How Soon Does Morning Sickness Start After Conception?
Morning sickness is a common symptom that occurs within the first few weeks of pregnancy. Learn when to expect symptoms to begin and how to relieve them.
By Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, OBGYN
Pregnancy comes with a lot of big changes, including the onset of many different pregnancy symptoms. Let’s talk about morning sickness.
What is morning sickness?
Morning sickness, or nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), is a common symptom experienced during pregnancy. While it’s been coined morning sickness, you can experience it at any time of the day or multiple times in one day. Symptoms vary from person to person, but typically there are feelings of nausea for short periods of time every day with occasional vomiting. Some may feel nauseous for longer periods of time and vomit more frequently, or some may just feel nauseous and never vomit at all. Up to 80% of pregnant people will experience morning sickness, and a study of 363 women found that 52% felt nauseous and were physically sick, while 28% felt nauseous but did not vomit [1,3].
Are there risk factors associated with morning sickness?
I wish I could give a clear explanation as to why morning sickness occurs, but the truth is we aren’t exactly sure. It’s likely related to the rapid hormone changes experienced during early pregnancy, such as the increasing levels of hCG and estrogen, but research is inconclusive . There are some factors that are associated with an increased risk of developing NVP, such as  :
Multiple gestations (you’re pregnant with more than one baby)
History of migraines
History of motion sickness
History of nausea associated with hormonal contraception
History of morning sickness in a previous pregnancy
Maternal history of NVP
How early can morning sickness start after conception?
Specific onset will vary from person to person, but typically morning sickness will arise around week five to week six and end shortly after the first trimester [2-3]. A study found that for the majority of women experiencing morning sickness, nausea and vomiting peaked around nine weeks and stopped around 14 weeks .
Other first trimester symptoms
The first trimester lasts until the 13th week of pregnancy and is a time of very fast, intense change. During the first trimester, an amniotic sac, placenta, and umbilical cord develop in order to protect, regulate, and support the fetus. With these changes come plenty of physical symptoms as well. A prospective study found that 90% of pregnant people will have symptoms of pregnancy by week eight . Aside from nausea and vomiting, some early signs of pregnancy include a missed period, sore breasts, mood swings, fatigue, skin changes, and frequent urination.
Healthy ways to manage morning sickness
Nobody likes feeling nauseous, and vomiting can very easily disrupt and inconvenience your day. Luckily for most, NVP doesn’t last much longer than a few weeks, but there are some remedies you can try to hopefully relieve or help manage morning sickness.
I can’t guarantee that any specific foods will be able to stop you from feeling sick, but there are some suggested diets that may be able to help with your digestion. The BRATT diet is a common suggestion, and includes bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea [1,2]. These are all relatively bland foods with no spices, low-fat, and they’re easily digestible. I know it can get old when all you can eat is bland rice or toast, but do what you can to keep yourself and your baby fed. Other foods that are easy on the stomach include broths, lean meats, pudding, eggs, and vegetables like carrots or spinach . Ginger may also help with NVP and can be found in many different forms, including tea, supplements, gummies, and more. Shop Natalist Anti Nausea Gummies
Other than changing the foods you’re eating, you may want to try changing your mealtimes and eating habits. Try to avoid moving around on an empty stomach, which may mean snacking more frequently on things like nuts and crackers. If you can’t get yourself to eat a big meal, you may want to try out multiple smaller meals throughout the day. Also be sure to stay hydrated and take a daily prenatal vitamin.
If you can’t seem to get your morning sickness under control or you’re concerned about your health, be sure to speak with a healthcare provider. In some cases, prescription medications may be necessary to prevent nausea or you may need to be monitored to protect your health and the health of your pregnancy.
When to seek medical attention
An extreme form of morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum occurs in up to 3% of pregnancies . This condition is diagnosed if someone has lost a certain amount of prepregnancy weight due to vomiting or is experiencing other concerning problems due to dehydration and loss of body fluids. If you can’t control your morning sickness symptoms or you’re unable to keep food down, see a healthcare provider immediately.
Vomiting can also be a sign of other conditions like ulcers, infections, food-borne illness, or other diseases . If your morning sickness is accompanied with symptoms such as a painful or tender abdomen, headache, fever, enlarged thyroid, or any dehydration symptoms, talk with a healthcare provider as soon as possible to rule out other conditions.
What you need to remember
Morning sickness is a normal symptom that occurs in the majority of pregnancies. Most often, morning sickness will begin sometime around the end of the first month to the beginning of the second month of pregnancy, peaking around week nine and ending shortly after the second trimester begins. Some people are at a higher risk of developing morning sickness, including anyone carrying twins or triplets, and those with a history of migraines, motion sickness, or nausea while taking hormonal birth control. You may be able to manage morning sickness slightly by eating bland foods and snacking regularly, but if you’re unable to control your vomiting or you have concerning symptoms accompanied with your morning sickness, you should talk with your healthcare provider. To support a healthy pregnancy while fighting morning sickness, be sure to stay hydrated and take a prenatal vitamin to get in all your necessary electrolytes and nutrients.
- Lee NM, Saha S. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2011;40(2):309-vii. doi:10.1016/j.gtc.2011.03.009
- Morning sickness: Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. ACOG. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/morning-sickness-nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy. Published May 2020. Accessed February 15, 2023.
- Gadsby R. Pregnancy sickness and symptoms: your questions answered. Prof Care Mother Child. 1994;4(1):16-17.
- Sayle AE, Wilcox AJ, Weinberg CR, Baird DD. A prospective study of the onset of symptoms of pregnancy. J Clin Epidemiol. 2002;55(7):676-680. doi:10.1016/s0895-4356(02)00402-x
- Weir SBS, Akhondi H. Bland Diet. [Updated 2022 Jul 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538142/
- Pepper GV, Craig Roberts S. Rates of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and dietary characteristics across populations. Proc Biol Sci. 2006;273(1601):2675-2679. doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.3633