Pregnancy comes with some not so amazing little gifts along the way. A big one being morning sickness.
Pregnancy is amazing, for a whole host of different reasons – the main one being the birth of your beautiful baby! But the truth is, it also comes with some not-so-amazing little gifts along the way – we’re talking morning sickness.
When you're pregnant, your senses are heightened – like Spiderman. Unlike Spiderman, this makes you super sensitive to certain foods and smells. This can bring nausea and vomiting that’s known as morning sickness. Unfortunately, despite the name, morning sickness isn’t just reserved for the morning. It can hit at any time – day or night.
Morning sickness is not uncommon and up to 80% of pregnant people experience some nausea and/or vomiting during pregnancy, so you’re not alone! It’s unpleasant and can have a negative impact on your day-to-day life, so remember to rest up and listen to your body.
We’re here to support you by answering some of the most asked questions about morning sickness and giving you some top tips to cope with the symptoms of morning sickness.
When does morning sickness start?
Typically, morning sickness strikes between week six and nine of your first trimester – around the same time that cravings commonly start. Symptoms can appear gradually, with an increased aversion to certain foods and smell over time, or can seem to develop overnight, like a bad hangover.
Although every pregnancy is different, morning sickness symptoms are usually at their worst around week 10 or 12.
When does morning sickness end?
Although every pregnancy is unique, morning sickness symptoms will typically ease off between week 16 and 20 of your pregnancy.
How long does morning sickness last?
Most pregnant people will start experiencing nausea and vomiting caused by morning sickness from around six to nine weeks, and most will notice their symptoms ease at around 16 to 20 weeks.
Some experience morning sickness for longer and can see it last for several months or even the duration of their pregnancy. While uncommon, around one to three in every 100 pregnant people can experience a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum or HG throughout the entirety of their pregnancy. This can lead to severe dehydration and hospitalisation.
You should tell your midwife or doctor or contact the hospital as soon as possible if you…
- have tried self-help remedies and nothing has eased your symptoms
- can’t keep down any food or fluids for 24-48 hours
- aren’t passing any or very little urine and it’s dark in colour
- feel weak or faint and can’t stand up for any length of time.
What does morning sickness feel like?
Morning sickness affects every woman differently. Some feel nauseated for a short time each day and vomit once or twice. Others experience nausea that lasts several hours each day and they vomit more often.
Some people liken morning sickness to seasickness or car sickness accompanied by hunger pangs, and it can lead to strong aversions to certain smells and foods that can make you sick. Some report having a metallic taste in their mouth that causes them to feel unwell, and others report excess saliva which can enhance the feeling of queasiness.
Does everyone get morning sickness?
Around 80% of pregnant people experience morning sickness while pregnant. So, you can pretty much guarantee that at least one of your mom friends will understand what you’re going through.
However, everyone experiences symptoms in very different ways. Some avoid sickness altogether and just have the feeling of nausea throughout their first trimester. Others struggle to eat anything without being sick. If you’re in the second group, you should speak to your doctor or midwife.
Every pregnancy is different, and even if you’ve experienced morning sickness or food aversions in a previous pregnancy, that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily experience the same symptoms in this or future pregnancies.
Can morning sickness come and go?
Once you’ve gotten used to certain pregnancy symptoms, it can be a bit alarming when those symptoms stop or change. But many pregnancy symptoms can be erratic. You might notice swift changes in your mood, food cravings and even morning sickness – this is normal. One day you may feel totally fine and the next, the sickness may come back with a vengeance.
If you're worried that your pregnancy symptoms have subsided, you can always ask your doctor. But unpredictable and inconsistent morning sickness symptoms are normal and, most of the time, nothing to worry about.
What helps with morning sickness?
Let's run through some morning sickness remedies you can use to help relieve your symptoms.
Avoiding nausea triggers
This is your time to be picky about the food and smells around you. If you’re working in an office and Janet from HR brings a tuna sandwich for her lunch, let her know that that’s not cool. Anything to avoid nausea triggers is worth it, even if it does annoy Janet!
Choose your foods carefully
Easily digestible, non-greasy and even bland foods can be a great option for avoiding nausea and vomiting. You might find that your tastes change during different weeks of your pregnancy and that’s ok! Go with what you’re craving and feel comfortable with, and make sure your house and work space are clear of smells that you can’t stand.
Even though you might be visiting the loo much more often than you're used to, you still need to make sure you're keeping yourself hydrated through the day. It might seem a lot but try and aim for around 10 glasses of non-caffeinated liquids a day. After a while, it'll just become part of your daily routine – which is a great thing to keep with you after the birth of your little one.
Eating little and often
It can be a bit gruelling to finish a whole meal while you’re struggling with morning sickness, but sickness on an empty stomach just makes things worse. Try to eat little and often throughout the day. Bland snacks like crackers and dry toast are ideal for keeping your tummy full without triggering nausea.
Top morning sickness remedies
The following remedies may help to relieve morning sickness.
- Ginger: If you're not a lover of ginger, now is the time to wean yourself onto it. Ginger can ease symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Ginger tea, biscuits, supplements – there are a bunch of different methods you can try.
- Motion sickness bands: Available from most pharmacies, these bands put pressure on an acupressure point in the inner wrist and are designed to ease travel sickness, but they can also alleviate symptoms of morning sickness.
- Peppermint: Drinking peppermint tea can soothe and relax your gastric muscles and reduce cramps.
- Prenatal vitamins: If you find that swallowing your prenatal vitamins in the morning contributes to an upset stomach, try taking them in the evening with a small, healthy snack.
- Protein: Non-meat sources of protein, including dairy foods and nuts and seeds, can help to settle morning sickness symptoms.
- Scent therapy: Some pregnant people find that lightly scented essential oils can help ease nausea. You can try popping some chamomile, ginger, lemon, orange, or peppermint oil into a diffuser or dab a few drops onto a piece of cotton wool and inhale the soothing aroma.
- Sour foods: For some, sour or bitter foods like lemons and crisp green apples help to alleviate morning sickness. Try drinking a squeeze of lemon in some hot water.