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Morning Sickness

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A surefire way to detect pregnancy is puking in the morning, more efficient even than missing a period.

Never mind the fact that in Real Life, pregnant women may or may not get intense nausea which may or may not lead to vomiting which can happen at any time of the day (though The Other Wiki says that morning sickness is most common in the morning — not because it's a special time of day but because the nausea feels worst on an empty stomach). Of course the latter part isn't always used, pregnant women in fiction will often vomit at some random part of the day, often causing another character (often male) to comment, "Why do they call it 'morning sickness' if it happens any time of the day?"


Sometimes even animal characters will get morning sickness, despite it mostly being a human thing.

Because morning sickness is used so often as a tell for pregnancy, and because vomiting for other reasons tends not to come up as often in fiction, this causes expectations in the audience any time a female character is seen throwing up. If said character then goes on to speculate that the nausea must be stomach flu or food poisoning, that's as good as holding up a positive pregnancy test as far as most works of fiction are concerned. As a result, having the true cause of nausea be a surprise to the audience can be difficult to pull off. In some cases, Pregnancy Faint is used as it is a less common example of a tell for pregnancy.

Particularly egregious if it happens hours or days after the pregnancy is supposed to have been conceived — not only should no sign of pregnancy be detectable for over a week, but morning sickness should take about a month at least to manifest.


Somewhat justified in the case of a Mister Seahorse situation, because there's (usually) no missed period for him to tip him off before the nausea begins. (However, it's not usually justified in that situation for pregnancy to be the first guess when he starts feeling nauseous and/or vomiting.)


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    Anime & Manga 
  • CLANNAD ~After Story~: When Nagisa is throwing up in the sink, Akio good-naturedly teases her about possibly being pregnant. When Tomoya snaps at him about it, he taunts him that if Tomoya was a man she should be by now. Cue Sanae cheerfully announcing "She's pregnant."
  • In Yuu Watase's Imadoki!, Arisa's pregnancy is revealed when she vomits, but insists she hasn't had anything to drink that night.
  • In Fruits Basket, we see Kyoko throwing up in the sink right before she tells Katsuya that she's pregnant.
  • Subverted in the Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden OVA. Mayo is 3 months pregnant, and sits up in bed, heaving, thinking that it's just morning sickness (in her mind, a small price to pay for bearing Tamahome's child, especially in lieu of Miaka), but instead she vomits up a magical orb that allows her to see what Tamahome is up to.
  • In Anatolia Story, this is used thrice. First, Yuri has it when she's pregnant for the first time, but sadly she ends up losing the baby. Few later Yuri's Ninja Maid Shala also has it, but she lies about being seasick to not hurt Yuri's feelings over the aforementioned loss. And finally, Yuri again has it right before she and Kail get officially married, as she's pregnant again - this time, the baby is born safely.
  • Maken-ki!: Played for Laughs during Azuki's nightmare in episode 9 (season 2). She wakes up and finds herself naked in bed with Takaki, who blushes over Azuki being "her first". Takaki asks if they can do it again, but suddenly becomes nauseated and has to run to the bathroom. The scene immediately cuts to the delivery room at the hospital, where Takaki gives birth to their daughter, Yuuka. Azuki promptly wakes up screaming.

    Comic Books 
  • A Jack Chick tract has a woman getting pregnant, introduced after she throws up several times during the day.
  • Subverted with Buffy in issue 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 9. She throws up several times, and together with some cryptic comments thrown her way it's the reason she goes out to buy a pregnancy test — which turns out positive. A few issues later it turns out she's actually a robot, and all symptoms are directly caused by this. The morning sickness for one is due to her artificial body's inability to process food.
  • Concrete The Human Dilemma: a girl Larry impregnated suffers from it. So does Concrete, though naturally no one suspects he's pregnant, as he's a man trapped in an alien body they had no reason to believe could reproduce at all, much less asexually, and even less reason to believe would experience similar pregnancy symptoms to humans.
  • Comes up in Injustice: Gods Among Us when Black Canary calls a halt in the middle of a fight with Harley Quinn so she can throw up in a nearby bucket. Harley immediately recognizes it as morning sickness and starts teasing Dinah about it, and turns out she realizes what it was because she had a daughter five years ago.

