Pregnancy and morning sickness go hand in hand, as not many women are able to escape it. The term ‘morning sickness’ is a bit misleading because most women feel nauseated throughout their whole day, not just in the morning. The technical term is really ‘nausea and vomiting of pregnancy’. Whatever you call it, you will want to be informed and know what causes morning sickness, what remedies may bring you relief, and have an answer to ‘How long does morning sickness last?’ so that you can be ready.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
There are many reasons that you can experience nausea and vomiting throughout your pregnancy. One of the prime suspects is the hormone HCG, which rapidly rises during early pregnancy (when morning sickness is most likely to occur.) Higher levels of HCG are known to cause even more sickness during a pregnancy. Other reasons may be a rise in estrogen, enhanced sense of smell and taste, a stomach that is easily upset, and stress.
You are more likely to have morning sickness if you are pregnant with multiples, have had morning sickness in the past, have a history of migraine headaches, or have a genetic predisposition to nausea.
How Long Does Morning Sickness Last?
There is no right answer to this as it depends on your body and history. For instance, if you have a sensitive stomach and are genetically set up to have morning sickness, then chances are you will experience it longer than someone who does not have those issues.
It is most likely to occur in the first trimester and stop around the 12th week, however some women experience it for less time, some women experience it well past the 12th week mark, and some women experience it throughout their whole pregnancy.
In addition, you may experience hyperemesis gravidarum in your pregnancy, which literally means excessive vomiting in pregnancy. Women experiencing hyperemesis can end up throwing up several times in a day and become unable to consume food or drink without throwing up. This can start very early, before the 5th week of pregnancy, and it can last anywhere from a few weeks to the entire pregnancy. Unfortunately, many mothers who have this condition need to be hospitalized at some point during their pregnancy because of dehydration. Fortunately, it is fairly uncommon, and is most common for a short time in the early parts of pregnancy.
Morning Sickness Remedies
There are many things you can do to relieve the symptoms of morning sickness. Following are a few suggestions that may help you find relief.
Get up slowly – Instead of rushing out of bed in the morning, allow yourself plenty of time to wake up and start moving. Moving too fast can cause nausea to come on, especially on an empty stomach.
Eat and drink all day – Overeating and hunger can both cause nausea to occur, so from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, you should eat small meals that do not make you too full. Also, you should drink water before eating to help you judge how full or hungry you are while eating so that you don’t end up overeating.
Get rest – Rest can help your body relax and rejuvenate, which can help to alleviate stress and nausea, but do not take a nap directly after eating as that is known to make the nausea worse. Instead, allow your body some time to digest the food and then take a nap.
Avoid spicy and greasy foods – These have high potential to cause you to become nauseated, both from smell and from indigestion. Bland meals that do not have a strong smell will be less likely to cause nausea. The BRAT diet is a good starting point if you are looking for a bland diet.
Eat stomach settling foods – There are some foods that are known to naturally settle your stomach and provide relief from nausea. These foods include ginger, crackers, peppermint, jello, and lemons. Include these in your meals or eat them on their own.
If you experience hyperemesis, then the usual remedies will likely not work for you. Your doctor may offer you medication, as there are some safe drugs that will help your sickness. For instance, they may recommend Diclectin®, which is a combination of an antihistamine and vitamin B6. However, if you don’t respond to the drug, or if dehydration starts to set in, then your doctor may admit you to the hospital to hydrate you intravenously.
In the end, there is no one answer to ‘How long does morning sickness last?’ Every woman will experience morning sickness differently when it comes to length and severity. However, by using some of the remedies mentioned above, you can relieve or lessen your symptoms.