advice

everything you need to know about morning sickness

If you’ve been getting a bit closer to the toilet bowl than you’d like lately, you’re not alone. Most women experience some nausea or sickness during pregnancy. Luckily, in most cases it doesn’t last long, and it can be eased.

when does morning sickness start?

Pregnancy sickness is believed to be a result of hormonal changes in early pregnancy. It tends to show up (uninvited, we might add) when you’re a few weeks pregnant. In some cases though, it can affect women just days after that first missed period. While it is more common in the morning, pregnancy sickness can turn up at any time of day.

when does morning sickness stop?

So here’s some good news. Most women find that sickness stops, or at least eases, after 16-20 weeks of pregnancy. Unfortunately for some though, it can go on for longer. The main thing is that pregnancy sickness doesn’t mean there's anything wrong with your baby.

how to stop morning sickness?

Some prescription medications can help ease pregnancy sickness. If you feel your GP isn’t taking you seriously, try your early pregnancy unit. You can also get support from Pregnancy Sickness Support on 024 7638 2020.

It’s also worth trying the following:

  • eating something plain before you get out of bed, like a wholewheat biscuit
  • eating small, frequent meals or snacks
  • choosing food that is high in carbohydrates, low in fat and fairly plain, such as bread, rice and pasta
  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • avoiding smells that make you feel nauseous
  • getting plenty of rest
  • snacking on ginger biscuits or wearing an anti-sickness wristband

what if i just can’t stop throwing up?

Are you being sick several times a day, and maybe even struggling to keep water down? Give your early pregnancy unit or doctor a ring. You might have hyperemesis gravidarum. As well as being almost impossible to spell, hyperemesis gravidarum can be pretty unpleasant to experience. It can also lead to you becoming dehydrated and not getting enough nutrients. Thankfully, hyperemesis gravidarum can usually be treated. Some research shows that the earlier treatment starts, the more effective it is likely to be.

what are the dangers of dehydration?

In rare cases, dehydration through vomiting can cause problems such as deep vein thrombosis, so it’s best to seek help before it gets too bad. You might need a short hospital stay. While there, you’ll likely be put on a drip, and possibly started on sickness tablets. Try not to worry though, as long as you ask for help, hyperemesis gravidarum rarely leads to any serious problems.

do i need to call the doctor immediately?

If your sickness is severe and really impacting your life, you should contact the doctor or early pregnancy unit. If you experience any of the below it’s important you get help urgently:

  • dark coloured urine, pain when weeing, or not passing urine for eight hours or more
  • an inability to keep food or drink down at all in a 24-hour period
  • abdominal (tummy) pain
  • feeling weak, dizzy or faint
  • a high temperature
  • throwing up blood

extra help

Pregnancy Sickness Support is a charity which is dedicated to easing the discomfort of morning sickness. Your early pregnancy unit should also be able to offer advice, as should your doctor or midwife.

Try to remember that this won’t last forever. Pregnancy sickness can be the absolute pits, but it really does ease off by 20 weeks in most cases. Even if it doesn’t, it won’t be long before you’re cuddling your baby and tucking into your favourite foods, nausea-free.