    Comic Strips 
  • Notably averted during Rosalind's pregnancy in Safe Havens, unlike the pregnancies of Jenny, Ming, and Thomas, she's turned into so many species thanks to Samantha's research that her body is used to new hormones being introduced so she doesn't experience morning sickness.
    • Should be noted, this is how Jenny finds out she's pregnant. Ming found out long before she started having morning sickness (and started trying to figure out which foods would make the most colorful barf) and Remora had to tell them about Thomas, cause...well, they didn't know it was the males that got pregnant when merpeople are involved.
    • And this is how they figure out Samantha is pregnant too. Probably a good thing they employed the Vomit Discretion Shot, cause at this point she and everyone else were in space. (The embarrassing part is that it's Dethany, who's still on Earth, who figures it out first.)
  • In Retail Marla's morning sickness was so bad she actually called off of work, which she never does. This worries Stuart, who doesn't know she's pregnant yet, and he starts thinking she's looking for another job and planning on quitting Grumbel's right before the holiday season.

    Fan Works 
  • Very, very, common in fanfiction, surpassing missed periods, early weight gain, and Wacky Cravings as early symptoms by a mile. The extent of the trope ranges from mild nausea to near constant vomiting from the day of conception. Not even men are safe from this trope.
  • A Crown of Stars: In chapter 66 Asuka’s stomach has been bothering her off and on for a few days. She thinks nothing of it until she hears a character telling to another: “It’s not right, you being so chipper and bushy-tailed every morning. Sickness, that’s what it is. I think you’re…” And she blanches when she thinks about her stomach aches, realizes that Shinji and she have been screwing up like bunnies every night for nearly two months without protection –the thought of using it never entered their minds- and she cannot remember when her last period was. She dashes towards the nearest toilet to vomit.
  • The Child of Love: Subverted. Asuka suffered from morning sickness, but the readers learnt from her pregnancy before seeing her sick. Likewise she was constantly sick and throwing up for most of her pregnancy, but it was a hint something wrong was happening to her and her baby.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Shinji insisted that Asuka saw a doctor after she was sick three mornings in a row. He was sure that she was pregnant. And he was right.
    Asuka: I'm pregnant.
    Shinji: I wondered.
    Asuka: What? Why didn't you say anything?
    Shinji: You can't be serious.
    Asuka: Well, yes, I guess I can see your point.
    Shinji: But anyway, you were sick three mornings in a row. What else could it be?
  • In Face The Strange, Dally gets morning sickness...soon before she gives birth.
  • In the Danny Phantom fanfic Ghosts in the Closet, this is the first sign that Sam's pregnant. Well, for her at least - the readers already know.
  • It's a recurring thing in the third arc of the Elemental Chess Trilogy, and actually becomes a plot point when it saves the life of the father-to-be (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • RE-TAKE: In the second volume Asuka goes to the toilet and throws up. As she washes her face she thinks it was her idea and now she must face the consequences. Few scenes later she tells Shinji she is pregnant.
  • The Discworld fic Hyperemesis Gravidarum is named after the Latin term for this phenomena. This is the first sign three Lady Assassins get that they are very soon to take maternity leave.
  • In Morticia Is Pregnant, Morticia Addams from The Addams Family becomes pregnant with Pugsley and the first symptom is nausea and vomiting.
  • Mentioned but not seen in Life is a Roller Coaster when the school goes to an amusement park; the expectant mother finally breaks down and explains that this is the reason she's avoiding the spinny rides - she's been having morning sickness and she doesn't want to make it worse. She also notes that this is not the way she intended to announce the pregnancy to anyone.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Selina Kyle during her return to Shreck's boardroom in Batman Returns brings up the subject of a nun during her childhood puking in church, and one of her friends blaming it on morning sickness.
  • Implied in Burlesque. Tess finds one of the dancers in the bathroom stall throwing up. She tells her, "Please don't tell me you have the flu." The dancer gives Tess a meaningful look, after which Tess says, "Please tell me you have the flu."
  • In Castle of Sand Rieko gets up from bed, darts into the bedroom, and vomits. Cut to her callous boyfriend demanding she get an abortion.
  • Pregnant police chief Marge in Fargo says it's just morning sickness after inspecting a murder scene and almost throwing up.
  • In Korean film The Housemaid, the housemaid barfs in the kitchen sink, revealing that she is pregnant.
  • Dr. Alex Hesse (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) in Junior suffers from morning sickness because he is pregnant.
  • In the film Knocked Up, the vomiting happens while the female lead is conducting an interview with James Franco, who assumes it's a prank.
  • Happens to Vaidehi in the film Lajja.
  • In Look Who's Talking, Mollie throws up at work and blames it on a stomach bug. Later, she finds out she's pregnant with Mikey.
  • Played with in The Painted Veil - which is set during a cholera epidemic. Kitty throws up, panics, and faints - and, coming to, asks "Am I going to die?" Apparently not...
  • In Seed of Chucky, Jennifer Tilly goes through this after becoming the unwitting carrier of Chucky's rapidly aging offspring.
  • In Sweet Country, the first hint that Lizzie is pregnant is when she throws up.
  • Where Are My Children?: Well, you couldn't show someone vomiting in 1916. So the film shows Lillian looking ill and refusing all food at the breakfast table.
  • In Yours, Mine, & Ours, a reference to this is how one of the older boys finds out his mother is pregnant:
    Doctor: How are things going? Discomfort, morning sickness?
    Boy: No, Doc, I'm fine.
    Doctor: I meant your mother.
    Boy: Why would she... morning sickness?

