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Why do I have morning sickness at night?
Many moms-to-be quickly discover that "morning sickness" is misnamed, because nausea and vomiting can strike morning, noon, or night. It can keep you from falling asleep and even wake you up, especially during the early weeks of pregnancy.
No one knows what causes nausea during pregnancy, but it might be a combination of factors, including:
- Rapidly rising levels of hormones in early pregnancy
- Enhanced sense of smell and sensitivity to odors
- A sensitive gastrointestinal tract
- Certain genes that are involved in placenta development
How long will nighttime pregnancy nausea last?
Most women who suffer from nausea feel complete relief by about 14 to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Some women may feel queasy for longer, or even throughout the entire pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have nausea or vomiting that lasts longer than 20 weeks. She can check you for dehydration and appropriate weight gain, and also give you options for relief.
What can I do about my nausea at night?
If you have a mild case of nausea and vomiting, some simple strategies and changes may be enough to help. (If not, there are safe and effective anti-nausea medications your doctor can prescribe.)
- Keep simple snacks at your bedside. Snacking on crackers, for example, may help you feel better and get back to sleep if you wake up feeling nauseated in the middle of the night. To ward off that sick feeling when you first wake up in the morning, nibble a few crackers and then rest for 20 to 30 minutes before getting up.
- Don't eat too close to bedtime, because lying down right after eating can slow digestion.
- Avoid fatty foods at dinnertime, as they take longer to digest. Also steer clear of rich, spicy, acidic, and fried foods, which can irritate your digestive system. Complex carbohydrates and proteins are your best bet for an evening meal.
- Sip ginger tea at bedtime. A number of studies have shown that ginger can reduce the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Although no side effects or adverse outcomes occurred in the research on ginger tea, it's a good idea to check with your provider before using it – or any herbal remedies – during pregnancy.
- Try an aromatherapy diffuser in your bedroom. Lemon, mint, and orange scents help some women feel less queasy and might be worth a try overnight.
- Open a window (even just a crack) to get some fresh air in the room. Stuffy air can be a trigger for nausea.
See our complete list of tips for getting relief.
Should I call my healthcare provider?
You can talk with your provider anytime about getting relief. But it's especially important to get in touch if you:
- Have severe nausea and vomiting (you're sick much of the day, every day)
- Have trouble keeping anything down, including water
- Are losing weight
- Have signs of dehydration (dark urine, dizziness, infrequent urination)
- Have blood in your vomit
Your provider will want to make sure that there isn't an underlying problem. She'll also want to rule out a severe condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, which can lead to dehydration and nutritional deficiencies.