Morning sickness, a common part of pregnancy, usually starts around the sixth week and typically subsides by the twentieth week. While its exact cause isn’t fully known, hormonal changes, especially the increase of the hCG hormone, play a significant role. This article delves into the causes, management strategies, and interesting insights surrounding morning sickness, offering a comprehensive look at this widespread condition.

How to Manage Morning Sickness: Symptoms And Treatment
Strategies to Manage Morning Sickness - Shutterstock Image

Understanding the Causes

The exact causes of morning sickness are not fully understood, but it’s believed to be linked to hormonal changes, particularly the increase in the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone. Other factors, like low blood sugar, increased stomach acid, or a heightened sense of smell due to hormonal changes, also contribute.

Insights into Morning Sickness

  • Genetic Factors: Recent studies suggest a genetic component to morning sickness, indicating that some women might be predisposed to it.[1]
  • Protective Mechanism: Some research indicates morning sickness might have evolved as a protective mechanism, reducing exposure to potentially harmful foods during pregnancy.[2]
  • Impact of Nutritional Intake: A balanced diet prior to pregnancy might influence the severity of morning sickness, highlighting the importance of pre-pregnancy nutrition.
  • Holistic Management Strategies
  • Dietary Adjustments: Small, frequent meals and avoiding triggers like strong smells can be helpful.
  • Hydration: Maintaining hydration is crucial. Ginger tea and lemon water can be soothing.
  • Alternative Therapies: Acupuncture and certain forms of yoga can help alleviate symptoms for some women.
  • The Role of Stress and Mental Health

    Emerging research indicates that stress and mental health can influence the severity of morning sickness, underscoring the importance of a holistic approach that includes psychological well-being.[3]

  • Medications: While medications like doxylamine and vitamin B6 are commonly prescribed, newer treatments are being explored.
  • Personalized Medicine: Future research is moving towards personalized treatment plans based on individual genetic makeup and severity of symptoms.
  • Managing Morning Sickness

    Morning sickness, a common experience in pregnancy, typically includes nausea and vomiting. While for many it’s mild and manageable, the spectrum ranges to severe cases known as hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition requires medical attention due to the risks of dehydration and weight loss.

    Dietary Changes

    Dietary Changes

    Dietary Changes. Shutterstock Image

  • Ginger: Its efficacy in reducing nausea is well documented. Including ginger in the diet, whether through foods or supplements, can be beneficial.
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Foods like whole grains can stabilize blood sugar levels, potentially easing nausea.
  • Small, Frequent Meals: Eating smaller portions more frequently can help manage nausea.
  • Adequate Hydration: Sipping water throughout the day, especially before and after meals, aids in maintaining hydration.
  • Home Remedies

  • Acupressure: Specific pressure points, like the P6 or Nei-Kuan point on the wrist, can alleviate symptoms.
  • Aromatherapy: Scents like lemon or mint might provide relief for some.
  • Emerging Research

  • Probiotics: Preliminary studies suggest a possible link between gut health and the severity of morning sickness.[4]
  • Vitamin B6 and Doxylamine: A combination often recommended for its safety and effectiveness.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Practices like meditation and gentle yoga can help manage stress, which may exacerbate morning sickness.
  • Morning Sickness: Timing and Treatment

    When It Starts and Ends

    Morning sickness typically begins around the 6th week of pregnancy, peaking around the 9th week. It usually subsides by the 16th to 20th week. However, this can vary significantly among individuals.

    Why It Starts
    The exact cause isn’t fully understood, but it’s believed to be linked to rising hormone levels, particularly human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Other factors, like low blood sugar, increased stomach acids, and a heightened sense of smell, can contribute.

    Myth Busting

  • Morning Sickness Only Occurs in the Morning: This is a misconception. Symptoms can occur at any time of the day.
  • Severe Morning Sickness Harms the Baby: Generally, mild to moderate morning sickness doesn’t affect the baby’s health. However, severe cases like hyperemesis gravidarum require medical attention.
  • It’s All in the Mind: Morning sickness is a physiological condition, not just psychological.
  • Eating for Two Can Prevent Morning Sickness: Overeating doesn’t prevent morning sickness and can lead to unnecessary weight gain.

    Interesting Facts about Morning Sickness

    The prevalence and severity of morning sickness can vary among different cultures, potentially due to dietary habits and genetic factors. Some theories also suggest that morning sickness might have evolved to protect the fetus from toxins and pathogens during crucial stages of development.

    Moreover, Some studies indicate that morning sickness could be associated with a reduced risk of miscarriage, though the reasons remain unclear. The severity of morning sickness may correlate with hormonal levels, which are essential for a healthy pregnancy.


    Managing morning sickness involves understanding its causes, debunking common myths, and adopting a variety of strategies. From dietary changes like incorporating ginger to relaxation techniques, each approach contributes to easing the discomfort.

    While morning sickness is a common experience, its impact varies among individuals, making personalized care essential. This exploration into morning sickness not only educates but also empowers expectant mothers to navigate this challenging but often temporary phase of pregnancy.

    Was this article helpful?

    4 Sources

    We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy.

    [1] Researchers identify key cause of pregnancy sickness and a potential way to prevent it:
    [2] Morning sickness: a mechanism for protecting mother and embryo:
    [3] What is Mental Health?:
    [4] Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy:
    Facebook Twitter linkedin

    Dr. Sarah Brewer, MSc, MA, RN

    Dr. Sarah Brewer is qualified from Cambridge University with degrees in Natural Sciences, Medicine, and Surgery. She is an award-winnin