Morning Sickness

You’ve seen Hollywood’s depictions of early pregnancy: a woman suddenly feels inexplicably nauseated but shrugs it off as a stomach bug or nerves over some looming stressful event. Then she gets sick, and it hits her: she’s pregnant.

Movies and television are notorious for their often-inaccurate portrayals of pregnancy and childbirth, but this particular trope is actually not too far off for many women. The truth is, more than half of women experience some level of morning sickness, and the onset does often coincide with learning the exciting news that baby is on the way. Even if nausea and vomiting aren’t the very first symptoms a woman notices in pregnancy, either can creep up at any time, and they often do.

The first trimester of pregnancy doesn’t have to be a miserable time, though. There are things you can do to help with morning sickness so you can focus on enjoying your little miracle.

What is morning sickness, and what causes it?

Morning sickness is nausea or vomiting that occurs during pregnancy. Despite its name, “morning” sickness can occur at any time. It’s also a very common side effect in the first trimester, with about 70% of women reporting that they experience it to some degree at some point.

Morning sickness typically begins around the sixth week of pregnancy – about the time when most women discover they’re pregnant. It usually subsides within the second trimester, between weeks 13 and 27, but some women experience morning sickness throughout pregnancy. (Thank goodness for morning sickness tea! But we’ll get to that.)

It’s unclear what exactly causes morning sickness or why some women experience it more than others. Leading theories include that rising pregnancy hormones or decreased blood sugar cause morning sickness in the first place and that stress, lack of sleep, motion sickness, or certain foods make it worse. Morning sickness can by triggered by smells, spicy foods, or warm temperatures, but it can also come on with no warning or definitive cause.

While morning sickness can be uncomfortable, it’s usually not a cause for concern. In rare cases (we’re talking 0.5-2% of pregnant women), morning sickness can progress to hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that’s more severe than morning sickness and that can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, or unhealthy weight loss in pregnancy. In hyperemesis gravidarum, nausea does not subside and is accompanied by severe vomiting. If you have any concerns about your nausea or vomiting, you should contact your medical provider.

To recap: you get to experience the miracle of growing your little one inside your body, growing and changing along with them, but you might feel inexplicably and uncomfortably nauseous for weeks or even months. And much of that happens early on, when many women aren’t ready to announce that they’re expecting.

Before you throw away all the spicy food in your house or invest in nose plugs, read on for some better solutions to help you survive your morning sickness.

Morning sickness remedies

If you’re starting to feel a little disheartened, you may feel reassured to hear that there are steps you can take to ease the discomfort of morning sickness. While it’s true that we aren’t sure what causes morning sickness, there are clear symptoms that can be treated to offer relief. Please consult with your physician before trying any of the below.

Some of the simplest ways you can combat morning sickness include:

  • Stick to small, bland meals throughout the day to aid in digestion (the pregnancy hormone progesterone slows down the process), keep from feeling too hungry or full at any time, and prevent triggers from strong odors. High-protein, low-fat foods are usually a safe option.
  • Stay hydrated. Studies have shown vitamin B6 may help fight nausea, so this is an especially helpful option if you’re not vomiting but feel persistently sick to your stomach.
  • Try to take your prenatal vitamin with a small snack. The iron in most prenatal vitamins can exacerbate morning sickness when taken on an empty stomach.
  • Get some fresh air. If the weather allows for it, open some windows or go for a short walk.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. Try to avoid anything too tight or restrictive, as this can make nausea worse. The Bamboobies everyday bra has a super-soft, ultra-comfortable seamless design that stretches with you as your body changes through pregnancy while still offering the support you need.
  • Pay attention to – and then avoid – your own morning sickness triggers. Certain smells or foods might affect you differently than another pregnant woman, or even differently than a previous pregnancy. If you’re feeling queasy, take stock of what environmental factors might be making you feel worse, and try to cut them out until your morning sickness subsides.
  • Keep small, simple snacks – think crackers, pretzels, Jell-O, popsicles – handy. Take small bites when you feel nauseous, a little hungry, or are taking your prenatal vitamin.
  • Some women have found success using acupressure wristbands. These provide light pressure on certain points of your wrist to relieve nausea and can be particularly helpful if you can’t stomach even foods shown to help with nausea.

Morning sickness is an inescapable reality for many moms-to-be, but there are simple ways to help ease the discomfort so you can enjoy the miracle of pregnancy. And remember: the nausea will pass! You’ll get through this, and someday it will barely be a memory as you hold that sweet little bundle of joy in your arms. You’ve got this, mama, and we’ve got you.


Cleveland Clinic: Morning Sickness (Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy),to%20motion%20(motion%20sickness).

American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy Week 5,reading%20weeks%201%20through%204.

Mayo Clinic: Morning sickness

National Organization for Rare Disorders: Hyperemesis Gravidarum,to%202%25%20of%20pregnant%20women.

American Pregnancy Association: Hyperemesis Gravidarum 

American Pregnancy Association: Morning Sickness Remedies  

Mayo Clinic: Morning sickness

University of Michigan Health: Vitamin B6 for Morning Sickness,fetus%20with%20vitamin%20B6%20use.&text=A%20typical%20dose%20of%20vitamin,mg%2C%203%20times%20a%20day.

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