Home Health & Wellness How Severe Morning Sickness Can Have Psychological Effects

How Severe Morning Sickness Can Have Psychological Effects

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Morning sickness is common during pregnancy, but some women can experience severe, unpleasant and even debilitating symptoms.

Discussing the psychological effects of severe morning sickness is important because sometimes they are not only related to physical symptoms. People who experience nausea may also feel anxious or depressed. If you’re experiencing these feelings, it can help to talk with someone about them so you can get the support you need.

Severe morning sickness and its symptoms

Severe morning sickness is extreme vomiting and nausea that occurs in early pregnancy. This condition is also known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). While normal morning sickness occurs in 70% of pregnancies, more severe symptoms of HG may occur – though it affects a small percentage of pregnant women.

The symptoms of severe morning sickness include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Thirst
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Fainting spells
  • Headaches or migraines

Psychological effects of severe morning sickness

The symptoms of severe morning sickness are likely to cause the following psychological effects:


Severe morning sickness can cause depression in women. A new study shows that depressive symptoms are common in women with HG.

According to research, out of 200 women who have HG, 37.5% are depressed. This means over one-third of women with HG will experience a depressive episode during pregnancy.

Researchers believe this increased risk is due to biological factors and external triggers, such as high-stress levels or anxiety triggered by the social stigma surrounding an illness. Many people feel alone and helpless against its effects.

The good news is that pregnant women can seek medical treatment by taking antidepressants their doctor prescribes.


Severe morning sickness can also trigger anxiety. Research indicates that anxiety is the most common mental health condition among women with severe morning sickness. At least 54% of pregnant women experiencing HG have anxiety. Plus, it’s common for them to experience other anxiety symptoms, like fatigue and trouble sleeping.

Women with severe morning sickness often find themselves in a cycle of feeling anxious about being sick, which makes them feel even more ill. This can make it difficult for them to get out of bed or leave the house for fear of vomiting in public. They may also feel anxious about caring for their children or spouse if they cannot leave the house due to nausea.


Many women find severe morning sickness a frustrating ordeal. You’re likely to miss out on social events and obligations.

This can be a problem for many women with HG because they tend to feel lonely, isolated or even guilty. All these emotions can lead to stress, anxiety and depression; making it hard for you to enjoy your pregnancy due to your symptoms. 

Managing psychological effects of severe morning sickness

Taking care of yourself and seeking support is the first step to feeling better. Here are some of the best coping strategies for severe morning sickness.

Seek medical help

The physical symptoms of severe morning sickness can be overwhelming, but the emotional and mental stress that comes with it can be just as challenging to manage. It’s vital to seek medical attention if you struggle with anxiety or depression due to severe morning sickness. Talking to your doctor about your symptoms can help them identify your best treatment plan.

Attend therapy and support groups

If the stress is too much to handle alone, therapy or support groups may be a good option. These resources are great because they allow you to talk about your experiences. Plus, you can speak without fear of judgment from others who may not understand what it’s like to have severe morning sickness.

Practise self-care

Self-care is essential when coping with severe morning sickness. It gives you an outlet for releasing emotions that might otherwise come out in unhealthy ways, such as overeating. 

Consider practising yoga, meditating or doing light exercise. You can release energy and improve your mood by incorporating movement into your daily routine. You can also try journaling to keep track of foods that make you feel better or worse.

However, the best self-care method is to get plenty of rest and enjoy any activity that eases your mind.

Take steps to manage severe morning sickness

Severe morning sickness is a serious but treatable condition that can affect the lives of women and their families. There are many ways to manage it, but the most important thing is to seek help and support. The more you understand this condition, the better you’ll be able to handle it.

David Radar, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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