Morning sickness

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics/gynecology

Clinical Definition

Morning sickness is charactered by episodes of nausea and vomiting that occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is a common condition that is thought to be caused by increased levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (HGC) hormone released by the placenta into a pregnant woman’s blood system. 

In Our Own Words

During the first trimester of pregnancy, many expectant mothers experience morning sickness. While it’s called morning sickness, it can occur throughout the day and for some, throughout the pregancy. However, it usually stops after the 12th week or so.


Morning sickness is common and usually not harmful to the expectant mother or baby. To calm the symptoms of morning sickness, many women try to eat small portions throughout the day. Drinking caffeine-free tea or ginger ale has also been found helpful.


A form of severe morning sickness, hyperemeiss gravidarum, is more serious than common morning sickness. It can lead to weight loss and dehydration and requires medical attention. 

Relevant Conditions
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum
Side Effects
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
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  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Pregnancy Complications.” Updated February 2013. Accessed September 2013.
  • PubMed Health. “Morning sickness.”. Updated July 2012. Accessed October 2013.
  • American Pregnancy Association. “Morning Sickness.” Accessed September 2013.
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