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What is Morning Sickness?

April C. Sanchez, M.D.


Nausea and vomiting are common complaints during the first half of pregnancy. Typically they begin at about 6 weeks gestation and continue until up to about 16 weeks. Syptoms are usually worse in the morning, but may continue thoughout the day. About half of pregnant women experience some degree of pregnancy-induced nausea. Hyperemesis gravidarum, a syndrome in which the vomiting leads to weight loss, dehydration, and actual starvation, is quite uncommon.

The cause of nausea of pregnancy is thought to be related to the rapidly increasing hormone levels (estradiol and HCG) in the bloodstream. Emotional factors can also contribute to the severity of the nausea and vomiting.

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