Morning sickness is feeling like throwing up, also called nausea, and throwing up, also called vomiting, that occurs during pregnancy. Despite its name, morning sickness can strike at any time of the day or night.
Many people have morning sickness, especially during the first three months of pregnancy. But some people have morning sickness all through pregnancy. Home remedies, such as snacking during the day and sipping ginger ale or taking medicine you can buy without a prescription, might help relieve nausea.
Rarely, morning sickness is so bad that it turns into hyperemesis gravidarum. This is when the nausea and vomiting cause serious fluid loss or loss of more than 5% of pre-pregnancy body weight. Hyperemesis gravidarum might require going to a hospital for treatment.
Nausea, with or without vomiting, is common in pregnancy. Morning sickness is often brought on by smelling certain odors or eating certain foods.
Morning sickness is most common during the first three months of pregnancy. It typically starts before nine weeks. Symptoms usually improve by the middle or end of the second three months of pregnancy.
When to see a doctor
Contact your health care provider if:
- You produce no urine or only a little urine that's a dark color
- You can't keep liquids down
- You feel dizzy or faint when you stand up
- Your heart races
The cause of morning sickness is not known. Hormone changes might play a role. Rarely, a medical condition not related to pregnancy, such as thyroid or gallbladder disease, can cause serious nausea or vomiting.
Morning sickness can affect anyone who's pregnant, but it might be more likely for those who:
- Had nausea or vomiting from other causes before becoming pregnant, such as motion sickness or migraines
- Had morning sickness during a prior pregnancy
- Are pregnant with twins or other multiples
Hyperemesis gravidarum might be more likely for those who:
- Are pregnant with a girl
- Have a family history of hyperemesis gravidarum
- Have had hyperemesis gravidarum during an earlier pregnancy
Mild nausea and vomiting of pregnancy usually won't cause harm.
If left untreated, severe nausea and vomiting can cause a lack of bodily fluids, a condition known as dehydration. It also may lead to an imbalance in electrolytes — the salts in blood that control the balance of fluids in the body. Severe nausea and vomiting may result in less urine output. Research is mixed on whether hyperemesis gravidarum causes poor weight gain for the baby during pregnancy.
There's no sure way to prevent morning sickness. However, taking a daily vitamin supplement before and during pregnancy might help.