What is morning sickness?
Vomiting and feeling sick when pregnant is common, particularly in early pregnancy, due to the hormonal changes taking place in your body. Although it is known as morning sickness, it can actually affect you at any time of the day.
The main symptom is nausea, which is when you experience a feeling of sickness without actually being sick. It is a common experience and is usually nothing to worry about.
However, if you have severe nausea or vomiting, you should speak to a doctor, as it could be hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as severe morning sickness - we’ll look at this in more detail further down the page.
When does morning sickness begin?
How early on in your pregnancy you get morning sickness, and how long it lasts, can be different for everyone.
Nausea and vomiting usually starts during the first month after you have missed a period, and can continue for weeks, but it usually eases after 3 months.
Your pregnancy, and the health of your baby, are not usually affected by the condition. However, if you think your bouts of sickness are severe (for example, you are struggling to keep food down), or if you are worried, a doctor can help reassure you.
What are the symptoms of morning sickness?
If you have just found out that you are pregnant, you may be wondering what morning sickness is like. The symptoms you will have can vary from a mild feeling of nausea to actually being sick. You may:
- be sick 3 or 4 times a day
- feel constantly nauseous
- be dehydrated, due to the fluids you are losing
- have headaches
- feel confused
- have a fast heart rate
- feel very tired
- experience weight loss, or fail to gain any weight during your pregnancy
Consult a doctor if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above for more advice.
Treatment is usually not needed, as morning sickness is a normal part of pregnancy. However, doctors may recommend lifestyle and diet changes or, in severe cases, anti-sickness medication.
Severe morning sickness
Medical interventions for nausea and vomiting may be necessary if you are experiencing severe symptoms. If you are diagnosed with the particularly bad form of morning sickness, known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), this will require specialist treatment, sometimes in hospital.
This condition can last for a long time during your pregnancy. Our doctors will be able to advise if this is what you are suffering from.
How can you prevent morning sickness?
While morning sickness is a normal symptom of pregnancy, there are some steps you can take to try to minimise the effects it has on you.
- Drink plenty of fluids, little and often, which can help prevent vomiting
- Get plenty of rest
- Eat little and often, rather than large meals a few times a day
- Vitamin B6 supplements may help with nausea
- Complementary therapies, such as acupressure have been found to help some people
- Try food or drinks with ginger in them - these have been found to ease nausea for some women
How long does morning sickness last, on average?
The length of a bout of morning sickness, as well as how severe it is, can vary from person to person. You may only have morning sickness when you wake up, or it can last throughout the day.
Many women find that morning sickness improves after the third month of pregnancy. However, some people can have morning sickness after week 20, so it depends on how your body handles the changes happening in your body.
If you are worried about anything during your pregnancy or think that your morning sickness is an issue, our doctors can help.
How can Push Doctor help?
You can see a GP about your morning sickness at a time that suits you. Our doctors are available 7 days a week from 6am - 11pm, and can offer you the advice, diagnosis and treatment you may need. They can also refer you to a specialist for further investigation or treatment if necessary.