What Can I Expect From Morning Sickness?

When It Occurs, How It Feels, and How to Deal

Woman with stomach cramps.

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Morning sickness is nausea experienced during pregnancy. It tends to be the first pregnancy symptom many women experience. It can start nearly as soon as the pregnancy test is positive, though many women will not notice morning sickness until about the sixth week of pregnancy. It typically lasts for just the first few months of pregnancy (the first trimester) but, for some women, it can stretch out into the second, and sometimes even the third, trimesters.

Does Morning Sickness Really Only Happen in the Morning?

Despite the name, you may experience morning sickness at any time of the day or night, though most women do experience some uneasiness of the stomach early in the morning, probably because their stomachs are empty. 

What Does It Feel Like to Have Morning Sickness?

Some women have nausea and vomiting, while others experience only queasiness. Neither is pleasant. A few women state that vomiting actually makes them feel better, while others find no relief. 

What Can I Do To Ease the Symptoms of Morning Sickness?

There are many things women can try in order to help alleviate this annoying pregnancy symptom, though the effectiveness of each of these techniques varies from woman to woman.

For one thing, you can avoid eating the offending foods that seem to trigger your nausea. For many women, this usually means avoiding high-fat or spicy foods (though, again, every woman's experience is unique). You may worry that cutting these foods from your diet will feel like deprivation, but you'll likely feel too nauseated even by the smell of such foods to want them anyway: it's like a form of self-protection!

You can also try to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to help stabilize your blood sugar.

There are also certain food items women swear by as a means of easing their nausea. Some suggest suckers or hard candy, particularly the more sour flavors, such as lemon. Others nibble on bland foods such as saltines throughout the duration of their morning sickness.

If you still can't find relief, your doctor or midwife may be able to prescribe something. There are also a number of non-medicinal aids that don't require prescriptions.

Is Morning Sickness Ever Dangerous?

Morning sickness can cause you to experience dehydration if you are unable to eat or drink, or if you constantly lose your food through vomiting. When this happens, it is called hyperemesis gravidarum. Your doctor may suggest IV hydration or tube feedings to solve this problem. Medications are also occasionally used, particularly in severe cases.

In the end, the only thing worse than morning sickness is no morning sickness at all, as this can lead to the concern that there is something wrong with the pregnancy.

Either way, if you're worried or suffering, talk to your OB/GYN.

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