Things you should know about Vomiting in Pregnancy


Pregnancy is considered as the happiest time of a female’s life. But, the complications faced by the female in this beautiful journey weigh a lot. Morning sickness,  nausea, and vomiting can make pregnancy very difficult for the female. Realizing the underlying cause of nausea and vomiting can keep the problem under control. So, read ahead to learn about common causes of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and when do you need to worry about it.

Causes of vomiting during pregnancy

pregnant female having nausea

Hormones are likely to be blamed for morning sickness in pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum. But, certain other factors can increase the risk of vomiting and feeling like throwing up almost all the time. Such factors can include- 

  • The female is expecting multiples (twins, triplets, or more).
  • Has a personal or family history of vomiting in pregnancy.
  • The female is sensitive to some smells or tastes.
  • History of migraines and/or motion sickness.

Also Read: Headaches during Pregnancy- Should I worry?


Risk factors of vomiting in pregnancy

The biggest risk for vomiting and nausea in pregnancy is eating raw, undercooked foods, or fruits and vegetables that have not been washed properly. 

Other problems that can cause vomiting or nausea in pregnancy may be- 

Hyperemesis gravidarum

pregnant female vomiting in the washroom

Some females deal with extreme morning sickness, which is known as hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy. It is commonly caused due to rising hormone levels. 

If the female has morning sickness, she may vomit just once a day and can manage and control her nausea and vomiting. So, if the female develops the condition of hyperemesis gravidarum, she may vomit more than 3 or 4 times a day and may also feel constant nausea. 

Vomiting with hyperemesis gravidarum in pregnancy can get so bad that some pregnant females lose weight and get dehydrated due to an inability to keep both solid foods and liquids down. The condition can also make the female lethargic and cause dizziness and lightheadedness.

Hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms are at peak during weeks 9 to 13 and then subside. So, the symptoms mostly get better as the female moves farther along in her pregnancy. 

Foodborne illnesses

pregnant female having nausea

Foodborne illnesses are a common cause of vomiting during pregnancy which most pregnant women do not expect. 

This problem is mostly caused due to eating contaminated food in pregnancy. 

Pregnant females are at high risk for foodborne illness because pregnancy weakens their immune system. As a result, it becomes harder for the pregnant female’s body to fight back bacteria and germs and prevent vomiting. 

Symptoms of foodborne illnesses are common to those of morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting. But, foodborne illnesses can accompany other symptoms such as headaches, body aches, and fever. The symptoms develop shortly (24 to 48 hours) after the female eats contaminated food.

Things you can do to prevent foodborne illnesses include-

  • Properly cook the meat
  • Refrigerate your foods shortly after cooking
  • Properly wash all fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid consuming unpasteurized juice, eggs, or milk.

Also Read: A Healthy Pregnancy will bring a Healthy Baby- Food guide for pregnant women

Complications or side effects of vomiting in pregnancy

Morning sickness during pregnancy is uncomfortable, but the female is not likely to experience major complications due to it. 

But if the female develops hyperemesis gravidarum (severe vomiting), it can lead to dehydration or decreased urination. And if the female is unable to replenish the fluid level, she may need to be hospitalized and receive intravenous (IV) fluids to stabilize. 

Severe vomiting in pregnancy can also cause liver damage, vitamin-B deficiency, and poor growth weight in the developing child. So, it is important to discuss the condition with the doctor without any delay.

Foodborne illnesses can be serious too. Such illnesses, including salmonella poisoning and listeria, can cause premature delivery and even miscarriage. 

It is also important to keep in mind that different types of vomiting can cause different side-effects or problems. While morning sickness may not lead to dehydration, hyperemesis gravidarum or foodborne illness can leave the female dehydrated. 


When should I call a doctor?

pregnant female at doctor

A female would not need a doctor for morning sickness which is not severe. However, it is advised to call your doctor in the following cases-

  • Vomiting multiple times a day, 
  • Dizziness
  • A fast heart rate
  • Constant vomiting even after liquids. 

Vomiting during pregnancy can be mild to severe. It is common and usually not something you need to worry about. But, if you have any doubts, concerns or are just worried, call your doctor.


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