“Please, not again,” I thought to myself as the wave of nausea returned. It was quickly followed by a hot flash and the curdling of another sick spell. At 8 weeks pregnant, I was well acquainted with one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy: nausea and vomiting.
One afternoon, as I sat down with my manager for an urgent work discussion, I could feel the vomit volcano ready to erupt. I had no choice but to run to the restroom as quickly as possible. If this was just “morning sickness,” then why did I feel so horrendous? And why was it happening throughout the day?
“Morning sickness” is a term used by exasperated parents-to-be because it’s so rooted in our collective vocabulary and regularly referred to as such everywhere from movies to social media. But in fact, it’s not the terminology many medical professionals want to use these days.
“Morning sickness sounds like something that is confined to just one part of the day, and that is simply not true. Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy can occur at any time of the day,” says Dr. Sara Twogood, MD, an OB-GYN (obstetrician and gynecologist) at Cedars Sinai Medical Group, Los Angeles. Dr. Twogood believes the phrase “morning sickness” trivializes the symptom, and she highlights that the phrase is not even medically correct.
A study carried out at University of Warwick in England, published in 2020, analyzed 256 pregnant women and found that 94% experienced nausea and/or vomiting. The same study found that symptoms of nausea and vomiting were experienced throughout the day, and not just the “morning.” Despite this knowledge and many medical websites citing that the phrase is a misnomer, it continues to be used regularly.