Pregnancy Information Symptoms Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is the common term for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Approximately seventy percent of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during the first sixteen weeks of pregnancy. In rare cases, pregnant women experience morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy.

Morning sickness doesn’t just occur in the morning. Pregnant women may experience nausea and vomiting at any time of day.

The Causes of Morning Sickness

The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown. Several factors may cause nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. A woman’s hormone levels change drastically during pregnancy – changes in estrogen, progesterone, and hCG (beta-human Chorionic Gonadotropin) are possible causes of morning sickness.

Of the three, hCG is the most likely culprit. The hCG levels rise in pregnant women after conception, and increase until the sixteenth week of pregnancy, after which they diminish.

Stress may aggravate nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Pregnant women are more sensitive to smells and have higher levels of stomach acid. These factors may also contribute to morning sickness.

Minimizing Nausea and Vomiting

Pregnant women may be unable to avoid morning sickness, but symptoms of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can be minimized. The following strategies work for some pregnant women, although what alleviates nausea and vomiting in one pregnancy may have no effect in another.

  • Avoid strong smells or any smell that doesn’t appeal to you.
  • Avoid eating high-fat foods.
  • Don’t drink while eating; instead, drink something thirty minutes before eating.
  • Don’t skip meals.
  • Eat small, regular meals.
  • Include snacks between meals.
  • Eat a few crackers before rising in the morning.
  • Eat cold food.
  • Talk with your doctor about switching brands of prenatal vitamins.

Sea Bands and Pregnant Women

Motion sickness wristbands (Sea Bandsâ„¢) may alleviate nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Based on acupressure, Sea Bands stimulate wrist nerves, which stimulate normal stomach rhythms. Many pregnant women find that Sea Bands are an effective way to control morning sickness.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Severe Nausea and Vomiting

In fewer than two percent of pregnant women, the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness is particularly severe. Excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, called hyperemesis gravidarum can be life-threatening. Pregnant women should consult their doctors if morning sickness includes symptoms such as weight loss, severe nausea, excessive vomiting, dark urine, headaches or confusion.

Excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy may require medical intervention for the protection of both the pregnant woman and the child. Nutritional deficiencies and dehydration should be treated promptly.


Beers, M. H.