Morning sickness is a common ailment among expecting mothers. While it typically subsides by the time you reach your second trimester, there is a chance it may persist. Learn more about second trimester morning sickness—and how to manage it.

Feeling queasy and vomiting while pregnant—it must be morning sickness, right? This common condition is one of the less glamorous portions of pregnancy, but it’s normal and, for most pregnant women, short lived. But if you’ve entered your second trimester and you’re still experiencing morning sickness, there isn’t necessarily a cause for concern.

What is Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness is the common feeling of nausea, often accompanied by vomiting, experienced while pregnant. Morning sickness typically begins around the sixth week of pregnancy, peaks during the ninth week, and begins to diminish or stop completely between weeks 12 and 18.1,2 Around 70% of pregnancies come with morning sickness.3 And don’t let the name fool you—morning sickness can happen any time of day.

What Causes Morning Sickness in the Second Trimester?

While not as common as experiencing morning sickness in the first trimester, it’s not unusual for morning sickness to persist into the second trimester.

While your doctor won’t be able to tell you the exact cause of morning sickness, it is likely due to the hormone changes that come with pregnancy.4 Some doctors believe that morning sickness is an indication of a healthy placenta2, which is a thought that may make the continued queasiness more bearable in your second trimester of morning sickness. Other causes of morning sickness may include:5,6

  • Blood pressure fluctuations
  • Change in carbohydrate metabolism that lowers blood sugar
  • Fatigue
  • Mental or emotional stress
  • Non-hormonal chemical changes from pregnancy
  • Physical changes from pregnancy
  • Traveling while pregnant

Morning Sickness Risk Factors

While every pregnancy is different, there are things that will put you at greater risk of experiencing morning sickness in your first or second trimester, including:7

  • Estrogen exposure, like from birth control, before pregnancy
  • Morning sickness in a previous pregnancy
  • Feeling nauseated or vomiting from stimuli like migraines, odors, motion, or tastes before pregnancy
  • Pregnancy with multiples

How to Prevent or Ease Second Trimester Morning Sickness

While it’s not exactly possible to fully prevent morning sickness, there are triggers that can be avoided to reduce the likelihood of morning sickness.7 Steps expecting moms take to prevent or ease morning sickness during the first trimester can be tried to prevent morning sickness from persisting into the second trimester:6

  • Eat several small meals or graze rather than consuming big meals
  • Avoid greasy, fatty, and spicy foods
  • Get plenty of rest—including naps as needed
  • Stay hydrated, including drinking water before and after eating
  • Take your prenatal vitamins before bed
  • Ventilate your spaces to avoid irritating smells, like cigarette smoke or perfumes

If steps to prevent or minimize morning sickness leave you feeling queasy still, you may choose to try to ease your second trimester morning sickness instead

When To See a Doctor About Morning Sickness

If your second trimester morning sickness seems more intense than it had been in the first trimester, you may have hyperemesis gravidarum—excessive vomiting during pregnancy.1 Vomiting this severe can prevent both mom and baby from getting the nutrients they need. If you experience any of the following with your second trimester morning sickness, contact your doctor to be evaluated for hyperemesis gravidarum and to receive treatment:1,3

  • Dehydration—signs of which include dizziness, dark-colored urine or not urinating
  • Change in body or breath odor, either fruity or sour
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Losing weight
  • Vomiting more than three times in a day with an inability to keep anything down
  • Vomit with brown coloring or blood in it
  • Nausea that prevents eating or drinking

If your doctor concludes that you’re experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum, treatment may include medication, supplements, or IV fluids.1

Pregnancy brings bodily changes and challenges like morning sickness, but it also comes with plenty of joy and things to celebrate—not least of which your forthcoming little one! Try focusing on those joyful parts, such as registering for your baby shower, building a comfy maternity wardrobe, and getting ready to apply for maternity leave.