when does morning sickness start (and other queasy questions)

So you’ve peed on a stick (however inelegantly) and had the happiest realisation…You’re pregnant! When you’re not cooing over cute baby clothes or dreaming about what your baby will look like, you’ll likely have lots of questions. How will having a baby change your body? What should you avoid eating? And when does morning sickness start?

If that last one is lingering on your mind, you’ve come to the right place. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly common for most mums-in-the-making to experience some form of nausea or vomiting during pregnancy. That’s why we’re here with answers to all of your queasy questions so you can be prepared for when sickness strikes. First things first…

when does morning sickness start?

Morning sickness doesn’t waste any time welcoming you to the world of pregnancy; it can be one of the first tell-tale signs that a baby is in the making. Normally starting around week six of pregnancy, some mums-to-be may start rushing to the bathroom as early as week four. That could be just days after a missed period.

The other important thing to know about when morning sickness starts is that you’ve been deceived. Whoever coined the term “morning” sickness had obviously never experienced it themselves. Though it may be more common to feel unwell first thing, the nausea can hit you at any time of day or night.

Expectant mum relaxing on a bed

how long does morning sickness last?

If you’re getting far more familiar with your toilet bowl than you’d like, we wouldn’t blame you for wondering when you can expect to break off the intimacy. Thankfully most women report that their sudden bathroom visits stop, or at least lessen, around weeks 16 to 20. For some unlucky future mums, the nausea can last a little longer. If it helps you make it through the dizzy days, know that morning sickness should pose no threat to your growing bump.

what causes morning sickness?

Like many pregnancy symptoms, you can blame your pesky hormones for this unwanted side effect to your beautiful bump. One such culprit, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), is what produces the little plus sign on your pee stick. The levels of hCG tend to be higher in those expecting multiples which can make morning sickness worse. You’re also be more likely to suffer if it’s your first pregnancy, you get motion sickness or have a history of migraines.

On the plus side, hCG is important for sustaining your baby before the placenta is fully formed. So while feeling nauseous is no fun, at least your baby is benefitting from the hormones racing around your body.

how can you stop feeling nauseous?

If you’re sick (pardon the pun) and tired of feeling queasy, there are a few easy tricks that might help. Like perfect pregnancy food. Start your morning with something dry and plain, like a biscuit or toast, and keep eating small meals throughout the day. Pick out carby foods that are low in fat, such as bread or pasta, and don’t forget to keep sipping.

Mum-to-be keeping hydrated

For those of you with forgetful partners, it can help to keep a list of foods that trigger morning sickness. That way they won’t end up on the dinner table! Same goes for perfumes, aftershaves and other strong smells. Some mums also swear by wearing anti-sickness bands or eating ginger (be it in tea, biscuits or another form) to keep the nausea at bay. If none of that works, speak to your doctor as they may recommend some anti-sickness medication.

what if morning sickness doesn’t stop?

In some cases (guesstimated at one mum in every hundred), morning sickness is more severe. If you can’t keep down much food or water, you may be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Weight loss and dehydration are big risks with HG so it’s important to speak to your midwife or doctor to get the help you need. The good news is that it’s usually easy to treat so you needn’t worry about heading into hospital before your baby makes an appearance.

but i don’t have morning sickness…

If you happen to be one of the lucky few who escapes the wrath of morning sickness, don’t worry that your pregnancy isn’t normal. Every pregnancy is different and not feeling nauseous doesn’t mean that something is wrong. What it does mean is that you might be called to the aid of your fellow mums-in-the-making who are looking a little green. Ginger tea and comforting words at the ready! Or why not put together a morning sickness survival kit to help them make it through the difficult days? Here are a few essentials they’re sure to appreciate:

• sports drinks to replenish essential electrolytes (like sodium and potassium) lost through vomiting
• small snacks like granola bars, ginger biscuits or crackers to settle stomachs and keep them fuelled
• hairbands (enough for every handbag) to tuck those luscious locks away at a moment’s notice
• wet wipes and mints or a toothbrush and toothpaste to help freshen up after a trip to the ladies’
• and finally, plastic bags in case of emergencies when a bathroom just isn’t near enough

Two mums having a day out together

Whether you only feel a little woozy or become very well-acquainted with every nearby bathroom, don’t lose hope. Morning sickness will pass (eventually) and soon you’ll be eating your favourite foods again. If you can stay awake long enough to feed yourself that is! Hopefully the joy of cuddling your new little arrival will soon take the place of morning sickness in your memories though. And if not, at least you’ll have lots of advice for your fellow mums!

As written by Rhi


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