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How Do I Know If I Have Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness is one of the first signs of pregnancy. It is caused by pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). It is induced when fertilized egg implants into the placenta. It occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy in around six weeks that remains up to 12 to 15 weeks of pregnancy. Its symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and distress after the smell of food. It is experienced by most pregnant ladies usually in the morning. However, it can happen at any time in the day.

How Do I Know If I Have Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness is a condition of pregnancy characterized by nausea and vomiting mainly in the morning. However, it can occur at any time in the day. It is the early sign of pregnancy. About 90% of pregnant women experience morning sickness in their pregnancy.

Morning sickness is not an illness. It occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy around six weeks. It ends in 12-15 weeks of pregnancy. It can appear and disappear at any time during the day. It is represented by following symptoms-

  • Nausea that can be mild or severe
  • Vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling of sickness due to the smell of specific food item or all food items
  • Lethargy or weakness throughout the day
  • Aversion to a particular food
  • Reduced appetite or loss of appetite
  • Swelling or tenderness in the breast.

If pregnant ladies have these symptoms, then it is suggestive of morning sickness. It can be understood by following scale that represents the severity of the condition-

Very Minor– it does not cause much sickness. it definitely upsets the stomach. It causes slight nausea that settles down in an hour or more.

Minor– it happens mainly in the morning. The smell of food may kill the appetite temporarily. The pregnant women may feel vomiting but it does not happen.

Standard– the pregnant women who have standard morning sickness may feel sickness daily. She feels better as the day passes by. It is recommended to avoid cooking a few food items as its smell may trigger nausea. It sometimes induces vomiting also. The pregnant lady feels better gradually and can keep the food down.

Moderate– it appears nearly every day. It induces vomiting. The pregnant lady feels relieved in the day when she does not vomit. Vomiting may make her not to eat for a few hours. It is most common in the morning that gradually subsides in the afternoon.

Bad– the nauseating feeling remains throughout the day and increases the incidence of vomiting twice every day. The affected lady faces problem in keeping the food down and she loses appetite by the smell of certain foods. The smell of these foods also causes vomiting or dry heaving. Even the thought of eating that food causes vomiting.

Severe– severe morning sickness is characterized by vomiting four to five times a day, feeling weakness that keeps the person in the bed the whole day, inability to keep food down, nausea that causes loss of appetite, dehydration, and feeling of fever. It requires immediate treatment.

Morning sickness is similar to other stomach related illness. But it is better to rule out certain symptoms that distinguish morning sickness with Stomach Flu. The symptoms that can differentiate morning sickness with stomach flu or stomach related illness are-

  • Watery stool
  • Presence of blood in the stool
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Body pain or muscle aches


Morning sickness is a normal sign of pregnancy that is present in the first trimester in most of the pregnant ladies. It is not an illness. It appears mostly in the morning that may cause nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. The symptoms discussed above may signal you that you have morning sickness.


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). (2020). Morning sickness: nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/pregnancy/morning-sickness-nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Morning sickness: Symptoms & causes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/morning-sickness/symptoms-causes/syc-20375254
  3. National Health Service (NHS). (2022). Morning sickness. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/morning-sickness-nausea/
  4. American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Morning sickness relief, symptoms, and causes. https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/morning-sickness-relief-68909/

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 28, 2023

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