When does morning sickness start?

Pregnant woman being sick in the toilet

Morning sickness is a cruel misnomer: for many pregnant women the only time they don't feel nauseous is when they're asleep. Most women experience at least some sickness during their first trimester, and the symptoms can come and go or occasionally develop later in pregnancy

How early can morning sickness start?

Morning sickness is often one of the first pregnancy symptoms, with the queasiness usually starting when you're around six weeks pregnant – though it can also begin a few weeks earlier. Many women experience at least some morning sickness during their first trimester, but it doesn't necessarily strike as soon as you've taken a pregnancy test for a missed period.

According to the law of averages, you can expect to feel the worst nausea around nine weeks – though every woman is different.

When will morning sickness stop?

Morning sickness will normally stop when you're around 12 weeks to 14 weeks pregnant but one in 10 unlucky women still feel sick after 20 weeks. And don't get complacent if it eases early; the symptoms can come and go.

If you're suffering, there are a number of popular treatments which can help ease the nausea, although no one has yet discovered a miracle cure – sorry.

What causes morning sickness?

Scientists don't know exactly what causes morning sickness, but those pesky hormonal changes are probably partly responsible. While there isn’t a definite answer, it’s likely to be caused by:

  • A sudden increase in your body’s oestrogen levels.
  • A sudden increase in Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG).
  • An enhanced sense of smell and increased sensitivity to odours.
  • A lack of vitamin B6.

Why do you get morning sickness?

Morning sickness is a very common ailment, affecting around eight out of 10 women, but you're more likely to suffer with it if:

  • It's your first pregnancy
  • You've had it in a previous pregnancy
  • You've had motion sickness before
  • You've got a history of nausea while using contraceptives that contain oestrogen
  • There's a family history of morning sickness
  • You're obese (BMI of 30 or more)
  • You're expecting twins or triplets
  • You're stressed (and who wouldn't be, during pregnancy?)

What is morning sickness and what does it feel like?

Firstly, whoever called it morning sickness can do one. Health professionals favour the term 'nausea and vomiting in pregnancy' (NVP) because, in truth, it can strike at any time of the day or night.

It's a weird feeling, like having two stomachs – one that wants to throw up and burp constantly, and the other that is constantly ravenous and thinking about food all the time.

Some women are sick, others feel nauseous without actually being sick. At a point when you may already feel tired and emotional and have a heightened sense of smell, it can be very trying – especially if no one else knows you're pregnant yet.

Unfortunately, there is no magic cure if you're suffering – but there are plenty of tried-and-tested remedies which are worth a try.

If you can't keep anything down for days on end and you're becoming dehydrated, then you may have hyperemesis and you'll need to go and see your doctor or midwife, who will be able to monitor you closely.

When should I go and see a doctor?

There is a chance you can become dehydrated or malnourished if you're suffering from severe morning sickness. Contact your GP or midwife immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • You have very dark-coloured urine or do not urinate for more than eight hours.
  • You are unable to keep food or fluids down for 24 hours.
  • You feel severely weak, dizzy or faint when standing up.
  • You have abdominal pain.
  • You have a high temperature of 38C or above.
  • You vomit blood.

In addition, urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also cause nausea and vomiting. If you have any pain when going to the toilet or notice any blood in your wee, you may have an infection and this will need treatment. Drink plenty of water to reduce the pain, but get yourself to a doctor too (your body will thank you for it).

When pregnant I was sick morning, noon and night – night being the worst actually. Morning sickness is an insulting term for something that can take over your life.

Is morning sickness a good sign?

Gross and debilitating as it is, morning sickness won't usually harm you or your baby in any way. In fact, if you do feel sick, research suggests you're less likely to have a miscarriage (clouds, silver linings, and all that).

Is morning sickness worse if you’re having a girl?

Pregnancy myths suggest that if you’re pregnant with a girl, you’ll experience worse sickness than those expecting a boy. There’s a small amount of evidence to back this up – baby girls produce more hormones, which may increase your nausea – but we wouldn’t recommend throwing out your list of boys’ names just yet. Plenty of women who give birth to baby boys are also unlucky enough to be saddled with morning sickness.

Should I worry if I don’t get morning sickness?

Try not to worry if you don't get morning sickness – and keep your fingers crossed that you don't develop it later on in pregnancy. So long as your doctor says your hormone levels are fine, consider yourself as having had a lucky escape!