You’ve made it through the first two trimesters! Yiphee! Perhaps you had morning sickness in the first trimester, in which case you’d have been relieved to get to the second trimester and get that pregnancy glow.

But what if you get sick again, in your third trimester? You’re already feeling heavy, tired, maybe sore… and now, sick.

What is morning sickness in late pregnancy?

Morning sickness in the third trimester feels like the same kind of nausea and vomiting you got in the first trimester, except it happens towards the end of your pregnancy – often from around Week 27 or 28. Many women thought their morning sickness had stopped and question whether morning sickness can come back, but it’s pretty common for a variety of reasons.

It’s important to note that morning sickness in late pregnancy is not the same as Hyperemesis Gravidarium, which is very severe morning sickness and starts in the first trimester and continues through the pregnancy. Sometimes it can last until the baby is born.

Late pregnancy nausea and vomiting often starts again after Week 28 and it can be a frustrating and emotional time for the pregnant woman, simply because they thought, and hoped, that this stage of pregnancy was over. Other women may not experience any late pregnancy vomiting or nausea – both are entirely normal.

What does late morning sickness feel like?

Some women don’t vomit, they just feel nauseous whereas others find themselves vomiting and feeling generally unwell. Many liken the feeling of pregnancy nausea to feeling sea sick.

You know you’re experiencing late pregnancy morning sickness if you feel like this for more than two days in a row. If the sickness is constant or you can’t keep anything down you should go and see your GP or healthcare provider. In certain cases, you can get dehydrated from vomiting and you may need to be re-hydrated.

Generally late morning sickness is not a serious condition – it is more frustrating and upsetting than anything else.

Why do women get late pregnancy morning sickness?

Late pregnancy morning sickness is a result of bodily changes that can occur in the last few months of pregnancy.

These bodily changes include:

  • Your stomach and gastrointestinal muscles relaxing so much that digestion slows down, forcing food back up the oesophagus.
  • Pressure on the stomach from the growing weight of the baby in the uterus.
  • Hormonal changes (these are not as common as in the first trimester but still possible).
  • While it’s a natural part of pregnancy for many mums-to-be, nausea and vomiting can be brought on under certain situations.

For example:

  • When a pregnant woman eats certain foods that are hard to digest (very oily, acidic or spicy foods)
  • Eats very large meals.
  • Gets heartburn or reflux
  • Heartburn is a major cause of nausea in the third trimester. Heartburn happens when the valve between the stomach and oesophagus lets acidic stomach contents to move back up the oesophagus. Often called acid reflux, persistent heartburn can cause a burning sensation on the lining of the oesophagus and in the third trimester, the growing baby can displace the stomach and cause food and acid to move back up into the oesophagus, causing heartburn, nausea and vomiting.

How do I treat late morning sickness?

Simple treatments like antacids can help, but you should check with your doctor or midwife that they are safe to take in pregnancy. There are some remedies here.

  • Eat little and often, and try to avoid, fried, fatty or spicy foods (like curry) which often make nausea worse. Carry small packets of biscuits or crackers that you can snack on when the nausea strikes.
  • Try to have foods rich in Vitamin B6 like bananas or chicken. You could take a Vitamin B supplement but you should check with your midwife, GP or obstetrician that this is OK first.
  • Sip water often to keep hydrated, or try little glasses of juice or barley water. Dehydration can be a problem with morning sickness so try and stay as hydrated as you can.

If your morning sickness is severe your doctor might prescribe you with some anti-nausea medication which won’t stop the vomiting but will hopefully ease the feelings of sickness.

If dehydration becomes an issue, a mum-to-be might be admitted to hospital for a short stay to get fluids by IV.

When should I seek extra medical advice for late morning sickness?

You should always consult your doctor or midwife if you also find you have other of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in your face, arms or legs
  • Regular cramping or contractions
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Blurred vision
  • High fever

Nausea and vomiting with other symptoms like these can sometimes be a sign of food poisoning, gastro, a stomach virus, an infection, pre-eclampsia or even a sign labour. Sometimes infections trigger labour, which can be a problem if it is too early for the baby to be born. If you have any of these symptoms in your third trimester, you should seek immediate medical attention.

What is pre-eclampsia?

Pre-eclampsia is an extremely serious condition that usually occurs in the late second trimester or in the third trimester. About five to 10 percent of pregnant women will develop pre-eclampsia and all pregnant women should know the signs and symptoms.

Nausea is a very common symptom and it is often accompanied by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. This condition is dangerous for both the mother and baby, so it must be managed as soon as possible. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible if you get a sudden on-set of nausea, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, vision problems or you pass less urine.