Morning Sickness Symptoms and When It Stops   

Morning Sickness Symptoms and When It Stops

Young woman leaning over the toilet, with her hand on her forehead, looking sick from morning sickness.
Clinical Contributors to this story:
Jonathan Turkish, M.D.

Morning sickness may be one of the most well-known pregnancy symptoms, but it’s also one of the least understood. 

Often appearing around week four of pregnancy and tapering off by week 12, morning sickness can present on a spectrum from nausea to serious vomiting leading to dehydration. Read on to learn more about what’s normal when experiencing morning sickness, how to manage it at home and when to seek help from your provider.

What is Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness refers to nausea and vomiting typical to pregnancy. Contrary to its name, morning sickness is not always or only experienced in the morning. Certain smells and sights, such as raw chicken, can trigger it. Approximately 60–70% of pregnancies will have some nausea, says Jonathan Turkish, M.D., a gynecologist at Old Bridge Medical Center, and about 40–50% will experience vomiting. However, it’s also completely normal not to experience morning sickness during pregnancy.

Although there is no conclusive understanding of why morning sickness accompanies pregnancy, Dr. Turkish says some think it’s related to the rapidly changing hormones in a pregnant person’s body.

When morning sickness is severe, causing constant vomiting and dangerously limiting one’s ability to keep down food and liquids, it is called hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare but intense form of morning sickness that requires treatment.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), morning sickness usually begins before nine weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancies are dated from the start of the last menstrual period. For most, morning sickness begins to fade by the end of the first trimester, or 12 weeks of pregnancy. Although uncommon, it is still considered normal for morning sickness to persist throughout pregnancy.

How to Manage Morning Sickness at Home

There are a number of at-home remedies that pregnant people have relied on for years to ease the symptoms of morning sickness, such as ginger and bland foods. One of the best things a pregnant person can do, says Dr. Turkish, is to take a prenatal vitamin. “Especially with patients who have a previous history of morning sickness, we always recommend prenatal vitamins, even before pregnancy, because there’s evidence to suggest they may prevent morning sickness if taken early.”

As digestion slows in early pregnancy, the stomach can feel full faster, contributing to nausea and vomiting, so Dr. Turkish recommends small meals.

When to Seek Help for Morning Sickness

Although mild to moderate morning sickness is thought to be unharmful to pregnant people and their developing fetuses, there are safe ways to feel better. Before taking any medication—prescription or over-the-counter—Dr. Turkish recommends always consulting with your obstetrics provider first.

“A lot of patients are reluctant to start medication when they feel nauseated, but the best way to prevent morning sickness from going further is to start some form of treatment,” he says. “Prescribed medications are very safe, and there are multiple options. The last thing we want is for a patient to be admitted to the hospital due to dehydration because we didn’t treat sooner.”

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


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