Pregnancy

When Does Morning Sickness Start, End and How to Find Relief

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ll agree morning sickness is no fun.  If you’re newly pregnant, morning sickness is probably something you’re wondering and worrying about. You may be googling questions like ‘When does morning sickness start? or ‘What are some morning sickness remedies?’.

This post will answer your questions including when does morning sickness start, end and how to find relief from your morning sickness.

When Does Morning Sickness Start?

What is Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness is the nausea that often occurs during pregnancy. Morning sickness includes nausea with or without vomiting.

The name morning sickness was coined because, often, women experience nausea most strongly after waking up in the morning. However, morning sickness can actually last all day long, or happen any time during the day. I even know some moms who would wake up morning sickness in the middle of the night!

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What Causes Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness is thought to be caused by pregnancy hormones that begin to rise in your body. During your first trimester, your body starts pumping out pregnancy hormones to support the new life growing inside you.

 

Why Actually You Want Morning Sickness

Morning sickness has actually been associated with a lower risk of miscarriage. So even though it’s a giant pain, it’s good news for the health of your baby. Try to keep that in the back of your mind while you’re hugging the toilet bowl!

When Does Morning Sickness Start?

If you think you’re newly pregnant, you may be wondering when does morning sickness start. Morning sickness is not the best early sign of pregnancy. Morning sickness generally starts anywhere from five to eight weeks along (three to five weeks after conception).

Before then, your pregnancy hormones are not likely high enough to affect you (although everyone’s body is different).

Personally, my morning sickness was noticeable but bearable at six weeks. At seven weeks, it really hit me hard and continued for about six weeks before slowly subsiding.

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Can Morning Sickness Start at Week One?

Biology Lesson Alert:

Technically, morning sickness can’t start at week one, because you are not actually pregnant at week one of your forty week pregnancy.

Pregnancies are calculated from the first day of your last period. Because you ovulate about two weeks (give or take) after the start of your period, you aren’t actually pregnant until week 2-3. Weird, but that is the standard for measuring pregnancies.

So technically, conception occurs around week three of your pregnancy. You’re not likely to feel nauseous during the first few days after conception. After the sperm and egg meet, the egg has to implant on the wall of your uterus.

So How Soon Does Morning Sickness Start After Implantation?

After implantation, your body slowly begins to produce pregnancy hormones. Hormone levels rise gradually (this is also why most pregnancy tests don’t detect pregnancy until a week or two after conception).

It will take at least a week or two before pregnancy hormones are high enough to affect you. A few women may feel nauseous by week four of pregnancy (two weeks after conception), but for most it would be a bit later, usually week five to eight.

Aside from Morning Sickness, What Are Some Other Early Pregnancy Symptoms?

If you’re wondering about early signs of pregnancy, these symptoms are more likely to indicate that you are pregnant:

  • sore breasts
  • implantation pains (sharp pains or cramping)
  • spotting (also from implantation)
  • elevated basal body temperature
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • missed period (obviously)

Some of these symptoms closely resemble PMS or period symptoms, so if can be tricky to determine if you are pregnant, or just feelings the effects of your monthly cycle.

If you’re really questioning whether you are pregnant, you can try a pregnancy test, even before your period is due. This brand promises results six days before your missed period.

Does Everyone Get Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness affects 50-90% of pregnancies, so it’s not guaranteed that you’ll suffer from it at all (fingers crossed!). If you haven’t felt sick by eight or nine weeks, there’s a good chance that you’ll avoid this unpleasant pregnancy symptom.

How Does Morning Sickness Feel?

A simple answer is when you suffer from morning sickness, you basically feel nauseous. You either are sick to your stomach, or feel like you’re going to be sick, but don’t actually throw up.

Like everything in pregnancy, the finer details vary enormously from woman to woman.

Some women have bouts of nausea and vomiting sporadically through the day.

Others may be sick only in the morning and then fine for the rest of the day.

Others still may feel nauseous all day long, but are not actually sick to their stomachs at all.

Some women are fine throughout the day, but become nauseous when confronted with specific smells or tastes.

In rare cases, some women are severely nauseous and cannot hold anything down, even water (this is called hyperemesis gravidarum and you should definitely be seen by your doctor if you suspect you may have this).

There’s no way to really tell how your body will react to pregnancy, but those who get nauseous easily while not pregnant may be more likely to experience morning sickness.

When Does Morning Sickness Peak?

Morning sickness often peaks around week 10. Your body is producing lots of pregnancy hormones at this point and your placenta is growing, but hasn’t reached full capacity yet. Once the placenta is fully formed, it takes over hormone production and your pregnancy hormones lower, making most moms feel a bit better.

When Does Morning Sickness End?

One of the most annoying things about morning sickness is that you really can’t be sure when it will end.

Typically, morning sickness is associated with the first trimester. You may start feeling better around the end of the first trimester, but this isn’t always the case.

It’s also very common to have your morning sickness last partway into the second trimester. Lots of women notice their morning sickness becomes much more manageable by the end of the first trimester, but doesn’t completely go away until the end of the fourth month. This is when the placenta is fully formed and takes over hormone production.

For other women still, morning sickness lasts all pregnancy long. In rare cases, morning sickness doesn’t occur until into the second half of pregnancy.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell how long your morning sickness will last. Just cross your fingers, hang on tight and try some of the remedies listed below.

Natural Morning Sickness Relief

You are probably dying for some relief for your morning sickness. There are medications you can take, so you can consult with your care provider. However, you may want to try some natural remedies instead, or alongside medication.

It’s important to know that what works for one mom may not work for another. Dealing with morning sickness is a bit of trial and error. Once you figure out what helps you, stick with it until morning sickness subsides.

