Nothing quite thrusts you in the realities of pregnancy as quick as morning sickness does. Just after the excitement of seeing a positive pregnancy test comes the discomfort of morning sickness.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness, which is nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, affects the majority of women. Around 50% of women experience vomiting, and 70% of women experience nausea.1 (And some research suggests as many as 90% of women experience nausea.2) And, despite the term “morning sickness,” the discomfort can strike at any time of day…and even last all day.
Women usually begin experiencing morning sickness before 9 weeks of pregnancy. (And for some women, it is sometimes one of the first signs of pregnancy, aside from a missed period.) For most women, morning sickness goes away by the second trimester. In more rare cases, morning sickness may last months, or even throughout the entire pregnancy.
Is Morning Sickness Safe for My Baby?
Outside of extreme and/or severe scenarios, keep in mind that morning sickness is completely safe for you and your baby, although it may be uncomfortable (and honestly, sometimes a little frustrating!). As a matter of fact, research suggests that women who experience morning sickness are less likely to miscarry — 3.2 times less!3
So, while you may feel sick and unpleasant, morning sickness can be a promising sign that you’re well on your way to hearing your baby’s heartbeat around weeks 8 or 10.
Do I Need to See a Doctor for Morning Sickness?
Because morning sickness is par for the course during pregnancy, there typically isn’t a need to see your OB outside of your monthly visits during your first trimester.
Some women experience nausea and/or vomiting a couple of times a day for a few hours, and for others, the symptoms are persistent and severe. In very rare cases (about 2-3% of women) women experience hyperemesis gravidarum. This is the most severe form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, and may be diagnosed when a woman has lost 5% of her prepregnancy weight and has other problems related to dehydration (loss of body fluids).
It may be time to see a doctor when:
What Helps with Morning Sickness?
While there isn’t a cure for morning sickness, there are some ways to alleviate your nausea and vomiting — keep in mind though, nothing is a one-size fits all approach. (And yes, there is some truth to the “saltines and ginger ale” wisdom you’ve heard from family and friends.)
Remember to Listen to Your Body!
Listening to your body throughout your entire pregnancy is important, so start early in the first trimester. If a food you used to love now has a funny flavor or smell, don’t eat it. If something makes you feel sick, even if you know it is good for you, don’t feel like you need to eat it. If you’re tired, rest. If you feel as though your morning symptoms are severe, call your providers. Only you know exactly how you feel — and don’t be afraid to speak up.