When Does Morning Sickness Start & End?

You’ve taken your pregnancy test and confirmed that a little bundle of joy is blossoming inside of your belly. Just as you’ve started sharing the news with friends, family, and everyone you know on Facebook, you start to notice that your mornings begin a bit...queasy.

For many women across the globe, the first symptoms of pregnancy come in the unfortunate form of nausea and vomiting. Flaring up as soon as five weeks into your first trimester, your increased hormones are sent into overdrive and leave you with that woozy, nauseous feeling.

Fortunately, studies have found that morning sickness symptoms pose no health risks to you or your baby. It’s just one of those curious things that happens to a woman’s pregnant body. We’ll walk you through curious facts and answer questions you may have about morning sickness—giving you the peace of mind you deserve during your first trimester. 

What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness is the combination of nausea and vomiting that occurs during pregnancy. Especially common during the first trimester of pregnancy, morning sickness is a completely normal characteristic of early pregnancy. In fact, four out of five pregnant women experience morning sickness symptoms during their first trimester.

Though nausea and vomiting are the most common symptoms women report, there are a number of other side effects that can make up your unique morning sickness formula.

Some women experience extreme fatigue and sudden exhaustion. Normal everyday tasks may become difficult to complete, and keeping up a busy routine may prove to be too overwhelming for your body and mind. Around 50% of pregnant women suffer bouts of vomiting during their first trimester, and of that percentage, many have to take multiple trips to the toilet throughout the day.

There are a number of symptoms of morning sickness that stretch beyond nausea and vomiting.

Symptoms of Morning Sickness

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Dry heaving
  • Sudden appetite changes
  • Aversions to specific foods
  • Dehydration
  • Rapid heartbeat

Fortunately, experiencing morning sickness does not indicate a downturn in your baby’s health; rather, it could very well mean the opposite! Studies have found that women who experience morning sickness have a significantly reduced risk of miscarriage within the first eight weeks of pregnancy. But remember, every pregnant body is different. If you’re among the small percentage of women that never experience morning sickness, don’t panic (and feel lucky)!

What causes morning sickness?

While there are many theories out there about what causes morning sickness, there is no sure answer among doctors and scientists. Some of the theories behind the causes of morning sickness include increased sensitivity, stress, fatigue, genetics, and first-time pregnancy status. Let’s break these down, one by one.

  • Changing hormone levels: There are a number of hormones that change around during pregnancy. Everything from estrogen and relaxin to oxytocin and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is subject to sudden spikes or decreases throughout your term. When your hormones are out of whack, it causes your body to feel the same. Think back to your moody teenage years when you could be happy in one moment and incredibly angsty in the next. Your hormones are accustomed to a certain balance that pregnancy completely disregards.

  • Increased sensitivity: It is not uncommon for pregnant women to become suddenly averse to the scent of milk or become sick at the mere thought of certain foods or textures. During pregnancy many women have reported having an enhanced sense of smell and unusual sensitivity to odors. Women with a history of motion sickness may find that this sensitivity is only heightened during their first trimester.

This can be said for women with sensitive stomachs, as well. Though some people are just born with more sensitive digestive tracts, pregnant women may find that their tummy can’t handle spicy foods, acidic foods, or certain meats very well.

  • Stress: Though researchers cannot pin down a definitive answer to whether stress is the cause of morning sickness, they were able to confirm that stress worsened the condition. Studies have proposed that women are psychologically predisposed to experiencing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy as a response to stress— a perfect explanation as to why stress and morning sickness go hand in hand.

  • Fatigue: Just like any other sickness, being overtired can lead to exacerbating the symptoms of morning sickness. That doesn’t just include physical fatigue— overworking your mind into a mental fatigue can provoke worsened symptoms.

  • Genetics: Ask your mother if she experienced morning sickness during her pregnancy. Sometimes the trait is passed down and inherited, leaving you with a good idea of where your morning sickness comes from.

  • First-time pregnancy status: First time moms-to-be are more likely to be subjects of the dreaded spell of morning sickness. This supports both scientific proposals that suggest physical and emotional factors play into causation. Novice pregnant women are understandably less prepared for pregnancy than experienced moms.

Exposure to unbalanced hormones and bodily changes may throw new moms into a frenzy of confusion and anxiety. But again, everyone mom-to-be is different, some bodies are simply queasier than others.

Why do you get morning sickness?

When you wake up and have to make an immediate run for the toilet, the first question you’ll probably ask yourself before saying “not again!” will probably by “why is this happening?”  Again, there is no definitive answers that scientists or doctors can find.

It has been debated that morning sickness occurs as an evolutionary instinct to protect expecting women from consuming dangerous foods, but it could also just be an unpleasant side effect that arises when hormone levels change. Researchers have even considered that morning sickness could be the result of the internal tug of war for resources going on in your body between your body and your growing baby.

