When Does Morning Sickness Start?
Experiencing morning sickness is a different experience for every pregnant woman. However, most will complain of experiencing nausea around six weeks into their pregnancy. For many, this uncomfortable sensation peaks at ground 9 weeks into the pregnancy and lasts for the next six to nine weeks.
The experience of morning sickness may be more or less severe for different women. For example, some women may experience the start of morning sickness in just their second week of pregnancy. They may continue to feel nauseous till the end of their first trimester. But some women are lucky enough to experience very mild or even no morning sickness at all.
There are various factors contributing to when exactly morning sickness starts for pregnant women. Likewise, the severity of the condition, as well as the timing of feeling nauseous also varies. To better understand when morning sickness starts, here is a look at some facts behind the experience:
What is morning sickness?
Although the sensation is commonly called morning sickness, it is actually a feeling of nausea, sometimes followed by vomiting. Many women experience this during their pregnancy. The feeling can occur at any time during the day but most women tend to be queasier when they wake up in the morning.
Some women may even wake up because they feel they need to vomit in the morning. This happens because an empty stomach is more prone to queasiness. Typically, the sensation gets better as the day progresses. But queasiness can happen at any time during the day.
Why does it happen?
While the exact cause of morning sickness remains unknown, possible triggers can be identified below:
- Hormonal changes
Medical professionals believe morning sickness starts because of hormonal changes in the body. Changes in levels of important hormones such as estrogen and progesterone may be responsible for the condition. Also, hCG, the hormone produced by the embryo and placenta may be linked to feeling nauseous in the morning.
If the woman has low blood sugar, it may also factor into the start of morning sickness. This is because the placenta drains energy and nutrients from the mother’s body to give to the fetus. For most people, blood sugar is lowest in the morning because of the long time passed without eating. As a result, expectant mothers may feel nausea more severely in the morning than later on.
- Heightened sensitivity to smell
The sense of smell becomes more sensitive during pregnancy. This can cause nausea to trigger in the presence of certain items such as foods or fragrances. Things that did not smell bad before can begin to do so now. Even aromas such as coffee can become a turn off, so stay away from triggers that start to smell offensive.
- Expecting twins or triplets
In the case of multiples, women often experience a lot more nausea than others with a singleton pregnancy. This is because they have higher levels of pregnancy hormones in their body. In fact, women carrying multiples are more likely to suffer from the extreme version of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum.
What are the symptoms of morning sickness?
It is not hard to detect the start of morning sickness as symptoms can make women feel rather uncomfortable. Feelings like anxiety, agitation and restlessness are common. The physical symptoms of morning sickness include feeling overly tired and experience retching. Women can also develop a nauseous feeling when seeing or smelling certain foods. Some women may also experience passing a small amount of urine which might be darker than usual in color.
What to do about morning sickness?
While morning sickness does not go away completely, there are a lot of different ways to ease the discomfort for pregnant women. There are numerous home remedies for morning sickness during pregnancy that can be used to help alleviate the queasiness and nausea.Some of these include the following:
Eat early and then late
With low blood sugar levels and an empty stomach in the morning, feeling queasy becomes very likely. Experts advise eating something soon after waking up to limit the queasiness. It is also suggested to have a light snack soon before bedtime so that the stomach is partially filled when you go to sleep. Remember that an empty stomach induces nausea.
Have a lemon drink
When nausea sets in, a glass of water with a lemon slice can help lessen the queasiness. Also, cutting up a lemon and smelling it can help control or at least improve the condition.
Soothe nausea with ginger
Ginger tea can be used to ease the start of morning sickness and help the expectant mother feel better. Snacks such as ginger cookie and ginger snaps are another option. Ginger supplements are also available in the market to help with easing nausea symptoms. Fresh ginger can also be included in meals to soothe nausea.
Eat smaller meals
Experts also recommend that pregnant women should not eat large meals at a time. Instead, they should opt for smaller but more frequent meals during the day. This practice can help limit the feeling of nausea and vomiting and minimize the effects of morning sickness.
If nausea strikes during the day, it becomes important to rest. Remember that being tired can make the nausea worse so it is better to take it easy when you feel queasy.
Avoid warm places
If nausea aggravates during the day, stay in a comfortable, breathable setting. This refers to an environment that it is not too warm or hot. Hot surroundings can make anyone uncomfortable and in the case of pregnant women, can also add to the sensation of nausea.
Try complementary approaches
Several complementary approaches such as acupressure, acupuncture, or hypnosis are available to help with the condition. If you find certain aromas relaxing, then aromatherapy is another option that you can try. Taking an aromatic bath or massaging with essential oils can calm nausea.
What is severe morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum?