  • The first sign of Batiya's pregnancy in Across a Jade Sea is severe nausea, but since she was traveling on a boat at the time she attributes it to seasickness at first.
  • Used throughout The Belgariad and sequels as the definitive way to signal a character is pregnant.
  • In The Destroyer, one of the villains "knows" that they've succeeded in having Remo impregnate them when they start having trouble keeping down their food seven days after having had sex.
  • Earth's Children: In Clan of the Cave Bear, this is one of the first questions asked to verify that Ayla is expecting.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's novel Friday. While on the starship Forward, Friday suffers from nausea. When she goes to the ship's doctor he insists on checking her for pregnancy before prescribing her an anti-nausea pill (c.f. Thalidomide), despite her protests that she hasn't had sex for a long while. The test comes back positive, much to her astonishment.
  • Two characters in The General series, Whitehall's wife Suzette and 'Barbarian' princess Marie Welf are warned of inconvenient pregnancies by morning sickness.
  • In the book Gone with the Wind, Scarlett consults the family doctor about "a digestive upset", and is told that she is again pregnant. How a physician in the late 1860's could be so sure of this— without, apparently, even the formality of an examination— is never explained.
  • Honor Harrington's pregnancy is first hinted at when she feels slightly queasy at breakfast. Given her usual Big Eater tendencies, this stands out immediately.
  • In Ice, Cassie experiences this. She initially chalks it up to food poisoning or illness, because she'd been taking birth control pills. When she finds out that her husband magically negated the pills, she was not happy.
  • In Thrones, Dominations of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, Harriet vomits several times earlier throughout the book, foreshadowing that she's pregnant with their first child, Bredon.
  • In the novel The Microcolony by Gordon Williams, morning sickness was the first sign one of the micro-clone colonists was pregnant; something they didn't think was possible.
  • In Millicent Min, Girl Genius, the title character overhears her mother throwing up in the bathroom in the mornings. Being the girl genius of the title, with a superb memory and problem-solving skills above her peers, she carefully deduces beyond the shadow of a doubt... that her mother has terminal brain cancer.
  • The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger: In the second book, Alexia Tarabotti gets nauseated on a zeppelin. Naturally, it's later revealed that she's pregnant.
  • Tales of Kolmar: Lanen in The Lesser Kindred. It's particularly bad because half-dragon embryos are very hard on the human body.
  • In the Temeraire novel Empire of Ivory, Captain Harcourt vomits several times before revealing she is pregnant, and continues to experience bad sickness throughout the pregnancy.
  • Twilight, when Bella is on her honeymoon, about a day after her first day of sex. Of course, it's a mutant baby growing ridiculously fast...
  • An attack of vomiting is what makes Anna realize she is pregnant in Jean Rhys' Voyage in the Dark.
  • Averted in The Wheel of Time, where apparently one of the perks of being able to channel the One Power is not getting morning sickness when pregnant. Holding the Power also calms mood swings, though it can't be held indefinitely. Elayne finds out about her pregnancy because a future-seeing friend tells her about it, and doesn't develop any symptoms for several weeks.
  • In The Red Tent, none of the women in Dinah's family experience morning sickness during any of their pregnancies. In fact, they just know they're pregnant even before missing a period, because (In-Universe) Women Are Wiser and have intuition that the men in the series just don't. note  That being said, as a midwife, Dinah mentions offering an herb in the mint family to women who do experience morning sickness.
  • One of the first Mister Seahorse patients seen by the doctor in the Anne McCaffrey short story "A Horse From a Different Sea" is known for a) adultery and b) getting sympathetic morning sickness whenever his wife is pregnant, to the extent that when she learns she isn't (before they realise he is) she suspects his morning sickness might be in sympathy with someone else.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Caprica-Sharon on the rebooted Battlestar Galactica.
  • Played with during the pregnancies on Charmed. Phoebe mentions that it should be called "Morning, Noon, and Night sickness," and feels awful (understandable, see below). Piper seems to play it more straight, being uncomfortable, but not quite as bad, except when she throws up in her mouth at the hospital. Other symptoms in the Charmed world include attacking people with flowers (Piper's half-angel baby didn't like violence) and turning fruit into raw meat (Phoebe was pregnant with a half-demon).
