Morning sickness (aka vomming on the daily when you’re preggers) is one of the least fun symptoms of pregnancy. And if we’re being real, it can feel like it’s going to last forever.
If you find yourself hugging the toilet most days and nights, you’re also probably wondering when your morning sickness will finally end. The good news? It shouldn’t last the entire 9 months you’re baking a baby. Here are the details.
About 70 percent of pregnant women have some form of morning sickness during the first trimester. It typically starts around week 6 of pregnancy, lasting through to week 12 or 14. It usually peaks between 8 and 10 weeks.
According to a 2000 study, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy ended completely by 14 weeks in 50 percent of women, or around the time they enter the second trimester. The same study found that 90 percent of women no longer experience morning sickness by 22 weeks.
Though it’s called “morning sickness,” pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting can take place at any time throughout the day. It’s called morning sickness because the nausea and vomiting is sometimes more likely to occur in the morning. But, it’s totally normal to have it all day or at night, too.
However, according to the 2000 study, only 1.8 percent of pregnant women experience morning sickness only in the morning.
Most health professionals call it NVP, which stands for “nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.”
There’s not one singular cause of morning sickness, nor the severity of it. It’s thought to be a reaction to high levels of pregnancy hormones, in particular human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
hCG rises quickly during the first few weeks of pregnancy, typically doubling every 2 days. Reduced blood sugar can also contribute to nausea.
There are also factors that may worsen morning sickness, but more research is needed. These include:
Most pregnant people with morning sickness stop experiencing it completely after 14 weeks. However, every person is different and some may experience it earlier or later than 14 weeks.
Unfortunately, some people may even experience severe morning sickness all throughout their pregnancy.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is rare condition only occurs in 0.5 to 2 percent of pregnancies. Beyond causing excessive sickness and vomiting in pregnancy, other symptoms can include weight loss, low blood pressure, and dehydration.
Your provider may diagnose you with this condition if you lose 5 percent or more body weight and show signs of dehydration (due to excessive vomiting). Pregnant people with this condition may get so dehydrated they need to be hospitalized.
Often hyperemesis gravidarum lets up at 20 weeks, but 22 percent of women with the condition can have it until they give birth.
Morning sickness may last for weeks, but you may be able to find relief from it, even if it’s short-term. Here are some tips:
- Eat little and often. Try eating eating six small meals a day instead of three big meals. This helps keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day, which helps you avoid getting nauseated.
- Avoid foods with a ton of sugar or simple carbs. Though you may think you’re “eating for two,” watch out for foods high in sugar or other simple carbohydrates (think white bread or white rice). These can cause your blood sugar to spike, then crash, making you more nauseous.
- Eat more protein. Protein helps keep your blood sugar stable over longer periods of time, which can help keep the nausea at bay. Eating some nuts or a spoonful of peanut butter at night (or even when you wake up to pee at 2 a.m.) can help avoid nausea first thing in the morning.
- Rest, rest, rest. Tiredness can make nausea so much worse. Sleep whenever you need to, and whenever you can.
- Keep away from trigger smells. Maybe now that you’re pregnant you hate the smell of eggs. Or the smell of cucumber. Or the smell lingering from the outside doormat that you’ve never smelled before. Whatever that smell is that turns your stomach, stay away from it.
- Have a small snack in the morning. Keep a packet of saltine crackers beside your bed and eat a couple when you wake up. The sodium bicarbonate in the crackers will help to settle your stomach acids, which helps to prevent nausea.
- Add some ginger to your diet. Whether that’s ginger chews, lozenges, or ginger tea, try it out. Ginger may help to relieve nausea.
If you think your nausea and vomiting is severe (or you just need some stronger relief), go see your OB/GYN or midwife. They will be able to discuss additional treatment like trying anti-nausea medications that are safe in pregnancy.
It’s especially important to call your provider ASAP if you think you are dehydrated from vomiting, or show the following symptoms:
- you’ve lost more than 2 pounds
- you’re experiencing morning sickness longer than 14 weeks
- your vomit is brown or bloody
- you aren’t peeing at all
Morning sickness is a normal part of many pregnancies. It sucks, but luckily, it usually stops around the time you get into your second trimester (around 12 to 14 weeks).
If it doesn’t stop and it’s so severe that you’re constantly sick, you may have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum.
If you think you have hyperemesis gravidarum or home remedies aren’t cutting it, a visit to your doc or midwife may help you find the right treatment.