What Does Morning Sickness Feel Like?

Most commercial test kits can detect a pregnancy from 1 week after the first day of your missed period. If the test result is positive at this time, that means you are technically in “Week 5” of your pregnancy. Morning sickness can begin during this week too, if it hits you early.

Let’s take a look the symptoms and remedies for morning sickness, as well as what you should watch out for from Weeks 5 through 7, when the symptoms usually kick in.

What does morning sickness feel like in Weeks 5 – 7?

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Morning sickness isn’t a medical condition, but it is a real effect of early pregnancy. Its effects also vary greatly from person to person: some expecting moms don’t have any morning sickness at all, but others can feel it before they’ve even taken a pregnancy test! Even among moms who develop morning sickness symptoms in the usual time-frame of Week 5 and Week 7, the severity can range from barely noticeable to very severe.

Though the symptoms vary, some common morning sickness symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting so bad you have trouble eating anything.

  • Queasiness that feels worse on an empty stomach. For instance, when you wake up in the morning before
    breakfast.

  • Food aversions and food cravings. Your usual tastes might take a 180 – for example, if you’re not much of a sweet tooth, you might start daydreaming about eating all the cakes.

  • Hypersensitivity to smells. Your nose seems more sensitive than usual, and noxious odors make you nauseated.

Whatever your morning sickness feels like, there’s one thing to remember to help you ride it out: take it easy!

What causes morning sickness?

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The science on what causes morning sickness still isn’t quite clear, but there are a number of theories:

  • The spike in hCG hormone levels during pregnancy may cause nausea due to changes in body chemistry.

  • Since the placenta is not yet fully formed, the body may mistake the developing baby for a foreign body and mount an allergic response.

  • Because pregnancy tilts the body’s pH balance towards acidity, vomiting may be the body’s way of restoring the usual range.

Morning Sickness Hack #1: Eat what you want, when you can, little by little

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While you still want to keep nutrition in mind, the basic rule of thumb for early pregnancy morning sickness is to find a way of eating that suits you, so that you can eat what you want, when you can manage it. Here’s what you need to know to get the food you need and feel better.

Key Points for Eating During Morning Sickness

  • Drink liquids frequently.

  • Eat small amounts frequently, rather than a lot of food all at once.

  • Morning sickness is often strongest (unsurprisingly!) when you first wake up. Have a midnight snack to avoid waking up on an empty stomach.

  • Try to avoid oily food.

  • Don’t worry about cooking for yourself.

Morning Sickness Hack #2: Boost your folate intake

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Folate supports healthy fetal development by stimulating cell division, so it’s crucial that you get enough in the early stages of pregnancy. If morning sickness is keeping you from eating, it’s natural to worry about whether you’re meeting your folate needs. Try to supplement your folate intake by snacking on refreshing fruits, like strawberry and grapefruit, which are easy to eat. All you need to do is peel the skin, so there’ll be no dirty dishes to worry about either!

If your partner can help you out by preparing food, ask for folate-rich vegetables like leafy greens and edamame (Japanese baby soybeans). Cooked lentils and beans are also loaded with folate, so during morning sickness you may be able to enjoy chilled dishes like lentil salads, bean dips, or hummus.

When to see your doctor

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Morning sickness is not a disease, but very severe cases can become a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). This needs to be treated in hospital with IV fluids and nutrition. See your doctor if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting 10 or more times in 1 day
  • Being unable to keep down fluids
  • Signs of dehydration (e.g. decrease in urination volume or frequency, dry mouth, dry skin)
  • Weight loss of 3.0 kg (about 6.5 lbs) or more in one week

My morning sickness suddenly stopped! Could it be a miscarriage?

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Alongside cramping and bleeding, it’s not uncommon for women experiencing a pregnancy loss to notice the sudden disappearance of morning sickness symptoms. This depends on a lot of individual factors, so it’s not necessarily a definite indication of a miscarriage. However, if you are concerned about any of your symptoms, see a doctor right away.

Seek understanding from your partner and colleagues

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Your partner might know about morning sickness on an intellectual level, but unless someone has experienced it first-hand it’s hard to fully understand what it feels like! It could be your partner is confused about pregnancy, and doesn’t know how to help.

You can bridge the gap by sitting down for an honest talk about your symptoms, and this makes you feel. Consider sharing resources like this article to help your partner understand the effects of morning sickness, and how to support you through it.

A lot of women prefer to wait until the stable period around Month 5 to announce their pregnancy at work, when morning sickness tends to calm down and the risk of miscarriage declines. On the other hand, if you have severe morning sickness symptoms, your colleagues might be worried about you. Once a sonogram confirms the fetal heartbeat, you may want to consider confiding in a trusted superior to discuss any accommodations you might need.

Morning sickness peaks from Weeks 7

Morning sickness tends to peak after around Week 7, and continues on for around 1 month – but you don’t need to suffer alone! Your support network is there to help you cope, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. That doesn’t just go for morning sickness – there are many things your partner, friends, and family can do to support you over the course of your pregnancy. With their help, you’re sure to get through this!