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When to get medical advice - Morning sickness

Talk to your GP, obstetrician or midwife if either:

  • your morning sickness is severe
  • you're unable to keep water down without vomiting

Urgent advice: Contact your GP, midwife or obstetrician immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • being sick and unable to keep any fluids down for 24 hours
  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • vomiting blood
  • losing weight
  • having very dark coloured pee
  • not peeing as much as usual, especially if it's been more than 8 hours since you last peed
  • feeling pain when peeing, or seeing any blood in your pee

You may need treatment or have to go to hospital.

Treating severe morning sickness

Your GP, obstetrician or midwife may:

  • give you advice on ways to help your symptoms
  • give you a sickness certificate for work if they feel you need rest
  • prescribe some medicine
  • ask you to go to the maternity hospital or emergency department

Questions they might ask you

You may be asked questions to find out if:

  • you're keeping fluids down, such as water
  • you're keeping food down
  • your pee is very dark in colour
  • you have other symptoms such as pain in your tummy or pain when peeing
  • you have lost any weight
  • this has happened before in previous pregnancies
  • you have tried anything to help with your morning sickness

Tests for severe morning sickness

You might be offered the following examinations:

  • checks of your pulse and blood pressure
  • pressing gently on your tummy
  • testing your pee for signs of infection
  • testing your pee for a substance called ketones - these may be a sign you are becoming dehydrated

Medicines for severe morning sickness

There are medicines that can be used at any stage in pregnancy to help improve your symptoms.

These include:

  • anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs
  • vitamins (B6 and B12)
  • steroids

Your GP, midwife or obstetrician will advise you if you need these medicines.

Always read the label to make sure you take the correct amount of medicine at the correct time.

Looking after your mind

Severe sickness can be exhausting and stop you going to work, looking after other children or even getting out of bed.

In addition to feeling very unwell and tired, you might also feel:

  • anxious or worried
  • isolated because you do not know anyone who understands what it's like to have severe morning sickness
  • confused as to why this is happening to you
  • unsure about how to cope with the rest of the pregnancy if you continue to feel very ill

If you feel any of these, do not keep it to yourself. Talk to your midwife, your GP or your obstetrician. Tell them how your sickness is making you feel.

You might also find it helpful to talk to your partner if you have one, or supportive family and friends.

Effects on your baby

Hyperemesis gravidarum can make you feel very unwell, but it's unlikely to harm your baby once it is treated.

If it causes you to lose weight during pregnancy, there is an increased risk that your baby may be born smaller than expected (have a low birth weight).

Page last reviewed: 16 December 2022
Next review due: 16 December 2025