Wondering why you may feel sudden bouts of extreme nausea? There are a number of triggers that could provoke that queasy feeling without you doing much of anything. These common scents could send your pregnant body into puke mode.

  • Chicken - cooked or uncooked
  • Raw meat
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Fried foods
  • Eggs
  • Gasoline
  • Leather - couches, car seats

These triggers may make trips to the grocery store or even your own fridge a daunting task. Learning your triggers and managing a diet and environment that is free of them and friendlier to your body will soften the blow morning sickness deals time and time again.

When does morning sickness start?

If you are part of the 80% to 90% of pregnant women who struggle with regular bouts of morning sickness, you can expect these symptoms to start up as early as the middle of your fifth week.

This is also about a week and a half after your first missed period. A small percentage of women experience morning sickness before missing their period, but most women will not feel any nausea until after.

Morning sickness starts to creep up during weeks 6, 7, and 8 of pregnancy. Women closing in on week 14 without any symptoms aren’t likely to experience any morning sickness at all. Like all things with individual bodies, some moms-to-be may experience a later onset date than other moms do.

How can you relieve morning sickness?

There is nothing comforting or pleasant about morning sickness, and it may feel like there are hundreds of things that can trigger it, and close to nothing that can soothe it. Pregnant women in search of safe, natural, and inexpensive ways to catch a break from bouts of morning sickness should consider these many tips on how to relieve the symptoms of morning sickness.

  • Eat simpler snacks: Your body is incredibly sensitive during pregnancy, eating certain foods may trigger that nauseous feeling if you’re not careful about your snacking. Stick to simple and virtually tasteless snacks that won’t upset your tummy like nuts, crackers, popcorn, dried fruit, and trail mix.

  • Stay hydrated: Whether you’re pregnant or not, you should always be focus on feeding your body the liquids it needs to properly function. Remember, when you’re pregnant, you’re eating and drinking for two. Be sure to have water handy wherever you go.

  • Cleanse your mouth often: Women who find themselves puking in addition to feelings of nausea should do their best to rinse and clean as frequently as possible. When those acidic bits linger in your mouth, you leave room for a number of nasty bacterias that can seriously damage your teeth. Ask your dentist for a good mouthwash recommendation.

  • Give into your cravings: It’s not unordinary for pregnant women to feel sudden surges of intense cravings for strange and peculiar foods. Some of the most popular cravings include pickles, cheese, lemons, berries, and peanut butter. Each of these has a caloric or nutrient benefit so allow yourself to indulge a bit.

  • Sprinkle ginger on everything: Regardless of how many centuries old the method may be, using ginger for nausea is sage advice that our ancestors gave to us for a reason! Ginger can reduce nausea, vomiting and ease an upset stomach in a matter of minutes. This root comes in many modern forms such as ginger candies, ginger ale, ginger snaps, and crystallized ginger, but keeping it old school with fresh cut ginger may do the trick for you!

  • Drink cold, carbonated beverages: If you’re having a hard time keeping coffee or shakes down, opt for something smoother like seltzer water or lemonade. Women seeking relief from spells of vomit breaks may find that these types of beverages sit much better with their stomach.

  • Avoid heavy foods: Heavy foods can add fuel to the fire when trying to calm your tummy. Avoiding heavy fried foods or large greasy meals and treating yourself to lighter more basic meals can lessen the intensity of when morning sickness strikes.

  • Take things slow: Though it is only human to want to get a quick start to your day and crack down on your daily chores as soon as you wake up, pregnant women should ease into their day for the easiest and most painless transitions. Rushing and quick movements tend to aggravate nausea, so take your time when getting out of bed, getting out of the car, and standing up from any seated position.

  • Supplement: Getting your daily intake of necessary vitamins, proteins, and minerals can be difficult when your diet and stomach stop getting along. Taking prenatal vitamins can help compensate for those lost nutrients thrown up throughout the day. Be sure to treat your body to folic acid, iron, and calcium once a day in pill or gummy form if your body can’t handle leafy greens or meats.

  • Acupressure: Applying pressure on certain points of the body allows you to control the nausea associated with morning sickness. When pressure points between fingers and on your wrist are massaged, you ,ay be able to find quick relief from any foreboding feelings.

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals: A pregnant woman’s nutrient intake is is an essential piece to baby development during every trimester. During the first trimester, when morning sickness becomes a daily occurance, you need to make sure your baby is still getting the nutrients it needs for healthy growth. Eating smaller and more frequent meals lets your stomach feel not too full and not too empty throughout the day.

