Frequently Asked Questions about Morning Sickness or NVP (Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy)

If you cannot find an answer to your own question in this section, talk to a healthcare professional or call  the Motherisk NVP helpline at 1 800 436-8477.
When do nausea and/or vomiting (NVP or morning sickness) generally occur?
For the majority of women morning sickness or NVP develops between the 4th and 8th week of pregnancy (or 4-8 weeks from your last menstrual period). However, it can start as early as the day after conception or as late as the 19th week of pregnancy.
Should I advise my healthcare professional if I only have nausea without vomiting?
Yes, your healthcare professional should know how you are feeling. Studies have actually shown that nausea itself is the most distressing symptom of morning sickness. It is recommended that you speak to your healthcare professional any time your symptoms are affecting your wellbeing or activities of daily living.
If I had morning sickness in a previous pregnancy, what are the chances that I will have it in my next pregnancy as well?
NVP is not predictable, however, studies published in the medical literature suggest that about half to two thirds of women that had NVP in a previous pregnancy will have similar symptoms in subsequent pregnancies.
How common is morning sickness?
NVP is very common; fifty to eighty per cent (50 - 80%) of pregnant women suffer from this medical condition.
How long should my morning sickness last?
For most women NVP starts between the 4th and 8th week of pregnancy and ends between the 12th and 16th week. However, NVP can last longer, for some, up to the very end of the pregnancy. A recent study showed that about 10% of pregnant women suffering from NVP will still have symptoms after 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Will my morning sickness affect my baby?
Your baby's health may be affected if you lose too much weight and your health is compromised. If you don't drink sufficient fluids or are vomiting frequently, you may be hospitalized for excessive dehydration. Also, morning sickness or nausea and vomiting of pregnancy may affect your appetite making it very difficult to maintain a balanced diet. Therefore, it is important that you speak with your healthcare professional about your NVP.
Is there a method of preventing morning sickness?
Unfortunately, NVP is neither predictable nor preventable. However, it is reported that women taking multivitamins may have less severe symptoms of NVP. If you are planning a pregnancy, your healthcare professional may initiate a treatment of prenatal vitamins. Also, if you develop NVP while pregnant you may prevent the condition from worsening with immediate medical treatment.
I am in my 13th week of pregnancy; why do I still feel nauseated?
It is a common belief that nausea stops by the end of the first trimester. Studies have shown that some women have NVP throughout their pregnancy. If you have nausea, speak with your healthcare professional as soon as possible. There are safe and effective treatments available.
Does morning sickness vary in severity depending on the sex of the baby (boy or girl)?
Some studies linked the presence of NVP with having a baby girl. However the results were not conclusive. Each woman and each pregnancy is unique in terms of NVP irrespective of the sex of the baby.
Why do pregnant women experience morning sickness?
NVP has been reported in the literature for centuries and we still actually don't know its specific causes. Numerous theories exist on the subject, however, NVP is generally thought to be caused by many factors; higher levels of hormones, physical changes to the bodies of pregnant women or greater sensitivity to odours. If you have NVP, speak with your healthcare professional for treatment recommendations.
If both my sister and mother had morning sickness, what are the chances that I will have also have it?
Unfortunately, we do not know the answer to this question. In some families all pregnant women have NVP, but in others it's specific to the individual. Each woman and each pregnancy is unique. If you have morning sickness or NVP, speak with your healthcare professional for treatment recommendations.
Is it serious if I vomit so often that I can't keep any food or liquids down?
When you are vomiting frequently, it is difficult for you to eat properly and to maintain a balanced diet. It is recommended to speak to your healthcare professional for proper follow-up and treatment.
My prenatal vitamin tablet is large and difficult to swallow. Also, it seems to be causing me to feel nauseous, what should I do?
Speak with your healthcare professional about your situation for suggestions on alternative treatments. There are prescription prenatal multivitamin specifically formulated to solve this problem.
How ill should I be before taking a medication for morning sickness?
Each woman's tolerance to discomfort is highly variable; however when the symptoms of NVP affects your wellbeing or the activities of daily living, you should speak with your healthcare professional for treatment recommendations.
Why do I feel nauseated throughout the entire day?
It is common belief that the majority of pregnant women have nausea in the morning only. Less than 20% of pregnant women actually have nausea only in the morning ("morning sickness"). The majority of pregnant women (80%) have NVP throughout the day "all-day sickness". Speak with your healthcare professional for treatment recommendations. If your wellbeing or activities of daily living are affected by your NVP, speak with your healthcare professional for treatment recommendations.
Could it be a good thing to have morning sickness?
Some studies have associated NVP with a lower risk of miscarriages, however, not all women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Fifty to eighty per cent (50-80%) of pregnant women suffer from NVP. Conversely, twenty to fifty per cent (20-50%) are not subject to this problem. Symptoms of nausea and vomiting should not be considered a confirmation of pregnancy, as the absence of these symptoms should not be viewed as a poor sign of pregnancy outcome.
Are symptoms such as headache and dizziness commonly associated with NVP?
No, symptoms commonly associated with NVP include heartburn, dyspepsia (gastric distress), indigestion, mood changes, and dehydration. It is important that you discuss your symptoms with your healthcare professional.
Can morning sickness persist throughout my entire pregnancy?
Yes, in some cases, pregnant women will have NVP until the end of their pregnancy. Therefore, therapy may be extended until time of delivery. It is important to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare professional.
Can morning sickness have a great impact on my quality of life?
Unfortunately, NVP can have a significant impact on pregnant women. If the symptoms of NVP are affecting your wellbeing and activities of daily living, speak with your healthcare professional for immediate treatment recommendations.
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is the most severe form of Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy.  According to the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation, hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is described as "unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids." HG is considered a rare complication of pregnancy. The percentage of pregnant women afflicted ranges from 0.3% to 2%.

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