Morning Sickness Is a Good Sign of Pregnancy
PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH

Morning Sickness Is a Good Sign of Pregnancy

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
 | 
November 21, 2016

But don’t be alarmed if you don’t have it; you’re less likely to miscarry. 

Morning sickness (which isn’t just in the morning) is a good sign. 

It’s not fun: The nausea can be quite intense, as rough as you might feel if you were getting chemotherapy. The bad spell lasts around 35 days, on average, research suggests, and typically ends by the 22nd week of pregnancy. About half of women who get nausea feel fine by their 14th week. 

During your bad period, you’re likely to feel queasy all day long, although it’s common not to actually throw up. Obstetrician-gynecologist Marjorie Greenfield, MD, author of “The Working Woman's Pregnancy Book,” says, "Lots of people are sick all day, some are sick mostly in the evening, and others are sick if they haven't gotten enough sleep."

About a quarter of pregnant women never go through a queasy period. 

 

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If you are feeling queasy, you might find it reassuring proof that you’re still pregnant. In theory, we evolved nausea during a vulnerable period for the growing child, to steer women away from contaminated food and prevent miscarriages. Your estrogen levels are higher while you’re pregnant, and the hormone improves your sense of smell. You can smell bad food more easily, but other smells will set you off as well.

Research now backs up the idea that nausea is protective, showing that women who get nauseated are less likely to miscarry. The strongest study to date included nearly 800 pregnant women who had previously lost either one or two pregnancies. Almost a quarter lost the current child, nearly always in the first trimester, which matches the national average. Half of them reported feeling queasy by the eighth week of pregnancy, and about a quarter actually threw up — which, again, is typical. The researchers calculated that feeling sick appeared to lower your chance of miscarriage by 50 to 75 percent.

Stefanie Hinkle, PhD, the lead author and a researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said that it wasn’t clear whether the results applied to women who were pregnant for the first time. She also said not to worry if you didn’t get nauseated: “Every pregnancy is different, and just because they don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean they’re going to have a pregnancy loss.” 

Some tips for dealing with nausea:

  1. As soon as you know you are pregnant, schedule a break from work during your eighth week when the queasiness is likely to hit. 
  2. Carry in your bag or keep in your office desk smells you like — a bottle of lemon extract or a sprig of a favorite herb — and sniff when needed to overcome other smells around you.
  3. Let your husband know if his aftershave bothers you, or find a nice way to tell him to brush his teeth if he’s just eaten.
  4. Keep drinking water. Being dehydrated will make you feel sicker. Salty snacks can trigger your thirst. Very cold, or very hot, liquid may be more appetizing than a tepid drink. 
  5. Notice which foods are easier for you to stomach. 
  6. Try grazing, eating small meals throughout the day. 
  7. Put fresh ginger in hot water, or try ginger tea. Ginger ale may work, too.
  8. Adjust your computer settings to avoid eye strain — a bigger font or colored background.
  9. Carry mouthwash to recover if you puke.

 

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Updated:

November 21, 2016

Reviewed By:

Janet O’Dell, RN

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