Understanding Morning Sickness

woman lying on bed

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Morning sickness is a condition usually present during the first trimester of a pregnancy where the expectant mother experiences nausea and vomiting. It is related to increased hormones that are present during pregnancy. It usually starts in the sixth week of pregnancy and can last until the 12th week. Morning sickness is usually prevalent during the morning hours; however, it can happen at any time of day. Most women experience some degree of morning sickness.

The Causes of Morning Sickness

After pregnancy has occurred, there are changes that happen in the body. A woman’s sense of smell becomes very sensitive and certain odors will cause nausea and sometimes vomiting. Hormone levels such as estrogen and progesterone increase, which also causes nausea.

Estrogen is a hormone produced by the ovaries. This hormone controls the menstrual cycle and reproduction. Progesterone is a hormone that plays an important role in becoming pregnant. During ovulation, this hormone prepares the body to implant a fertilized egg. Progesterone becomes important during pregnancy as it maintains the growth of the endometrium and releases other hormones to mature the fertilized egg.

Morning sickness can also be caused by stress and fatigue. There are many changes that happen to the woman’s body during pregnancy. It takes the body a few months to adjust to these changes at which time the morning sickness usually goes away.

Helpful Tips to Deal with Morning Sickness

There are some remedies that can help alleviate morning sickness. Every woman is different and not all remedies will work for everyone.

  • Eat small meals frequently throughout the day.
  • Eat crackers to calm a nauseated stomach.
  • Drink peppermint tea.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Drink decaffeinated drinks.
  • Avoid spicy and fried foods.
  • Prepare food when morning sickness is not present.
  • Eat a high protein snack before bed.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a rare form of morning sickness that causes severe nausea and vomiting, weight loss, dehydration, headaches, and fainting. It can usually be treated with a special diet but there are times when an expectant mother needs to be hospitalized.

During hospitalization, the expectant mother will be treated intravenously to provide nutrients to the body. Vitamins such as B6 and C will be given as well. Once the severe nausea and vomited have calmed, the mother can slowly return to eating small meals.

Other non-medicinal treatments include bed rest, acupressure, dietary changes and the ingestion of herbs such has ginger and peppermint. These remedies may help, however, have not been proven in any tests to be effective. For more information on hyperemesis gravidarum, visit the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

Morning sickness is a normal and natural occurrence during pregnancy. For more information on morning sickness visit the American Pregnancy Association.


Hyperemesis Gravidarum. National Organization for Rare Disorders. Retrieved

Morning Sickness. American Pregnancy Association.

Morning Sickness Remedies. Morning Sickness