About 70% of pregnant people get morning sickness. Despite its name, the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness can happen at any time of day. Changes to your diet and lifestyle can help morning sickness until it subsides. If you have severe morning sickness, your obstetrician may want to treat you with medication or IV fluids.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Common signs and symptoms of morning sickness include an upset stomach (nausea), loss of appetite and vomiting. Some people describe morning sickness as feeling like:
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:
Morning sickness may be worsened by:
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.
Symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum include:
People with severe morning sickness may need to be admitted to the hospital to receive IV fluids to restore hydration and medications to relieve nausea.
Tell your obstetrician if you feel symptoms of morning sickness. If they suspect hyperemesis gravidarum, they may order urine (pee) or blood tests.
There are a few things you can do to feel better. Making small changes to your diet and lifestyle can go a long way in decreasing nausea.
Other methods may help reduce nausea. Talk with your healthcare provider before trying these:
Don’t use marijuana to treat morning sickness. It hasn’t been proven to be safe during pregnancy.
Eating a diet high in protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruit is beneficial for you and for the fetus. Eating foods that are highly processed and full of sugar may make you feel worse. Healthcare providers often recommend the following foods to people suffering from morning sickness:
Your healthcare provider may recommend taking vitamin B6 (also called pyridoxine) and doxylamine. Doxylamine is also used as a sleep aid and to treat hay fever or other allergies. Both products are available over-the-counter and don’t need a prescription.
There’s a medication approved for morning sickness called Diclegis®. Unlike the separate over-the-counter products, Diclegis® is a slow-release single pill. This may be more convenient or helpful for people who have trouble (for example, have a gag reflex) taking many pills per day. It’s available by prescription only.
Your obstetrician can prescribe medications to prevent nausea (also called antiemetics). If these drugs don’t help, other drugs like antihistamines and anticholinergics may work. You and your healthcare provider will decide which medications work best for you.
Mild to moderate nausea and vomiting during pregnancy usually isn’t harmful to you or the fetus. However, it can become a problem if you can’t keep food or liquid down, become dehydrated and lose weight. Unmanaged severe nausea and vomiting can prevent you from getting the nutrition you need and affect your baby’s weight at birth.
Yes. The risk for severe morning sickness increases if you:
Some studies have shown that people with severe morning sickness are more likely to give birth to girls and babies assigned female at birth (AFAB).
Don’t wait until vomiting becomes severe to call your obstetrician. Seeking care for morning sickness early in pregnancy can help prevent it from becoming more severe. Severe vomiting isn’t a normal aspect of pregnancy and requires medical care.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you:
Another reason to investigate severe nausea and vomiting is that it may be a symptom of other medical conditions, including:
Some people believe morning sickness is a good sign because it means the placenta is developing. They also feel reassured that they’re pregnant. In reality, not everyone gets morning sickness. If you never have morning sickness, you’re just as likely to give birth to a healthy baby as someone who does get morning sickness.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Morning sickness can make pregnancy seem pretty awful and uncomfortable. It’s extremely common to feel nauseous and queasy, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Luckily, most people find that morning sickness subsides once they begin their second trimester. Changes in your lifestyle and eating habits may bring some relief until the symptoms go away. Let your obstetrician know if you’re throwing up several times per day, not eating and losing weight. They’ll want to make sure you’re getting the nourishment you need.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/05/2023.
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