up one morning and feel nauseated without any warning.
Feelings of nausea or vomiting vary for each woman when it starts and the associated symptoms. Some women may not experience morning sickness at all. Additionally, despite the name, morning sickness can happen at any time during the day. Pregnant women may wake up in the morning feeling great, but by the time afternoon rolls around, nausea begins.
Causes of Morning Sickness
What causes morning sickness? There’s some reasoning behind feeling nauseated and vomiting for a few weeks during pregnancy. However, the exact cause of morning sickness isn’t well understood.
Doctors usually peg morning sickness on the changing hormones in a woman’s body during pregnancy. A pregnancy hormone called hCG reaches its peak level usually when morning sickness is at its worst. Additionally, other hormones like progesterone and estrogen increase in early pregnancy, making it increasingly difficult for the body to digest food.
Besides the hormones, an increase in stress, sensitivity, fatigue and first-time pregnancy could lead to upset stomachs and food or smell aversions. Stress may even worsen the condition, leading to fatigue, which both contribute to nausea. If a pregnant woman’s mother had morning sickness during pregnancy, that could also increase the woman’s chances of having it.
When Does Morning Sickness End?
Morning sickness will end at some point in the pregnancy. The peak of morning sickness occurs between 8-11 weeks, and it should fade by the end of the first trimester. However, some women may continue to experience morning sickness in their second or even final trimesters.
Women who have longer-lasting nausea and vomiting may be more sensitive to the hormonal changes during pregnancy. Additionally, they may just have a more delicate and sensitive stomach.
Easing the Symptoms of Morning Sickness
Fortunately, there are some ways to ease the symptoms associated with morning sickness. Below are a few remedies to offer relief:
- Get rid of smells that trigger nausea. Microwaving food typically contains the scent, and opening the windows allows the aromas to leave the home. Staying away from any places with smells prone to making a pregnant mother sick can minimize the chances of nausea.
- Eat protein and carbohydrates. Other foods, like ones with a lot of grease, can make someone feel even sicker to their stomach.
- Drink plenty of fluids in small amounts. Keeping water and ginger tea at the ready and slowly sipping it can ease nausea.
- Getting rest and de-stressing can also help relieve morning sickness. Low-impact exercise is also great for keeping nausea at bay.
- For women who have severe morning sickness, they can ask their doctor for morning sickness medication.
Morning sickness isn’t the most fun part of pregnancy, but these remedies should help.
When to See a Doctor
Even though morning sickness is common, it’s uncommon to throw up multiple times every day. Expecting mothers who cannot seem to keep anything down may have hyperemesis gravidarum, which is a more severe form of morning sickness. If that’s the case, they should talk to their doctor about possible medications and bed rest.
A Normal Part of Pregnancy
Just like other symptoms of pregnancy, like a missed period and a growing bump, morning sickness is normal, too. While not all women experience it, it is relatively common and only lasts during the first trimester of pregnancy.