image001It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of women experience sickness during their pregnancy with half of these women experiencing retching or vomiting. Given how common morning sickness is, it is not a cause for concern if you start to feel ill during your pregnancy. The severity of this condition will vary amongst women and even from pregnancy to pregnancy.  Understanding what is common can help you determine if the sickness you are feeling is a cause for concern and what remedies you can use to manage.

Is Feeling Sick During Pregnancy Normal?

Around three fourths of pregnant women feel nauseated in their first trimester with around half experiencing vomiting as well. This often begins around 6 weeks but can start as early as 4, getting worse throughout the following months. Many feel relief around week 14 but may still feel a bit queasy from time to time. Symptoms may occasionally return throughout their pregnancy and some find that their sickness remains right up until delivery.

The term “morning sickness” is often used to describe feeling sick during pregnancy but is not particularly accurate. It was originally used because many women found their nausea to be worse in the morning, but these symptoms can occur at any time throughout the day and some women find that they feel ill all day long. The intensity of this nausea will also vary.

What Causes Morning Sickness During Pregnancy?

There is no definitive answer for what causes morning sickness but there are a few triggers which are believed to be involved. As your hormones change to accept your pregnancy your body will become more sensitive. The increased levels of estrogen is suspected to play a role in your stomach sensitivity. The human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG levels also increase very quickly when you first become pregnant. This may play a role in causing nausea since these symptoms tend to occur at the same time. Researchers have also found that those that have higher hCG levels, such as those having a multiple birth, tend to have higher levels of nausea.

It is also common for women who are pregnant to experience sensitivity to odors which could trigger your gag reflex. It is unclear why this occurs, however. Pregnant women also have more sensitivity in their gastrointestinal tract when they are pregnant. This is thought to be because some women have a bacterium known as helicobacter pylori in their system which can increase nausea. Women that tend to be stressed may also have an increase in nausea symptoms, though there is not much evidence yet to back up this theory.

Feeling Sick During Pregnancy-- What to Do?

Most women feel nauseated in the morning and the feeling slowly wears off throughout the day, so many remedies for these symptoms focus on relieving these symptoms. 

1. What to Do in a Day to Ease Morning Sickness



In the morning

If possible, take your time waking up in the morning to allow your system to settle. Keep something near the bed like cereal or crackers that you can eat when you first wake up to settle your stomach.

During the day

Try to avoid hunger or getting too full by gently snacking throughout the day. Drinking fluids a half hour before or after you eat will help to keep food moving through your system. Try to avoid drinking with your meals. Get rest throughout the day, but try to avoid napping after you eat as this can make nausea worse. If you find that certain smells or environments trigger your symptoms, work to avoid these.

In the evening

Spicy or greasy foods can make nausea worse. If necessary, avoid cooking and eat bland foods without much odor. Try to go to bed early so your body can rest, especially if you have been waking during the night to get sick. Try to keep something near your bed that can settle your stomach if you feel sick.

2. What to Eat to Ease Morning Sickness

In the morning, cold foods and items like fruits and vegetables or bland items can be helpful. Try to eat small meals. Eat when you feel hungry but not getting too full. Things like ginger, lemon, crackers, peppermint tea, Jell-O, pretzels or popsicles tend to help settle your stomach when you need a snack.

3. Special Treatments and Supplements to Ease Morning Sickness

  • Lollipops

Preggie pops, flavored lollipops designed to address morning sickness, can be helpful. There are a variety of flavors that will provide a bit of energy and help prevent dry mouth while easing nausea. These do not contain any drugs which are ideal as well.

  • Acupuressure

Sea Bands use acupressure on the wrists to help cut down on nausea. These can be used by those that are not pregnant as well. Many hospitals and doctors recommend these because there is no side effects and they have been clinically tested. A relief band can also be worn to help combat mild nausea or vomiting.

  • Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 has also been found to help cut down on nausea when you are pregnant. If your symptoms have been quite severe, your doctor may prescribe you a supplement for this vitamin to ensure you are getting enough.

You can watch this video to get more information on feeling sick during pregnancy:

Frequently Asked Questions About Feeling Sick During Pregnancy

1. How Long Will My Morning Sickness Last?

Usually morning sickness begins around week 6 and will last until weeks 14-16. However, some find that their symptoms will vary during this time or come and go throughout their pregnancy. If you get help for your symptoms early, some of this can be prevented. If it is week 9 or later and you have a headache or fever with your nausea, check with your doctor to ensure no other problems are present.

2. Will My Nausea Affect My Baby?

Mild nausea and morning sickness should not affect your baby. However, if you are not gaining weight or staying hydrated, it could affect your baby’s health. If you are unable to get a balanced diet down, take a prenatal vitamin to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need. Severe vomiting has been linked to preterm birth, so it may be best to get medical assistance if this occurs.

3. Does It Mean I Will Be More Likely to Miscarriage If I Don’t Have Morning Sickness?

Women that aren’t experiencing nausea aren’t necessarily more likely to have a miscarriage. There are plenty of women that have normal pregnancies even if they never experience morning sickness. This is usually a blessing because pregnancy is easier to manage.

4. Can I Take Anti-nausea Medications?

If you are having nausea and cannot manage your symptoms, talk to your doctor. There is no reason to wait if you are feeling very ill. They can prescribe you a vitamin B6 supplement or anti-nausea medication that can help you manage your symptoms. There are plenty of medications that are safe to take when you are pregnant. The sooner you get your symptoms under control, the sooner it will be easier to eat well to ensure your baby is getting the nutrients they need. Click here to learn more about morning sickness medications. 

5. When Should I Call a Doctor?

If your vomiting is very severe and you cannot keep anything including your medication, fluids or food down, then you may have hyperemesis gravidarum. Your doctor may want to check you into the hospital, so you can get intravenous doses of medication and fluid to avoid you becoming dangerously dehydrated.