When the start of morning sickness is not limited to the first trimester, but actually extends beyond and may sometimes even continue for the entire duration of the pregnancy, the condition is medically known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
Women suffering from this extreme form of morning sickness can also suffer from other medical complications. Some women may need to spend time in the hospital and receive fluids through an IV, since they may not be able to retain anything that they eat or drink.
When does morning sickness start for someone with hyperemesis gravidarum?
Some women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum may experience the start of morning sickness as early as their second week of pregnancy. Others may encounter nausea and vomiting when in their fourth to sixth week of pregnancy. Many women with hyperemesis gravidarum usually start to feel better by their 20th week or when they are almost halfway through their pregnancy.
At the same time, there are still a very few number of women who may feel sick until the time they deliver the baby. However, the severity of the condition does decrease as the pregnancy progresses.
What are the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum?
Apart from starting earlier on in the pregnancy, most symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum are very similar to those of regular morning sickness. However, the intensity of the symptoms may be more acute in the following ways:
More severe vomiting
Women are just as likely to feel fatigued, irritable, uneasy and squeamish as others. But those with hyperemesis gravidarum will experience more severe and frequent vomiting. The vomiting may also be bad enough to hospitalize expectant mothers since it becomes very difficult for them to retain their food or drink.
Possibility of dehydration
Occasionally the nausea and vomiting can become severe enough to seriously dehydrate the expectant mother. To keep nausea at a minimum it is recommended to drink fluids half an hour before or after meals, but not with meals.
Loss of body weight
Due to the intense vomiting and perhaps dehydration, expectant women may also lose their body weight. In some cases, inadequate nutrition may also affect the baby’s birth weight and development.
Depression or anxiety
Since hyperemesis gravidarum can take a physical toll on a woman’s health, she may feel unable to cope with daily tasks and schedules. As a result, some women can start to feel overly anxious or even depressed in this condition. Later on this depression may also lead to an increased risk of postpartum depression.
In addition, the start of morning sickness for these women can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as developing low blood pressure, experiencing extreme fatigue and headaches as well as a decrease in urination. Some women may also experience a more rapid than usual heartbeat.
How can hyperemesis gravidarum be detected?
Usually the severity of the symptoms and the earlier start of morning sickness can be indicative of hyperemesis gravidarum. Doctors and medical experts can also carry out a physical exam to determine blood pressure and pulse rate of the expectant mother. If blood pressure is found to be lower than usual and pulse rate higher than normal, it can be an indicator of hyperemesis gravidarum.
Medical practitioners can also run blood or urine tests to check for signs of dehydration.
How can hyperemesis gravidarum be treated?
Just as hyperemesis gravidarum cannot be prevented, there is also no cure for the condition. However, there are a number of things that can be done to keep the unpleasantness of the condition to a minimum. These steps can help the expectant mother through her pregnancy and include the following:
Make helpful dietary changes
The discomfort of the condition can be minimized by making some diet and lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals, and staying away from fatty foods. Instead try to include more stomach friendly foods like starchy carbs and yogurt.
It is also recommended to drink a lot of fluids since becoming dehydrated is a concern. Dehydration is another nausea trigger. So to prevent it from setting in, drink adequate fluid in small amounts throughout the day. Even hydrating foods like popsicles can be consumed to stay well hydrated.
Never go hungry
While it may seem counterintuitive to eat at frequent intervals, especially when suffering from nausea and vomiting, experts recommend that it is important for pregnant women to never go hungry. This is because highs and lows in blood sugar levels can aggravate queasiness. Instead eat small snacks like saltine crackers, or salty chips to settle the stomach.
Try bed rest
Some women may need to resort to bed rest and try to cure their condition with home remedies. Bed rest can help overcome feelings of extreme fatigue and anxiety. However, try not to lie down right after eating a meal.
Try some home remedies
Home remedies are a great way to calm down nausea. Most home remedies are quick fixes and inexpensive ways to help cope with the discomfort of morning sickness. Simple ideas like chewing on fennel seeds, sucking on lemon drops or other hard candy are helpful. Also, snacking on simple starches like crackers can help settle a queasy stomach.
Vitamin B6 supplementation
If these measures do not help, then your doctor may advise you to try vitamin B6 supplementation. Vitamin B6 can help reduce the severity of nausea during pregnancy. Some anti-nausea prescription medications are also available to help with the condition.
The good news about morning sickness!
Even though morning sickness will make women feel miserable, the good news is that it indicates a healthy pregnancy. The nauseous feeling signals a high level of pregnancy hormones in the body and that the placenta is developing normally. Later on the placenta helps nourish the growing fetus properly.
Women also need not worry about the severity of the morning sickness. This is because the condition is not harmful to the mother or the baby and does not affect a healthy pregnancy.
It is only when hyperemesis gravidarum is diagnosed, that proper rest and care should be administered. Proper care ensures that no nutritional deficiency and electrolyte imbalance is caused by the start of morning sickness.