ZocdocAnswersHow can I tell if I have morning sickness or food poisoning?

Question

How can I tell if I have morning sickness or food poisoning?

I woke up and started vomiting and my period is four days late. Does morning sickness start that soon?

Answer

Morning sickness is the feeling of nausea that sometimes results in vomiting that is associated with being pregnant. This typically starts at week number 6 of the gestational age of the fetus. The gestational age is calculated from the beginning of your last menstrual period. If you periods are typically regular and occur about 28 days apart, then if you were pregnant you would still be in your 4th (almost 5th) week. Thus this would be an unusual time for you to start having morning sickness, but certainly not unheard of. Morning sickness is caused by an increase in certain hormones in response to the pregnancy. As stated above, it typically comes about the 6th week of pregnancy and is gone by the 12th or 13th week. In severe cases, women need to be hospitalized because of dehydration. When morning sickness is this severe, we call it hyperemesis gravidarum. I suggest that you start by taking a home pregnancy test. These can be purchased at the grocery store or drug store and are very sensitive if taken properly. You should also schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can perform the pregnancy test and refer you to an OBGYN if the test is positive.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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