Te whakapairuaki ā-ata Morning sickness

Feeling sick and throwing up during pregnancy is often called morning sickness. Although it is called morning sickness, it can happen at any time of the day. It is very common in early pregnancy and may be the first sign you are pregnant.

When you get morning sickness

Morning sickness usually starts around 6 weeks after your last period, and goes away after 12 to 16 weeks. But it sometimes lasts longer. Although it is called morning sickness, it can happen any time of the day or night. It is usually worse in the first 3 months of your pregnancy. 

Morning sickness does not harm your pēpi.

Symptoms of morning sickness

Morning sickness is different for everyone. The main symptom is feeling sick (nausea) or throwing up (vomiting). Sometimes you might feel like throwing up, but nothing comes up.

You might also find that your taste changes, or you can no longer eat certain foods, or put up with certain smells. 

Once you find out what makes you feel sick, try to avoid those things, especially in the first 3 months of your pregnancy. 

Severe morning sickness

A few people have more severe nausea and vomiting. If this happens to you, talk to your midwife or doctor about medicines to help.

It is important to only use prescribed anti-sickness medicines during pregnancy. Do not take any medicine when you are pregnant unless you have checked with your midwife, doctor, or pharmacist that it is safe.

Some people have very severe symptoms, become dehydrated, and lose weight. This is called hyperemesis gravidarum. If this happens to you, you will need care that may include intravenous fluids and medicines.

When to get medical care

What causes morning sickness

During the first 3 months, your hormone levels change and some increase to help maintain the pregnancy. This increase can cause you to feel sick or throw up. Most people start to feel better by 12 to 16 weeks. 

Self care for morning sickness

Although morning sickness usually goes away, it can be difficult to cope with. There are some things that might help you. Different things work for different people. 

Get plenty of rest

  • Get as much rest as you can as tiredness can trigger the nausea.
  • Ask whānau and friends for help if possible.

Eat small snacks and sip drinks often

  • Keep eating regularly, and try eating small snacks around every 2 hours.
  • Try dry crackers or plain biscuits before you get up in the morning.
  • Have a cheese sandwich or some yoghurt before you go to bed. 
  • Try eating wet and dry foods separately, for example, have a piece of toast, wait an hour, and then have a drink. 
  • Avoid fatty foods.
  • Regularly sip fluids during the day, but avoid alcohol and caffeine. 
  • Suck ice cubes or ice blocks.
  • Try drinking through a straw.

Try ginger

Ginger can help settle your tummy so you can try:

  • ginger tea
  • ginger ale
  • ginger beer (non-alcoholic)
  • ginger capsules (the recommended dose is 1,000mg a day)
  • ginger biscuits.

Try acupressure

  • Acupressure bands worn against pressure points on your wrists like a bangle or watch may help. 
  • These are often used for travel sickness and you can buy them from a pharmacy.

Avoid certain smells

  • Avoid smells that trigger you to feel sick. 
  • Air out the kitchen to get rid of food smells after cooking.
Last updated: