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HealthInfo Canterbury

Nausea & vomiting in pregnancy (morning sickness)

The common name for feeling sick (nausea) and vomiting during pregnancy is morning sickness. It's very common, and may be the first sign you're pregnant. It usually starts around six weeks after a woman's last period and goes away after 12 to 16 weeks, but it sometimes lasts longer.

Although it's called morning sickness, it can happen at any time of the day or night. Morning sickness doesn't harm your baby.

We don't know exactly what causes nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, but it's probably related to the hormonal changes that happen.

What can I do if I get morning sickness?

pregnant saladAlthough morning sickness usually goes away after a while, it can be difficult to cope with. But there are some things that might help you. Different things work for different women.

Severe morning sickness

A few women have more severe nausea and vomiting. If this happens to you, talk to your GP about medicines to help with the nausea, such as cyclizine, prochlorperazine, or metoclopramide. It’s important to only use prescribed anti-sickness medicines during pregnancy. Don't take any medicine when you're pregnant unless you've checked with your GP or pharmacist that it's safe.

Some women have very severe symptoms, become dehydrated and lose weight. This is called hyperemesis gravidarum (hi-per-em-is-is grav-i-dar-um). If this happens to you, you'll need care at a 24 hour surgery or hospital to get intravenous fluids and medications.

When should I see my GP or midwife?

You should see your GP or midwife if you:

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by midwife liaison, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed June 2018. Last updated October 2018.

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Review key: HINVP-25368