When Does Morning Sickness Start, Peak, And End? Plus, How To Cope

Morning Sickness, Blech! Find Out When It Starts So You Can Mentally Prepare

November 2, 2020 Updated March 12, 2021

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We’re going to level with you here: While there are myriad things to love about being pregnant, there’s at least one thing that is in no way enjoyable. In fact, it can feel downright insufferable. If you guessed morning sickness, you got it. Among the early pregnancy symptoms you’re likely to experience, this nausea could very well be the worst. If you’re expecting or even just trying to conceive, you may already be bracing yourself for what’s to come (up). So, when does morning sickness start?

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Before we dive into all of the specifics, though, remember to think of it this way: Although morning sickness can be miserable, it’s also a sign your pregnant body is working hard to sustain new life. Just keep that in mind as we take a closer look at the potential timeline for morning sickness. Plus, we’ll include a few tips on how to get some relief.

How does morning sickness feel?

If we had to describe morning sickness in one word, it might be, “ugh.” By definition, morning sickness refers to queasiness believed to be caused by pregnancy hormones. It’s technically known as nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, or NVP, if that tells you anything.

It’s a bit like having seasickness that lasts for weeks. Maybe even months. Of course, every body and every pregnancy is different, so your morning sickness may feel different than the next person’s. What you should know, though, is that the term “morning sickness” can be a misnomer — it often isn’t relegated to the morning. In fact, some people refer to it as “all-the-time sickness” or “anytime sickness.”

Is morning sickness diarrhea a thing?

First off, we’re sorry, mama. Morning sickness is the absolute worst! But in addition to feeling nauseous and puking all the time, morning sickness diarrhea is also extremely common. During the early parts of your pregnancy, your body is going through a bunch of gastrointestinal changes, so don’t feel anxious if you begin to feel constipated or experience loose bowels. Remember there can be other reasons you may be experiencing diarrhea as well, like food poisoning, traveling, or antibiotics. If your little bun in the oven is the cause, though, we got you. Be sure to stay hydrated because, between the puking and the pooping, you’re losing a lot of fluids. Also incorporate easy-to-digest foods into your diet like banana, rice, or applesauce.

What causes morning sickness?

Although the exact cause of morning sickness isn’t fully understood, it’s believed to be caused by a sudden surge in the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) along with estrogen and progesterone. Higher levels of hCG are often even linked with more severe cases of morning sickness.

When does morning sickness start?

There you are, cruising along just minding your own business when — BAM! You start to feel waves of nausea so strong that you’re sure you’re going to vomit. And, well, that might be precisely what takes place next. For many women, morning sickness is one of the first major hints that they’re expecting a little one. These symptoms, which can come on gradually or instantly, typically present around 5 to 6 weeks pregnant. Having said that, some mamas report feeling this nausea as early as 4 weeks pregnant.

What weeks is morning sickness the worst?

When your morning sickness peaks may be different from the next preggo mama. Generally speaking, though, it’s thought that morning sickness peaks between eight to 11 weeks pregnant.

When does morning sickness end?

Oh, how we wish we could tell you that your morning sickness woes will end with your first trimester! On the plus side, that is true for many mamas. Morning sickness typically starts to ease up around 12 to 14 weeks. But — and it’s a big one — some women deal with it well into their second trimester. And, for a few of us poor unfortunate souls (up to 10 percent), this nausea stretches all the way into the third trimester.

For others, it ends with the onset of the second trimester only to circle back with a vengeance in the third trimester as baby gets bigger and presses more on your stomach and intestines. Oof, Mama. Oof.

Is morning sickness worse with twins?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule saying you’ll definitely get morning sickness if you’re carrying twins or that, if you do, it’ll be worse than that of non-multiples pregnancies. It could be, though, and we’ll tell you why. Remember how we talked about hCG? Well, if you’re pregnant with multiples, it stands to reason you’ll have higher levels of hCG to support more than one baby. And since hCG is linked to morning sickness, it’s possible women carrying twins (who have more hCG) might deal with more intense bouts of morning sickness.

Are there home remedies that might help?

One of the best resources for coping with morning sickness is other moms who’ve been through it. Ask your mom. Ask your aunts, your BFFs, your co-workers… anyone who’s willing to share! Because the truth is, you’re probably going to have to try a handful of things before you find one that provides any sort of morning sickness relief. A few common suggestions include:

  • Eat small, frequent meals so you aren’t too hungry or too full (both of which exacerbate morning sickness).
  • Ginger is your friend, so try ginger chews or candies to settle your tummy. You can also make it into a tea or chew on the actual root. It’s so effective even chemotherapy patients use it to relieve their nausea.
  • Drink peppermint tea.
  • Stay as hydrated as possible — yes, even if it means making a million trips to the bathroom.
  • Eat something right when you wake up, like Saltines or an apple.
  • Steer clear of strong smells.
  • Sniff lemon juice (yes, really). A slice of lemon can also go a long way. If you don’t have a lemon, other citrus fruits will also do the trick.
  • Rest up, Mama!
  • If you’re looking for some spices that’ll stop your head from spinning, fennel powder, cinnamon, and cumin extract can be added to your everyday meals. You can also take supplements.
  • And speaking of supplements, the B6 vitamin is also a great capsule to take to soothe nausea during pregnancy. It has little to no side effects for expectant mothers.
  • It sounds simple enough, but avoid eating too much and drinking liquids with your meal. You want to avoid the feeling of fullness, so try not to overeat.
  • Keep your salty snacks close like pretzels, nuts, and crackers. You can munch on these salty bites if you start to feel woozy.
  • Keep tums and other antacids on hand. This will help you feel better after puking and eliminate nausea.
  • Take it slow when you wake up in the morning. During your morning routine, try not to rush because it can make you queasy. Take. Your. Time. 
  • Always keep some baby wipes and mints in your purse. This will help you clean and freshen up after vomiting. 

When is it a cause for concern?

It’s totally natural to worry when you’re pregnant. About, you know, pretty much everything — especially if this is your first baby. But rest assured, morning sickness is very common and typically not a cause of major concern. As long as you’re staying hydrated and able to keep some food down, baby should be fine.

But if you’re throwing up more than three times a day, can’t keep any foods or liquids down for 24 hours, feel weak and/or dizzy, and lose three or more pounds in a week, you may be one of the up to three percent of pregnant women who suffer from the most extreme form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy: hyperemesis gravidarum, or HG.

Since HG can cause complications during pregnancy, it’s always best to bring up any concerns with your obstetrician ASAP. Even if it turns out you don’t have it, your doctor may be able to offer advice or even medication to help you manage your morning sickness.