Morning Sickness: Causes, Symptoms & Relief


Morning sickness refers to a state or feelings of nausea, vomiting or sickness during the early part of pregnancy which occurs especially in the morning. Why is it called morning sickness? Simply because, it is a feeling of sickness; and it starts at the beginning of the day (not necessarily). For most women the signs appear during the start of the day but goes away as the day progresses, while some other may feel it either at the later part of the day or even the whole day.

It does not happen to all women in pregnancy. It may happen to some and not to others. According to an estimate, about 3 quarters of women feel morning sickness during the first three months of their pregnancy.

The earliest time it starts is normally four weeks or five weeks and in some cases as late as six weeks. All women do not experience the same starting time, or length. Some may feel it as early as four weeks, while other may start the feeling even after the 6th week. However, the majority of women get the nausea and vomiting feeling just about the first four weeks.

How long does morning sickness last?

There is no exact answer to that. Some women would get relief just about in two weeks after its appearance, while other may feel better in about 5 to 9 weeks, some around 14 weeks and some even later than that. Generally speaking, around 50% of pregnant women find themselves relieved from morning sickness by 14th week. While some other may take even a month or so longer. In a few other cases, it may become more severe, in which case, it is called as hyperemesis gracidarum. Such excessive cases of nausea and vomiting has been observed in a very small group of women which may lead to weight loss and dehydration because of the lack of absorption of food and liquids in to the body in the right amount.

Causes of Morning Sickness

What causes it? Who gets it? Why certain women get it and others don’t? There are no exact and scientific answers to these questions. There are some studies which have probed into the matter and have come up only with some general observations.

Some of the reports indicate that Morning Sickness, most probably, occurs because of the changing levels of the hormones after a woman conceives. The hormones level rise above the normal level enabling the body to cope with the new situations.

But again, the question remains why the hormone level rise in some women during their pregnancy and not in others? It is not known exactly. It may be due to the overall psychical makeup of the body, health condition, the immune system and other factors. So, the general observation is that some women get more morning sickness than others, without exactly knowing the underlying causes or reasons behind it.

Typically speaking, there are a couple of causes which are generally associated with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy without any clear scientific evidence. For example, women with twins or more babies have more chances to suffer from morning sickness than the women pregnant with only one baby. This could be because of the production of high levels of hormones in their bodies such as, HCG, estrogens etc. Also those women who used to take birth control pills before they were pregnant have more chances to suffer than the ones who did not. Women who have a family history are likely to suffer more than those who not. In other words, genetic factor is responsible to a certain extent for causing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

What about the relationship of morning sickness with a baby girl or a baby boy? Does it have an effect in case of gender of the baby? There, certainly, have been debates regarding this issue i.e. what is the effect of the morning sickness on women carrying a boy and on women carrying a girl. According to a study, it was found that those women who were pregnant with baby girls were 50 percent higher than those pregnant with boys.

There is another issue, much less debatable, that women having miscarriages have no or low morning sickness as compared to those who have successful pregnancies. The logic or reason behind this is that women with miscarriages do not have the babies or placenta developing and, as such, have lower levels of hormones. As there system does not require a high level of hormones so they do not have the feeling of nausea or vomiting.

On the other hand, women who have successful pregnancies have the babies or placenta developing in them and hence their body needs a high level of hormones. This may be true to some extent. However, that does not mean that a successful pregnancy is definitely related to morning sickness as there are a lot many women out there who delivered quite well without feeling sick or vomiting while they were pregnant.

How to Ease?

What are the ways that can ease or relieve morning sickness? Are there any? Yes, there are! In most cases, doctors and midwives will not prescribe any medication as long as they see it as a normal part of pregnancy. However, there are some very useful and easy steps which if followed can get one a good relief. In case of more severe cases, one should always speak to the doctor and act upon the advice that is recommended by him or her. Here a couple of steps which may help to reduce morning sickness.

1)      Change eating habits. That means to eat smaller bits during the day rather than one large meal.

2)      Avoid the stomach either being completely full or empty.

3)      Take a good rest during the day.

4)      Avoid smelling places like kitchen.

5)      Substitute the nausea and vomiting causing food with the ones that don’t trigger morning sickness.

6)      Consider using acupressure or motion sickness bands.

Morning Sickness Frequently Asked Questions

1)      What is Morning Sickness?

A general definition of Morning Sickness would be a state or a feeling of nausea and vomiting in the early part of pregnancy especially during the morning.

2)      When does morning sickness start?

Answer: No fixed time. It may start early as well as late. Round from first to the 6th week is the normal time. Few women have seen it as early as the 1st week.

3)      How long does morning sickness last?

Answer:  It may last a few days or a few weeks. Generally, goes away after 4 weeks.

4)      What does morning sickness feel like?

Answer:  It feels like you are motion sick. You simply feel sick, vomiting or nausea.

5)      When does morning sickness end?

Answer:  No exact end times. Generally improvement starts after the first few weeks. In some rare cases may last up to 14 weeks or even later.

6)      What causes morning sickness?

Answer:  No exact cause known. It may be due to the rising levels of hormones. Common triggers are spicy or sharp smelling food, empty stomach or being too full at one time.

7)      When do you get morning sickness?

Answer:  It has been associated with pregnancy. Any sickness other than pregnancy is generally not referred to as morning sickness.

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