Nausea during pregnancy: causes, symptoms and solutions

Nausées pendant la grossesse : causes, symptômes et solutions

Pregnancy is a time of great (very great!) change for a woman's body, and morning sickness is one of the most common symptoms she may encounter!

While not always serious (though admittedly unpleasant), morning sickness can significantly affect a mother-to-be's quality of life (no kidding). Would you like to understand the causes of nausea during pregnancy? What are the associated symptoms? And above all, what are the possible solutions to relieve it? Whether you're a mother-to-be looking for advice on how to relieve nausea, or simply curious to better understand this phenomenon, Elia explains it all!

Why does nausea occur during pregnancy?

Nausea during pregnancy is a very common symptom, affecting around 80% of pregnant women! Nausea can occur at any time of the day, but is often more frequent on waking, hence the name "morning sickness".

One of the main causes of nausea is increased hormone levels, in particular human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen. These hormones are produced in significant quantities by the placenta and can stimulate the central nervous system, which can lead to nausea.

In addition to these hormonal factors, other elements can contribute to this symptom. For example, the digestion of food can be slowed down, leading to a de facto accumulation of food (and causing nausea). Stress, fatigue and changes in habits can also contribute to nausea.

It's important to consult a doctor if nausea is accompanied by other symptoms such as frequent vomiting, significant weight loss or signs of dehydration , to avoid any risk to the baby's development.

When does nausea occur during pregnancy?

It can occur at any time of the day or night, but is generally more frequent in the morning, hence the nickname "morning sickness". As for the "moment" of their appearance, there are three possible scenarios: at the very beginning, in the middle and at the end!

Early pregnancy

Morning sickness can start at the very beginning of pregnancy, and this is the most frequent case, affecting between 50 and 80% of pregnant women .

They are generally benign and without consequences, but can be very annoying and tiring for the pregnant woman.


Nausea in mid-gestation may persist in some women, but tends to be less severe than at the beginning. At this stage, nausea can have several causes:

  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux: acid reflux is more common in pregnant women, due to the pressure exerted on the stomach by the growing uterus;
  • Increased sensitivity to odors;
  • Diet: pregnant women may be more likely to suffer from nausea if they eat high-fat, spicy or sweet foods;
  • Stress: nausea can be exacerbated by stress, which is common at this time of life!

Nausea in mid-gestation can also be a symptom of pre-eclampsia, which requires immediate medical attention.

Nausea at the end of pregnancy

During this phase, nausea can be caused by the lack of space in the uterus, which compresses the stomach and leads to a more rapid feeling of fullness. It can also cause acid burn and reflux, which aggravate nausea.

Fatigue and discomfort can also cause these unpleasant sensations, as can uterine contractions known as "Braxton Hicks contractions" .

How to recognize nausea due to pregnancy or illness?

It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between nausea due to pregnancy and nausea due to illness or infection. The symptoms of nausea can be similar in both cases, but there are a few differences that can help make the distinction.

Duration of vomiting

The duration of vomiting varies according to the cause: for vomiting due to pregnancy, it is generally felt very fleetingly, in waves, without lasting over time.

In the case of illness-related vomiting, on the other hand, the duration may depend on the underlying illness. For example, vomiting due to gastroenteritis can last from a few hours to several days, as can vomiting due to food poisoning .

Pain associated with nausea

Nausea is often accompanied by other symptoms of pregnancy, such as fatigue, tense breasts, frequent urination and missed periods. Pregnancy-related nausea is also more frequent on waking.

In contrast, nausea caused by illness is often accompanied by fever, abdominal pain, severe vomiting and diarrhea.

How can I prevent vomiting during pregnancy?

There are several relatively simple solutions to prevent vomiting:

  • Eat frequent, light meals rather than large ones: this can help avoid blood sugar spikes and large stomach volumes! ;
  • Avoid fatty, fried and spicy foods, which can irritate the stomach and be difficult to digest;
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated;
  • Avoid strong odors that trigger nausea;
  • Have light snacks such as crackers or dried fruit before getting up in the morning to avoid the feeling of nausea;

What treatments are available to stop nausea in pregnant women?

Several medications are available to treat nausea, particularly during gestation, such as doxylamine and pyridoxine. If necessary, your doctor may prescribe stronger treatments or medications.

Vitamin B6 supplementation can also help reduce nausea and vomiting. As for natural solutions, the World Health Organization has recognized the usefulness of ginger infusions (as well as chewing on slices of fresh ginger, for example). slices of fresh ginger, a maximum of 10g a day).

Should I be concerned if pregnancy nausea suddenly stops?

Sudden cessation of nausea is generally not a cause for concern, as it can happen naturally! In fact, some women experience a reduction in nausea as early as the end of the first trimester.

However, if the sudden cessation of nausea is accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, bleeding or abnormal fluid loss, it's important to make an urgent appointment with a doctor to ensure that there are no more serious problems.

When should you see a doctor about nausea?

It's important to see a doctor about pregnancy-related nausea if it's severe and persists throughout the day, or if it's accompanied by frequent vomiting that prevents you from eating and drinking properly.

If they are associated with abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, significant weight loss or signs of dehydration, you should also seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Pregnancy nausea FAQs

When does pregnancy-related nausea stop?

Most nausea occurs at the beginning of pregnancy, and generally subsides by the end of the first trimester. Some women experience nausea throughout their pregnancy, particularly in the middle and at the end, due to hormonal changes!

Is pregnancy nausea a good sign?

It's a normal and common symptom. Although unpleasant, it's not usually a cause for concern, and can even be considered a sign that the pregnancy is going well! However, their absence does not necessarily mean that there is a problem for the baby.

When is pregnant nausea at its worst?

It can vary in intensity and duration from one woman to the next, but is often strongest in the first trimester, particularly between weeks 6 and 12.

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The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.