Right after finding out you’re pregnant, one of the next questions usually is, when does morning sickness start? Shortly followed by… when does morning sickness end?!
The arrival of morning sickness during pregnancy can often feel like a mixed blessing.
On one hand, you may find the queasiness and nausea to be a strange comfort, reassuring you that your pregnancy is going well.
But on the other hand… well, if you’ve had morning sickness before, you’ll know all about that.
When Does Morning Sickness Start?
So, when does morning sickness start in pregnancy?
Remember, you’re not technically pregnant until around the second week of pregnancy, when conception and implantation occurs.
Only then does the embryo release the pregnancy hormone, hCG, which is what a pregnancy tests look for to let us know we’re pregnant.
Many women encounter morning sickness for the first time at around 3 to 4 weeks of pregnancy.
However, for the majority of women who end up with morning sickness, it starts somewhere in the first 3-10 weeks, and clusters around week 4-6.
“It started about 3 days after ovulation, and stopped at around 9 weeks. It came back on and off a couple times throughout the pregnancy.” – Anna
“For me, it started at 6 weeks on the dot. I can even remember the exact moment. It lasted till about 16 weeks.” – Michelle
How Common Is It?
Around 50-80% of women experience some degree of morning sickness in the first trimester of pregnancy.
The more severe version, known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), affects around 2% of all pregnant women.
If you’re vomiting a number of times a day and are unable to eat or drink without being sick, you may have HG.
You should seek medical advice, as you may be at risk of serious dehydration.
“I had nothing for my first pregnancy. In my second it was weeks 6-9, and my third weeks 6-11.” – Kelly
“For me it never happened, except I stopped eating everything I used to love before.” – Ruwaida
“I didn’t have morning sickness with my daughter. With my son, I threw up a few times but it was completely random. I’d go a few days with nothing, then throw up five times the next day. The worst for me was the randomness of it all. Never knew when I’d have to throw up, but once I did, it was all good. I consider myself lucky though.” – Katarina
What Does Morning Sickness Feel Like?
There’s a big range of severity as far as morning sickness goes, and it can be different for each pregnancy.
I asked members of the BellyBelly Facebook Community if they could describe what it felt like to them.
One of the most common responses was feeling like they were constantly hungover or had motion sickness.
“A hangover from a party you weren’t invited to. Just this week I woke up and thought, ‘oh girl, you shouldn’t have had that second glass of wine.’ I haven’t had a glass of wine in 6 months.” – Janet
“It’s different for different people. I was constantly throwing up in the morning and nauseous all day. Smells sometimes triggered me to throw up, and so did some foods. It’s pure exhaustion, and it makes you emotional as well.” – Lydia
“I got tired and weak from not being able to keep much food down. Smells, textures and tastes made me gag. I felt like I had to pretend I was great and excited about having a baby, even though I’d rather curl up under a doona and hide until it’s all over. Working is awful, as the smallest things set my stomach off. Then I felt guilty that everyone around me had to cope with my lack of energy, enthusiasm, etc.” – Ruby
No Morning Sickness – Is Something Wrong?
A lack of morning sickness doesn’t automatically mean there’s a problem with your pregnancy.
After all, we already know around 20-50% of women will be lucky enough to avoid it.
However, some women who don’t have morning sickness say they’d feel more reassured if they did have it!
But in this case, you’ll just have to count your blessings that you’re not sick.
“Had daily fresh juices with carrot and ginger… no morning sickness and worked all way through! Also never been on the Pill. Had two healthy munchkins.” – Jenifer
“First four pregnancies, never had anything. Last four, resulting in two miscarriages and two births, I was sick all the way through.” – Keisha
What Causes Morning Sickness?
Despite the fact that it’s such a common pregnancy complaint, researchers still do not understand fully what causes morning sickness.
Certainly it seems that pregnancy hormones, particularly hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) have a large role to play.
hCG levels peak at around 10 weeks of gestation, which is when most women will have the worst symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
However, hCG might not be the only culprit involved.
Changes in the levels of oestrogen, and the thyroid hormone, thyroxin, may also have a role to play.
Other possible causes include blood pressure changes, and changes to the way your body metabolises carbohydrates during pregnancy.
Can I Prevent Morning Sickness?
It’s probably not possible to prevent it, but some studies seem to suggest taking prenatal vitamins before you become pregnant can help you to avoid it.
Continuing your vitamins during pregnancy may also help to reduce your symptoms, particularly if you’re taking B6.
To get the best quality vitamins on the market, a naturopath will have access to practitioner-only brands, which are in adequate quantities and absorb well.
Over-the-counter vitamins tend to be lower in strength and absorbability.
Morning Sickness Relief – What Works Best?
Seeking some morning sickness relief or want to be prepared?
Different remedies seem to work for different women.
Try a few different remedies, but listen to your body until you find what works best for you.
See our list of the best morning sickness remedies we know.