Morning sickness

What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness is one of the early symptoms of pregnancy where pregnant women will experience mild nausea and vomiting. Even though it is called morning sickness the symptoms could actually be at any time of the day. More than 50% of pregnancy women will have morning sickness. Certain women will have recurring morning sickness symptoms in her subsequent pregnancies. In some women, they will experience severe nausea and vomiting causing inability to tolerate any fluid or solids that could lead to dehydration. This is called as hyperemesis gravidarum.
Why do pregnant women suffer from morning sickness?
The actual cause for this is actually poorly understood. However, this is perhaps due to the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG).
How long will my morning sickness last for?
Usually the morning sickness starts around 6 weeks and subsides by 14 weeks. Unfortunately, for some women it could last up to the third trimester and even the entire pregnancy!
What could I do?
  • Eat small frequent meals. Avoid skipping meals as an empty stomach cause precipitate your morning sickness.
  • Drink small amounts of fluid throughout the day to keep you hydrated
  • Avoid spicy, oily and greasy food
  • Identify triggers. For some women it is a certain scent or even cooking. Avoid humid or stuffy places as it could trigger nausea.
  • Eat dry crackers as soon as you wake up
  • Some women find that their prenatal vitamins containing iron may make their morning sickness worse. If this is so, you could try taking your vitamin later on in the day with meals or just before you go to bed. If you do stop taking you prenatal vitamins, do at least take the folic acid vitamin.
  • Try changing your toothpaste brand with a more bland tasting one if you tend to be nauseated early in the morning.
What treatment are available for my morning sickness?
     You need to consult your doctor first before taking any of the treatment mentioned below:
  • Vitamin B6 (10 – 25mg) three times / day. This could help reduce your nausea but not vomitting.
  • Antihistamine / anti-nausea medications such as metoclopromide. This could help reduce nausea and vomitting. It could either be taken in the tablet or injected form.
How about complementary treatments?
  • Acupuncture and acupressure. Studies have not shown that these acupressure wristbands are more effective than sham (fake) wristbands.1However, some women may find it helpful. Acupuncture and acupressure have no known harmful side effects.
  • Hypnosis. This may be helpful in some women.
  • Ginger. Powdered ginger have been shown to be helpful in alleviating morning sickness in some women. However, more studies need to be done to ensure it is safe and effective. If you want, you could try taking ginger lollipops or ales to help reduce your nausea and vomitting.
Will it be harmful to me or my baby?
Provided you are able to still tolerate food and fluid. It should be alright. It will not cause any harm to your baby. There is no increase risk of miscarriage.
When should I see the doctor?
  • If you feel excessively thirsty and tired
  • Unable to tolerate any fluid causing severe dehydration
  • Excessive vomiting
  • If you see blood in your vomit.
  • Lower abdominal pain and cramping


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1. Jewell D, Young G. Interventions for Nausea and vomitting in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003; (4): CD000145.

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