When does morning sickness start?

Nausea and vomiting can be the first sign of pregnancy but when do you start feeling queasy - and what does it mean if you don't?

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Morning sickness is one of the best-known (and most obvious!) symptoms of pregnancy.

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So how early can morning sickness begin?

“Morning sickness often starts from 6 weeks – around two weeks after you miss your period,” explains GP Dr Philippa Kaye. But some women can feel nauseous as early as 2-3 weeks, and for many it’s one of the first symptoms of their pregnancy.

Of course, no two women are the same and neither are any two pregnancies. Some of us will be spared the toilet bowl until later in the first trimester, and some really lucky mums-to-be won’t feel queasy at all.

What if I don’t have any nausea or sickness: can I still be pregnant?

This is a common worry. And yet, this is the rub. When we have pregnancy sickness we wish we didn’t, and when we don’t have it, many of us wish we did (or at least a little bit) just to reassure us we are actually pregnant!

The thing to remember is that all pregnancies are different and no morning sickness shouldn’t automatically be cause for concern. “If you don’t have any nausea don’t worry,” Dr Kaye says. “It doesn’t mean anything is wrong, you are just lucky!”

“I was 8 weeks pregnant before I found out,” recalls Kas on our forums. “When I told people, they were asking me if I had sore boobs, was I tired, did I need to wee all the time, was I feeling sick? It made me really panic, as I had none of these symptoms. It wasn’t until I went for my 12 week scan that I could relax.”

What are the symptoms: will I actually be sick?

According to Dr Kaye, around 50% of pregnant women will have some nausea with actual vomiting, and a slightly luckier 30% will feel nauseous but won’t actually be sick. It’s still good old morning sickness, though. Nauseous symptoms may involve a heaving stomach, some dry retching (hmm, nice) or simply a queasy feeling.

“I was one of the lucky ones,” says MFMer Caroline. “I managed to get away with no morning sickness. I felt slightly sick when near a parsnip but that was it! I just felt slightly tired and emotional in the first 3 months.”

But for others, morning sickness can mean full blown vomiting.

MFMer Ems had such bad vomiting she actually lost weight in the first 12 weeks of her second pregnancy. “I couldn’t eat a thing which is so not me! I didn’t think it would ever end. I am just so thankful that I’m a full-time mum and not at work. It did ease of at about 16wks.”

And don’t be fooled by the ‘morning’ bit of ‘morning sickness’. Whoever came up with that name, hadn’t experienced many pregnancies. For most of us, nausea can strike at any time throughout the day. Clairemumof3 certainly found this to be the case, revealing that she had “morning, afternoon and evening sickness” until 34-weeks.

Find out if your mum suffered from morning sickness. One study found that women whose mothers had sickness in pregnancy are three times as likely to be affected themselves.

If I had morning sickness in my 1st pregnancy, will I have it again this time round?

Forget what you experienced last time. This is a new pregnancy, and could affect you in totally new ways.

MFMer Kristy had very different symptoms with each of her 3 pregnancies. “With my first pregnancy I never felt or looked pregnant and not one syptom at all. I only felt pregnant when I could feel the baby move. I remember doing tests at 10 weeks just to make sure I was still pregnant. With my second pregnancy I had sickness and a little tiredness. With my third pregnancy, I got everything in full force!”

Dr Kaye, had a similarly dramatic experience. “In my first pregnancy I was sick as a dog, up to 8 or 10 times a day – on the Tube, at work, on the street – everywhere. All I ate were Hula Hoops, gingernut biscuits and ice cold lemonade in the daytime, but then managed dinner. It was horrid! But for baby number two, I had no sickness at all bar one vomit!”

How long will morning sickness last?

By the end of your first trimester, morning sickness is usually a thing of the past. If you’re lucky(ish), you’ll find the nausea subsiding and your appetite returning to normal as you reach 12-15 weeks.  For some, unfortunately, sickness can last well into the second trimester and occasionally through the entire pregnancy.

What causes morning sickness symptoms?

A surge in hCG and oestrogen hormones during the first trimester is believed to be one of the key causes of morning sickness, though, as Dr Kaye says, “We don’t truly know the full answer to that. If you are pregnant with twins or more you have higher levels of hCG, and nausea and vomiting are often worse. Morning sickness is not caused by being hungry or tired but these two factors can make it worse so try and eat little and often and get some rest!”

And is there anything I can do to stop morning sickness?

It’s a tricky one. What seems to work for some mums-to-be, doesn’t work for others. So your best bet is try a few things out. Some of the most popular ones that MFM mums swear by are:

  • Ginger – cooked in meal or as biscuits
  • Dry, plain food – such as Digestive, Rich Tea or arrowroot biscuits, or dry toast

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