How Long Does Morning Sickness Last

Why Does Morning Sickness Happen and When Does it Start?

I’ll always remember a young woman who came into my office complaining of a sudden onset of bloating and feeling sick to her stomach. I asked her, “Is there any chance that you’re pregnant?” to which she responded, “No, I don’t think so”.

Later that day, I shared the great news with her and her husband that they were expecting.

This scenario is not uncommon. Many women experience some symptoms of pregnancy before they realize that they missed their period.

In this post, I’d like to share some highlights of when morning sickness starts and why it happens in the first place.

First things First

  1. +Morning sickness is incredibly common, affecting nearly 50-90% of women.
  2. +Severe morning sickness is uncommon. Only about 1-2% of women will have symptoms requiring hosptilization.
  3. +Younger women are more likely to get morning sickness than older women who are pregnant.


The More the Better?

  1. +Women with twins and multiple gestations have a higher risk of morning sickness.
  2. +Supertasters are much more likely to get morning sickness.
  3. +Women with acid reflux are more likely to suffer from morning sickness
  4. +Women with motion sickness are more likely to get morning sickness.

Girl Power

  1. +Women pregnant with baby girls are more likely to have a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum.

But Why Me?

  1. +One of the leading thoughts on why women get morning sickness is hormones. The same hormone that tells you you’re pregnant, hCG, is a common culprit.
  2. +The other female hormone, progesterone, is also implicated. It has a tendency to slow down your intestines and lead to all sorts of not-so-fun things like acid reflux, bloating, and constipation-all of which can make morning sickness worse.
  3. Interestingly, recent studies suggest that women who have the stomach infection Helicobacter pylori are at much higher risk of morning sickness.
    HCG may be a leading cause of morning sickness

When Did It All Start?

  1. +Morning sickness can start as early as five weeks into your pregnancy. It often lasts for up to 18 weeks.
  2. +The worst time for most women with morning sickness is around nine weeks of gestation.
  3. +About 1 in 20 women will have morning sickness all the way to delivery.

It’s Not Morning and I’m Sick!

  1. +Morning sickness is a misnomer. Most women with morning sickness have symptoms throughout the day.

Is it All Bad?

  1. +Of course not, your little bundle of joy is on their way!
  2. +Also, take comfort in knowing that women with morning sickness are less likely to have a miscarriage.


I hope this list of morning sickness highlights proves helpful. For more on treatments of morning sickness, be sure to check out


Congratulations on your new baby!


Dustin James MD

The Tummy Doc

Board-Certified Gastroenterologist

Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Digestive Health

Reading, sharing, or other utilization of this article does not establish a doctor patient relationship with the article’s author. As always, be sure to consult with your physician regarding your health related issues before initiating or changing any medicines.

How Long Does Morning Sickness Last?

woman with a strong toxicosis

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.

Hyperemesis Remedies

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.