Vomiting During Pregnancy

Unfortunately, vomiting during pregnancy is a common occurrence, with as many as 60-70% of pregnant women experiencing vomiting as an unpleasant symptom of morning sickness.  Morning sickness, particularly vomiting, is one of the most common complaints expressed by expecting mothers. Vomiting while pregnant is one of the common discomforts that leads women turning the American Pregnancy Association for help.
Motherrisk is a North American agency dedicated to helping expecting mothers with morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting.  Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy affect up to 85% of all pregnant women.

What Causes Vomiting During Pregnancy

The specific cause of vomiting during pregnancy is not known. The fluctuation in hormone levels during pregnancy could be one contributing factor. Hormones slow down digestion, which could trigger heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux, which are all considered possible symptoms of pregnancy and potential triggers of vomiting during pregnancy.
Emergency contraceptive use can also trigger vomiting. Also known as the “morning-after pill”, or Plan B, these pills have concentrated doses of hormones, which can have negative side effects, including vomiting.

What are the Risks Associated with Vomiting During Pregnancy

While vomiting is an uncomfortable side effect of pregnancy, most instances do not pose a health threat to the mom and the baby, so it is not an immediate sign of concern.
It is important, however, for women to distinguish between normal pregnancy symptoms and potentially dangerous conditions accompanied by vomiting, such as hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition where women experience more severe symptoms of pregnancy, such as profuse nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can have severe consequences, such as weight loss, rapid heart rate, and low blood pressure.  Severe vomiting can prevent your baby from getting the nutrients he needs to grow and develop at optimal health.

How Can You Treat Vomiting During Pregnancy?

Women experiencing morning sickness can lessen the effects by making small changes to their daily routines. For some women, certain smells can trigger nausea and vomiting, so avoiding those smells while pregnant is recommended. Also, having a little food in your stomach can lessen the effects of nausea. It can be good to carry snacks around in your purse or leave them in spots that you visit every day, such as in your car, by your bed, and in your drawer at work.
While vomiting during pregnancy can seem scary and be unpleasant, it is a common occurrence for over 60% of pregnant women. It is important to be aware of your body, so if you are concerned that the vomiting or symptoms you’re experiencing are not normal, it is best to contact your doctor immediately, especially if the vomiting is severe and prolonged.

Want to Know More?

Koren, Gideon & Maltepe, Caroline, How to Survive Morning Sickness Successfully, (2013), Motherrisk.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2014). Morning Sickness – ACOG. Retrieved 10 October 2014, from Your Pregnancy and Childbirth. (2010) (5th ed., p. 21). Washington, DC.