Pregnancy can be a beautiful and exciting time for an expecting mother. At times, it can also be a little scary and uncomfortable.
One of the most common side effects of early pregnancy is morning sickness. Over 70% of pregnant women experience morning sickness at some point in their pregnancies.
Don't let the name fool you; morning sickness can happen at any point of the day.
Morning Sickness is the name for intense nausea, vomiting, and dizziness that occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy. Other symptoms include diarrhea, low energy levels, stomach pain, and strong aversions to certain foods and smells.
If you're currently trying to have a baby or recently found out you're pregnant, you may be wondering, when does morning sickness start? You also may be curious about what causes morning sickness and if there are any ways to combat it.
If this sounds like you, continue reading as we explore the ins and outs of morning sickness during pregnancy.
Morning sickness can start as early as 4 weeks into pregnancy. For some women, this might be the first sign of their pregnancy, even before their missed period. Most soon-to-be moms start experiencing symptoms at around 5-6 weeks into pregnancy.
Some women, however, don't experience nausea and pregnancy-related vomiting until later in their pregnancy, but will we touch on this later.
When Does Morning Sickness Peak?
A majority of pregnant women experience the peak of their morning sickness symptoms around week 9 or 10 of their pregnancy. This is also when your body has the highest levels of hCG.
After 11 weeks, your body's hCG levels drop, usually resulting in the lessened intensity of pregnancy nausea. However, this isn't the case for every pregnancy.
When Does Morning Sickness End?
For some women, morning sickness symptoms can persist until they give birth.
If vomiting or nausea due to pregnancy leads to dehydration or weight loss, seek medical help. Health insurance should help with the costs of pregnancy-related doctor's visits.
What Causes Pregnancy Nausea?
Though the exact root cause of morning sickness is still unknown, there are many hypotheses for nausea associated with early pregnancy.
It should first be known that the severity of morning sickness varies from person to person. In fact, some pregnant women experience little to no morning sickness symptoms (aren't they lucky!)
Multiple factors play into pregnancy nausea and its severity. These include:
- Rising levels of the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
- Increasing levels of estrogen and progesterone, affecting the digestive tract
- First pregnancy, which may lead the body into feeling unprepared for the influx of hormones
- Your genetics; if women in your family tend to experience morning sickness during pregnancy, chances are that you will too
For many pregnant women, certain foods or smells might trigger intense feelings of nausea, as their sense of smell is heightened due to pregnancy. Morning sickness might be even more intense for those expecting multiple babies due to the chance of higher levels of hCG.
How Long Does Pregnancy Nausea Last?
Morning sickness usually isn't a one-day thing; pregnancy nausea usually sticks around for one to two months. Most pregnant women can expect some relief from pregnancy nausea during the second trimester. Nonetheless, nausea may persist for weeks to come even after hCG levels peak in the body.
Tips on Relieving Nausea
Though morning sickness may seem inevitable, there are some proactive, preventive measures you can take to reduce your symptoms. The best part is that a lot of home remedies are natural and don't require a prescription.
Strong smells and foods can trigger a bout of queasiness for most pregnant women. To prevent these triggers, stick to plain foods and try to steer away from strong scents. This isn't limited to odorous food; this includes things like candles and washing detergents too.
Rest is essential to a healthy pregnancy. Getting enough sleep at night can reduce the severity of nausea the next day.
Reducing stress, when possible can help promote rest and relieve nausea, as some upset stomachs are triggered by the stress of a new child. Things like a spa day at home or even planning financially for your future child can reduce the amount of stress on your plate.
Acupressure wristbands offer a natural way to prevent pregnancy-related nausea. The wristbands apply pressure to a pressure point on the inside of the wrist.
Prenatal vitamins are vital for pregnant women, as they supply necessary nutrients for the pregnant woman and her unborn child. Especially for pregnant women who are regularly vomiting due to morning sickness, prenatal vitamins help replace nutrients lost. Look for a prenatal vitamin with B6, as the vitamin is known to reduce nausea.
Keep a small snack on your nightstand, like some saltine crackers, to eat right when you wake up to avoid feeling hungry and nauseous in the morning. It also might help to eat a snack with protein before bed to keep your tummy happy while you sleep.
Small, frequent meals can also help prevent morning sickness symptoms. This is because you are more likely to feel nauseous on an empty stomach. However, you also want to not overeat, as that could cause discomfort.
Relieving Nausea As It's Happening
Even by taking all the preventive measures, you will likely still have to deal with some degree of morning sickness. Try out some of the following home remedies for morning sickness.
- Peppermint tea and candies
- Peppermint is known for its anti-nausea qualities. So the next time you are feeling nauseous, pop a peppermint candy or brew some peppermint tea.
- Ginger is another natural anti-nausea food. Ginger ale, ginger candies, and even fresh ginger in prepared food can all combat feelings of nausea.
- Tums and antacid
- After vomiting, do yourself a favor and pop an antacid. This will help you feel better after feeling not so great.
- Smell some citrus
- Even though it's advised to avoid strong smells, a sniff of citrus, like a lemon slice might reduce nausea. An alternative method would be to keep some lemon essential oil around.
Again, if natural remedies aren't helping and you are dehydrating and/or losing weight due to morning sickness, seek medical help. Your doctor can recommend alternative methods to reduce your discomfort, or even prescribe you medication to combat severe morning sickness.
More so, severe morning sickness can also be a sign of hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum is characterized by weight loss during pregnancy, intense vomiting, little to no appetite, and nausea. If left untreated, HG can cause complications with both pregnancy and birth.
What If I Don't Experience Morning Sickness?
Some women don't experience morning sickness. If you are weeks into your pregnancy and have yet to experience the infamous morning sickness, don't feel left out or worried.
While it may feel unnerving to not experience a common symptom of pregnancy, this is most likely not a cause for concern. Sometimes it comes down to genetics or what feels like pure luck.
You also shouldn't be concerned if feelings of nausea come later in your pregnancy. Of course, keep your doctor updated on your symptoms during the span of your pregnancy.
Morning Sickness and You
For the majority of pregnant women, morning sickness is a common side effect of pregnancy. Here are some major takeaways:
When this Morning Sickness Start? It usually starts between weeks 4-7 of pregnancy.
How Long Does It Last? Most women typically find some relief from nausea during their second trimester, but some women experience pregnancy nausea throughout their entire pregnancy,
How Can I Prevent or Reduce Symptoms?
There are many natural home remedies to reduce discomfort, like eating bland foods, sucking on peppermint or ginger candies, and eating small meals throughout the day. If natural remedies aren't enough, your doctor may be able to prescribe medication.
One last thing: when asking the question, "when does morning sickness start?" remember that every pregnancy is different and some women may not experience morning sickness at all.
Though at times pregnancy may seem hard, just remember that it will all be worth it when you see your child for the first time.
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