  • Clear your environment: Making a comprehensive list of the scents that trigger your morning sickness sensors is impossible since it often seems like you have to add a new scent every day. Since being pregnant heightens your sense of smell, your nose will inevitably become more sensitive to nasty odors that could send your stomach into a whirl. Clear your bedroom and high trafficked rooms of any damp, rotten, or nauseating scents to make the most comfortable and triggerless environment for you.

When does morning sickness end?

It won’t be long before you feel absolutely sick and tired of being sick and tired. So, when does morning sickness end? Typically morning sickness will go away around the 11 to 14 week mark of your pregnancy, but could show signs of slowing as early as week 10.

This is generally close to the finish of your first trimester. By the you’ve started thinking about setting up a nursery or buying a baby bassinet, your morning sickness should be a distant memory. A small percentage of women may find that their morning sickness symptoms extend beyond the 14 week mark.

Frequently asked morning sickness questions

Common as morning sickness may be, there is no getting used to that dreaded queasy feeling that rears its ugly head when you least expect it. With constant worry of what your body will do next comes a slew of worries and questions you may have about your pregnancy.

These nine months of your life are unlike any other you’ve experienced, and you want to be sure everything is safe and sound for your growing baby. Though you may understand why you get morning sickness, when morning sickness starts and ends, and how to ease the intensity of its effects, you may still have a number of questions about your wellbeing. Let’s break down some of the most frequently asked questions about morning sickness

●    Is it normal to have morning sickness past the first trimester?

While most women who experience morning sickness tend to cycle through it during their first trimester, there is no cause for concern if you continue to have morning sickness into the second semester. Every woman is different,which means every pregnancy is different. Unless your doctors has diagnosed you otherwise, your experience may be uncomfortable - rare even - but not abnormal.

●    Can morning sickness last an entire pregnancy?

Morning sickness is most commonly found to be a characteristic of the first trimester, and generally fades just before the beginning of the second trimester. Fortunately for pregnant women, it is incredibly unusual for morning sickness to last the entire duration of a pregnancy. Experiencing morning sickness into the second trimester is rare, but happens—however morning sickness into the third trimester should call for a doctor's visit.

●    Will nausea and vomiting affect my baby?

When your stomach is constantly feeling queasy and upturns itself every time you vomit, it’s easy to become worried for the growing fetus habitating your stomach. Luckily your baby is unaffected by morning sickness even though you may often feel at your wits end. In fact, many studies have suggested that morning sickness is a sign of a healthy developing baby.

If your morning sickness is severe and your doctor has diagnosed you with hyperemesis gravidarum, then your baby could be susceptible to harm. Dehydration is one of many characteristics of hyperemesis, but poses the largest threat to your baby.

When your body is not getting enough liquids, the growing baby will not have enough fluids and nutrition. To properly address the problem and ensure that you and your baby are safe and healthy, women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum have been admitted to the hospital for IV fluids and nutrition. This helps them keep down the necessary nutrition, in order to maintain a healthy functioning body for both mom and baby.

●    What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

Women struggling to keep anything down and suffering intense morning sickness symptoms may have a more serious condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (HP). The symptoms of this condition include:

  • Inability to keep down water, food, or medications
  • Experiencing weight loss
  • Vomiting blood
  • Dehydration
  • Experiencing dizziness and faintness
  • Coming down with a fever
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Experiencing stomach pain

It is believed that pregnant women with HG begin to feel symptoms around the 4-6 week mark, and peak between 9-13 weeks. Though only 2% of pregnancies are affected by HG, 20% of diagnosed women require hospital care to rehab their symptoms, and since there is no known prevention for the condition, moms-to-be with severe morning sickness are highly encouraged to make an appointment with their OB-GYN instead of trying to manage it alone.

●    What is the difference between mild and severe nausea?

Morning sickness and the associated nausea and vomiting is never comfortable or painless, but there are significant distinctions when it comes to mild symptoms versus severe symptoms. Women who experience morning sickness come down with that queasy feeling for short spurts and vomit once or twice a day— this can be considered mild. Women who find themselves hugging the toilet several times a day and find that their symptoms make normal human functions feel close to impossible.

Triggers have no precedent over distinguishing mild symptoms from severe symptoms. Whether the scent of coffee sends you straight to the toilet, or a simple whiff of eggs does it, sickness triggers are just a part of pregnancy.

●    When should I see a doctor about my morning sickness?

Women experiencing any severe symptoms should schedule an appointment with their OB-GYN as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may be able to recommend proper treatment or refer you to another medical professional who can conduct lab tests to check on your body’s wellbeing. Regardless of bodily changes, you should always feel free to contact your doctor at any point during your pregnancy.

With a more comprehensive understanding of when morning sickness starts and ends, what causes morning sickness, and how early to expect morning sickness, you and your growing baby can rest assured knowing your body is functioning just as it should be— even when you feel the worst.