In those early days of pregnancy, it can feel like there’s little break between between the toilet bowl and a fridge full of stomach-churning foodstuffs.
So how long does morning sickness last?
For most of us, morning sickness will be a thing of the past by around the 3-month mark – hurrah! “Morning sickness tends to clear up at the end of the first trimester,” confirms our GP, Dr Philippa Kaye. “It generally goes at around weeks 12-14.”
Not everyone is this fortunate, however. Unfortunately, for some, the condition can drag on way into the 2nd trimester and, for an unlucky few, all the way to the 9-month mark.
Is it normal for the sickness to stop suddenly?
Yes, it can stop overnight. But it can also just fade away: your symptoms getting less and less until, suddenly, you realise you’re not feeling so queasy any more.
“Some women don’t necessarily notice when their nausea stops; they only notice when it’s there,” says Dr Kaye. “It can stop surprisingly suddenly, though, but that doesn’t mean that anything has happened to your baby.”
Can morning sickness stop, then come back?
Oh yes. Pregnancy nausea can come and go. “You may not feel sick every day,” says Dr Kaye, “as different factors are involved, such as what you have eaten – or not eaten.”
Will morning sickness affect my baby?
No. It’s natural to worry that all this vomiting might not be good for your baby’s development. But all the evidence shows there’s no cause for concern – unless you’re constantly throwing up day and night, and can’t keep any food in your body for any length of time, which may be a sign that you’ve developed Hypermesis Gravidarum (severe sickness) and should see your GP for treatment (see So at what point would I need to see a doctor about this constant sickness?, below)
“Don’t worry if you cannot eat as healthily as you would like or are not managing to eat a lot,” says Dr Kaye. “Your baby will take all it needs from the stores in your body.”
MFMer Nicolette makes the same recommendation on our Chat forum: “Eat what you can and don’t worry too much about what you’re having – eating at all can be a bonus!”
So at what point would I need to see a doctor about this constant sickness?
If you feel that you can no longer cope with your morning sickness and are struggling to function, then it’s time to give your GP a call.
Your doctor may give you a prescription for an anti-sickness medicine that is safe to take during your pregnancy. Don’t feel you have to struggle on your own.
“I couldn’t keep anything down for 4 days and was so weak, my hubby had to escort me into doctor’s room,” says MFMer Wendy F. “I ended up at getting anti-vomit pills. I can now eat about half of what I call normal but it’s hot food that’s the worst. Any cooking smells and I’m gone. Luckily my hubby loves to cook so he’s taken over the kids’ dinners while I have a nap, then I get up and have a sandwich.”
Unfortunately for a few mums-to-be, excessive sickness can become a real health problem. Dr Kaye advises you to seek urgent medical help, if you have any of the following symptoms:
- You haven’t been able to keep any food or fluids down for 24 hours
- Your wee is dark-coloured
- You haven’t got a wee for more than 8 hours
- You feel very weak, dizzy or faint when you stand up
- You have tummyache
- You have a high temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or above
- You vomit blood
“Some women in this situation need to be admitted for intravenous fluids,”explains Dr Kaye.
This severe pregnancy sickness in its most extreme form is called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It made the headlines when the Duchess of Cambridge suffered from it during the 1st trimester of her pregnancy with baby Prince George. With treatment, she was able to continue the rest of her pregnancy in good health – as is generally the case of others pregnant women who develop hyperemesis.