When you just find out that you’re pregnant with your first ever child after getting back a positive result from a pregnancy test, you start to go through all sorts of emotions and questions that seemingly start popping out of nowhere.
You don’t have any prior experience to know what you should expect to go through and experience, but one thing you always hear about and worries you is that “morning sickness” everyone talks about.
After all, who looks forward to making those frequent (and disgusting) trips to the toilet bowl? No one, that’s for sure!
When Does Morning Sickness Start?
The majority of women experience nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness sometime during the middle of their first trimester, with most noticing that morning sickness actually starts in the middle of the 5th week of pregnancy1.
By the 8th week of pregnancy, most women will have experienced morning sickness at this point.
For women tracking everything in relation to their missed period, most women notice they start to experience morning sickness around 1.5-2 weeks after their missed period. (With that being said, around 15% off pregnant women tend to begin experiencing morning sickness even before they miss their period).
One common misconception that should be cleared up is that contrary to what it sounds like from its name, “morning sickness” does not necessarily only occur in the morning time.
Even though morning sickness can start as early as you wake up, it can happen at any given time throughout the day – morning, afternoon or even night time.
You should also know that morning sickness tends to begin all of a sudden and out of the blue – you aren’t given much warning signs beforehand to tell you that you’re going to be experiencing it soon.
Is Anything Wrong With Me If I Experience Morning Sickness Late?
If you’re worried that you’re now several weeks into your pregnancy and you still haven’t experienced morning sickness yet, don’t let it stress you out just yet – there’s a very good chance that the nausea will come to you in the next few weeks.
Even though the majority of women will experience morning sickness sometime during week 5 of pregnancy, this is certainly not a rule set in stone.
Different women may begin experiencing this at different times throughout pregnancy, some a bit earlier on than others (even though it’s fairly rare you’ll come across a woman who experienced morning sickness before week 6) and some a bit later on than others.
A good time to ask your doctor about things for reassurance purposes is when you’ve reached your 8th week of pregnancy without experiencing morning sickness yet.
They’ll be able to determine whether there’s anything alarming that could signal a possible miscarriage, or whether everything is progressing normally and there’s nothing you should worry about.
Is Anything Wrong With Me If I Never Experience Morning Sickness?
Not necessarily, you may actually never get to experience morning sickness throughout your pregnancy2.
It happens sometimes, and if it happens to you and you go on to deliver a perfectly healthy baby afterwards, you’re one of the lucky few to be exempted from all of this agony, so be happy about it!
As a matter of fact, many women (as much as 20% to 30% of them) go on to deliver very healthy and normal babies without having ever gone through one episode of morning sickness.
With that being said, experiencing morning sickness is often considered to be a positive sign that your pregnancy is a healthy one and is progressing just fine, especially if you’re experiencing a more severe kind of morning sickness.
It has been found that women who experience morning sickness during pregnancy are significantly less likely to have a miscarriage when compared to women who never experience nausea during pregnancy.
When Does Morning Sickness End? How Long Does It Last?
After you begin experiencing morning sickness, the most difficult phase is most often between week 6 and week 10 of pregnancy.
The symptoms of morning sickness generally begin intensifying after week 6 and up until week 10 of pregnancy, after which they generally begin dying down gradually.
The symptoms of morning sickness dying down gradually through the next few weeks is what you’ll want to see, and not an abrupt stop.
An abrupt stop of morning sickness symptoms right out of the blue, especially if this happens during the first trimester, could be a sign of something serious going on – which is why your doctor should be notified about it as soon as possible.
Other women notice that weeks 7 to 9 are the most difficult because that’s when morning sickness symptoms were the most intense for them.
Again, this is not always the case for all pregnant women out there. In rare cases (around 10% to 15%), it was noticed that morning sickness actually got worse after weeks 9 and 10 instead of going away.
After week 16, most women will feel that morning sickness is now long gone (the difficult part of it, at least).
And finally, there’s always a chance that you’ll be one of the unlucky 10% to 15% of mothers to be who experience nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness up until the end of your pregnancy3.
If you’re still experiencing symptoms of morning sickness even after you’ve reached week 16 of your pregnancy, tell your doctor about it.
They might prescribe some pregnancy-safe medication that would have you feel better.
No woman should have to go through this for the entire 9 months without relief, especially with everything else a mother-to-be puts up with during pregnancy!
Some Influential Factors
A lot of different factors go into determining whether or not you’ll ever experience morning sickness throughout your pregnancy, and here’s a list of some of the most notable ones.
Previous Pregnancies: Your chances of experiencing morning sickness become higher with each pregnancy.
So, all other factors being equal, if this is your first ever pregnancy, your chances are at their lowest – while if this is your 5th pregnancy, your chances are higher than what they were in your 4th pregnancy.
Also, morning sickness is usually more intense with each new pregnancy you go through.
Number Of Babies: The number of babies you’re currently pregnant with will also often influence whether or not you’ll experience morning sickness, and how intense it will be.
If you’re expecting twins or triplets, it’s more likely that you’ll experience more severe morning sickness than someone expecting a single child.
Genetics: Just like everything else in life, genetics plays a big role here too. Ask your female close family members (your mother, sister, etc ..) what their experiences with morning sickness was like (if there were any to begin with) – you’re likely to experience something similar because of genetics.
Blood Sugar Levels: Some experts believe that not eating as frequently as you should be throughout pregnancy and leaving your blood sugar levels to become low enough will sometimes trigger morning sickness.
Sensitivity: Being exposed to some stuff that you dislike and makes you nauseous might trigger vomiting, such as certain smells, certain tastes or sometimes just certain thoughts.
Stress: When you’re going through periods of excessive stress, this increases your chances of experiencing morning sickness during pregnancy.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
Till this day, there’s a whole lot of debate and uncertainty surrounding what actually causes morning sickness in pregnant women. There’s still no universally accepted answer to this question by all scientists out there.
The closest answer to reality seems to be related to hormone levels, especially a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hGC).
Levels of the hormone hGC surge very early on in a woman’s pregnancy and during the first few weeks, and it’s levels of this hormone that pregnancy tests aim to detect in your urine to give back a positive or negative result.
Rising levels of the hormone hGC is thought to be the driving force behind morning sickness, because of the fact that hGC levels are usually highest between weeks 8 to 10 of a woman’s pregnancy, which also usually happen to be the two weeks when pregnant women notice that their morning sickness symptoms are the most intense they’ve ever been.
Many experts believe that if you have a condition that causes exceptionally high levels of hGC in your body, you’re likely to experience more intense morning sickness than someone else with lower hGC levels in their body.
So, why exactly is there a debate around this point? Well, it’s been proven that the level of hGC in a pregnant woman’s body is not always the be-all, end-all determining factor to whether she’ll get morning sickness, nor how severe it’s likely to be for her.
Some pregnant women who have higher than average levels of the hormone hGC never go on to experience morning sickness, or do so in moderate intensity, while some women who have lower than average levels of the hormone hGC experience morning sickness in high intensities.
So, while levels of hGC in the body may sometimes be a good indicator, it’s not always an accurate benchmark.
Likewise, a surge in the levels of the hormone oestrogen is also believed to have a correlation with morning sickness.
- The Peak of Your Morning Sickness. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/morning-sickness-peak. Accessed June 30, 2019.
- Is Absence of Morning Sickness a Sign of Miscarriage? https://www.verywellfamily.com/does-no-morning-sickness-mean-miscarriage-2371250. Accessed June 30, 2019.
- Is Late Pregnancy Nausea Normal? https://www.newidea.com.au/morning-sickness-third-trimester-is-late-pregnancy-nausea-normal. Accessed June 30, 2019.