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Understanding morning sickness - what’s normal and what to look out for

13 July 2021

Morning sickness is an unfortunate reality for many pregnant women, particularly in early pregnancy. Midwife Jo Jury shares her advice on what you can expect if your experience morning sickness, how to relieve its symptoms, and what to do if you are concerned.

What causes morning sickness?

Morning sickness, generally known as nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, is caused by changes in hormones during pregnancy and is a common symptom of early pregnancy.

It typically goes away by the end of the first three months, though for a small number of women it lasts into the second and even third trimester.

What are the typical symptoms of morning sickness?

Although it is called morning sickness, nausea (with or without vomiting) can happen at any time of the day, and the intensity of symptoms is different for each woman.

You may experience mild nausea for only a few weeks, while others can feel exhausted and experience long stretches of intense nausea and vomiting. For most women who experience morning sickness, they also have a reduced or changed appetite.

Will my nausea affect my baby?

Morning sickness does not usually cause any problems for the unborn baby. However, if you experience severe and ongoing vomiting, it is important to contact a doctor.

How will I know if I need medical help for my morning sickness?

Speak with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your morning sickness.

Severe cases of nausea, known as hyperemesis gravidarum are rare, but do require medical treatment. Some symptoms include:

  • persistent excessive vomiting (more than 3 or 4 times a day)
  • unrelenting, severe nausea
  • dehydration
  • a decrease in urination due to dehydration
  • weight loss or not gaining weight
  • rapid heartbeat
  • headaches and confusion

How can I get relief from morning sickness?

Listen to what your body is telling you. For example, you might have loved a morning cup of coffee before you were pregnant but now the smell is making you feel queasy.

Change your diet to find what works best for you, knowing that in time, the feeling will pass.

Some common remedies include:

  1. Eat small meals, frequently, as missing meals can make nausea worse
  2. Eat slowly
  3. Avoid sight/smell of offending foods
  4. Choose foods high in starch, e.g. bread
  5. Eat something before getting out of bed (dry crackers)
  6. Snack on nutritious food such as fruits and vegetables
  7. Separate eating and drinking
St John of God Health Care Joanne Jury
Joanne Jury - Midwife

Jo Jury is an experienced midwife at St John of God Bendigo Hospital. She has more than eight years’ experience as a midwife and has a particular interest in perinatal mental health and all aspects of midwifery care and early parenting.