Topic Overview

Many women have problems with nausea and sometimes vomiting
(morning sickness) during the first 16 weeks of
pregnancy. For some women, morning sickness may be one of the first signs of
pregnancy. The term “morning sickness” can be misleading, because symptoms can
occur at any time of the day. The causes of morning sickness are not fully
understood, but hormone changes that occur during pregnancy may play a

Morning sickness usually goes away as a pregnancy
progresses. While many women feel better after the first trimester, some report
ongoing nausea or vomiting through the second trimester. You may be able to
gain some relief from morning sickness using home treatment, such as changing what,
when, and how much you eat. Talk to your doctor about safe medicines to treat your nausea and

Vomiting during pregnancy is
more likely to be serious if the vomiting is
moderate to severe (occurs more than 2 to 3 times per
day) or is accompanied by lower abdominal (pelvic) pain or vaginal bleeding.
These symptoms may be caused by an infection,
ectopic pregnancy,
miscarriage, or some other serious problem.

If you have severe, ongoing nausea and vomiting
(hyperemesis gravidarum), see your doctor for treatment. This uncommon
complication of pregnancy can lead to dehydration. You may need prescribed
medicines, hospitalization, or both.

Be sure to watch for
signs of dehydration if vomiting develops. Even mild dehydration can affect
other problems, such as constipation or heartburn, that may occur during

Symptoms of mild dehydration
include the following:

  • You may be more thirsty than usual.
  • Your urine may be darker than usual.

Symptoms of moderate dehydration
include the following:

  • You may be a lot more thirsty than usual.
  • Your
    mouth and eyes may be drier than usual.
  • Your urine may be much darker than
  • You may pass little or no urine for 8 or more
  • You may feel dizzy when you stand or sit up.

Symptoms of severe dehydration
include the following:

  • Your mouth and eyes may be extremely dry.
  • You may pass little or no urine for 12 or more hours.
  • You may not feel alert or be able to think clearly.
  • You may be too weak or dizzy to stand.
  • You may pass out.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have symptoms of moderate dehydration.
  • Vomiting is
    so severe that you are not able to drink fluids.
  • Your vomiting has
    not gotten better with home treatment.

Practice the following good health habits until
you see your health professional:

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Do not
  • Do not use alcohol or drugs.
  • Avoid caffeine or
    limit your intake to about 1 cup of coffee or tea each day.
  • Do not
    clean a cat litter box.
  • Avoid people who are ill.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMarch 16, 2017