Foods to Help with Morning Sickness

Many moms find that keeping their tummies from becoming empty is a really helpful to keeping nausea at bay. now is the time to be a stereotypical pregnant woman and keep soda crackers in your bedside table and in your purse. You’re allowed to be cliche!

Starchy Foods

Most moms find starchy foods calming for the tummy which can keep morning sickness at bay. Foods like crackers, mashed potatoes, rice, toast or even chips might help you.

My go-to during my first pregnancy was a store-bought lasagna which before and since has always tasted like cardboard. But it worked during my first trimester and I was able to at least keep something down.

Salty Foods

Like starchy foods, there’s something about salty foods that seem to keep a new mama’s tummy calm. Unfortunately, these are mostly processed foods. You might be trying to eat healthily during your pregnancy, but this is one area that you can cut yourself some slack.

Indulge in chips or popcorn if it helps keep your tummy calm (salads aren’t going to do you any good if you can’t keep them down!).

Sour Foods

Sour foods can also help give you some morning sickness relief. Sour candies are a common recommendation for moms with upset tummies.

Personally,  Jolly Rancher candies were my go-to, but any sour candy would do in a pinch. I carried a bag with me everywhere and popped one in my mouth any time I felt nauseous. I literally had a bag stashed in my nightstand, another in my car and a third one in my purse.  I don’t want to even tell you how many bags of Jolly Ranchers I bought in my first trimester!

Cold Foods

Cold foods and drinks can be easier to get down than warm ones. Cold food also typically smells less strongly, which can set off nausea.

You can also try popsicles or ice chips if you’re having trouble staying hydrated. These popsicles are specifically designed for nausea relief and contain lemon, ginger, vitamin B6, coconut water and electrolytes AND are organic.

Ginger

Ginger is a well-know nausea buster (remember how your mom always gave you ginger ale when you were home sick?) Ginger ale, ginger tea, gingersnaps are all options, just make sure they contain real ginger, not artificial ginger flavour. You can even get fresh ginger and add it to your meals or snacks.

Food to Avoid with Morning Sickness

Some ‘cures’ for morning sickness have more to do with what food to avoid. Obviously, avoid any foods that make you feel extra nauseous. If that means you’re living on soda crackers 24/7, do it.

Chicken is one example of a common food that bothers many pregnant women, but your trigger could be almost anything. Mine was broccoli, a food I ate with every meal up until I got pregnant!

Please:

Don’t worry about not eating nutritiously enough in the first trimester. Baby’s nutritional needs are tiny (just like he/she is!). If you are healthily before pregnancy, you’ll likely have stored enough nutrients to make it through.

One Exception:

Folic acid is really important during the first trimester especially. Do try your best to get your prenatal vitamin down (pick the time of day you feel least nauseous). If you are seriously struggling, talk to your care provider about alternatives.

Other Ways to Reduce Nausea

Keep a Full Tummy

Whatever food you can keep down, make sure you always have some on hand. Preventing your tummy from being empty can really help keep morning sickness at bay.

If that means stashing crackers or candies in your beside table, purse and car, by all means, do what you have to do!

For me, it meant keeping a bag of Sociable crackers right beside me at all times as I taught my kindergarten class. It looked strange, but it kept me from running to the bathroom in the middle of lessons!

Fresh Air

Fresh air can be really helpful in alleviating nausea, so crack a window or go for a walk if you can.

Know Your Smells

Certain smells can aggravate nausea. Like foods, if a smell bothers you, try to avoid it at all costs.

You can also use smells to decrease nausea. My go-to was a fresh lemon. I discovered this after I got a really bad cold during pregnancy. I was drinking hot water with lemon and honey like it was my job. I eventually discovered a whiff of lemon could carry me through my worst waves of nausea. Walking around with half a lemon in my purse was a little bizarre, but hey, whatever works, right?

No Brushing

Brushing my teeth was a huge nausea trigger for me, especially in the morning. I tried to fight through it while I was pregnant with my first child and ended up throwing up more often than not.

With my second, I didn’t even bother brushing my teeth first thing in the morning.

On good day I would quickly brush with just water, no toothpaste and then attempt a full-on brush when I got to work (smuggling my toothbrush to the bathroom was interesting since I was trying to conceal my pregnancy from my colleagues).

On bad days, I popped a breath mint and tried not to get to close to anyone before noon, when I could handle toothpaste.

I didn’t get a single cavity, despite my questionable brushing practices, so it didn’t do too much harm. Even my dentist (also a mom) said to do what you need to in order to get through morning sickness!

You can also experiment with different brands of toothpaste and toothbrushes. Look for a toothpaste without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a foaming ingredient. You can try this drugstore brand of toothpaste or this natural fluoride-free option instead.

If having the head of the toothbrush in your mouth is contributing to your nausea, you can also try a child’s toothbrush. These teeth-brushing wipes might also help you if you want to avoid a toothbrush all together (I am definitely trying these during my next pregnancy!).

Acupuncture/Acupressure

I’ve personally never tried either, but acupuncture and acupressure have been said to help with morning sickness as well. I’ve heard great things about these bracelets. For such a inexpensive price, it couldn’t hurt to try it!

Exercise

A commonly recommended method to help with morning sickness is exercise. I don’t know who is recommending this, but they surely can’t have actually been pregnant! Along with morning sickness, most moms are totally exhausted during the first trimester! I could barely lift my head off the couch, let alone voluntarily exercise!

That being said, if you do have the motivation, exercising can’t hurt, so if you’re desperate, give it a try!

 

After reading this post, you’ve learned the answers to when does morning sickness start, stop, why it happens, and how to make life a little more bearable with morning sickness. Although it feels like it, morning sickness doesn’t last forever, so hang on tight and it will be over before you know it. Good luck mamas!

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