  • On the Clueless TV series, the main characters partner for a school project with a geeky girl who disappears into the bathroom several times to vomit. They actually assume she has an eating disorder and confront her about it, commenting that as much as she's throwing up she must either be purging or... oh. They go with her to buy a pregnancy test and sure enough, she is.
  • CSI: In "Primum Non Nocere", Grissom picks a suspect as being pregnant when she vomits at a crime scene. The suspect herself says that it is food poisoning, but Grissom points out that the window for food poisoning manifesting had passed.
  • The smell of leather car seats did this to Gaby on Desperate Housewives, causing her to upchuck on the upholstery and royally decrease the vehicle's resale value.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Impossible Astronaut", Amy is sick, leading her to say at the end "Doctor, I'm pregnant!" Later revealed to be an effect of the Silence. Which leads to Fridge Brilliance or Fridge Logic when it's revealed that the Amy we see is a plastic replica and the real (pregnant) one is somewhere else. The show is uncertain as to how long the season took and exactly when she had been kidnapped and replaced, but we do know that the replica body felt the contractions. Most likely the sickness was the same.
  • Ezel: The first sign Azad is pregnant comes when she runs upstairs to vomit during breakfast with Ali, who rather obviously assumes she thinks he's a bad cook.
    Ali: Azad, were the eggs really that bad!?
  • Gossip Girl had an episode dedicated to Blair's morning sickness. It was nowhere to be found the previous episode and went away completely in the following.
  • House, being the jerk he is, once mocked Cuddy with "Feeling a little sick this morning?" when he was suspecting that she was pregnant.
  • How I Met Your Mother averted this by having Lily be suffering from food poisoning. Then the twist at the end was that she actually wasn't. She was pregnant.
  • Delinda threw up on Danny in Las Vegas, then used the obligatory "happens all day" remark.
  • Pam on the American version of The Office (US) uses this to deliberately induce a Vomit Chain Reaction, to get back at her colleagues for not being sufficiently understanding of her sensitive condition.
  • In Season 1 of Orange Is the New Black, Daya vomits presumably because the entire cellblock has the flu. She later realizes she is pregnant, not sick.
  • Dutch drama series Petticoat uses this one. Main character Patty is shown several times to feel nauseous and vomit, having been sleeping with her love interest for a while. It's played off as nervousness over auditioning for her singing career, but the audience and her childhood best friend know better than that.
  • In the Quantum Leap episode "8 1/2 Months", Sam experiences nausea and vomiting after leaping into a pregnant woman (although the host herself was far past the stage of pregnancy when morning sickness would be expected).
  • Played with in the Season 5 opener of Rizzoli & Isles. Jane is nauseated by the scent of the morgue because of her pregnancy. A few other things, including the smell of fish and kale, also make her sick.
  • In the 80s telenovela Rosa Salvaje, Candida is very nauseous at dinner, which prompts her vile sister Dulcina to taunt her about possibly being pregnant. Candida denies it, of course, but later finds out she is pregnant.
  • The Stargate Atlantis episode "Be All My Sins Remember'd" starts with Ronon and John discussing how Teyla probably has the flu since she's been sick and looking "green". Later in the episode, she finally tells them she's three months pregnant. Different from most examples since Teyla found out she was pregnant before any external signs happened, but this was the first in-universe evidence for the characters, even though they didn't figure it out.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine reveals that Bajorans don't get morning sickness—instead, they have sneezing fits, usually five or more sneezes in rapid succession.
  • Played with in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Sarah comes down with an illness and starts throwing up, which causes Cameron to suddenly ask, out of nowhere, if Sarah is pregnant.
    John: Why the hell would you even ask that?
    Cameron: Kacey vomited when she was pregnant. (to Sarah) You're vomiting. It's morning. That's when it happens.
  • Happens to Yokas in Third Watch. Her partner Boscoe even gets the obligatory line about it happening all day.
  • In The X-Files Scully is shown only having very little morning sickness. The one time she does run for the bathroom, it's actually in the evening.

    Video Games 
  • * The Sims:
    • In The Sims 2, when a sim is pregnant, she will run to the bathroom sometime the day after she conceives, and throw up. Afterward, she will have a thought bubble over her head with a pacifier and a question mark, wondering if she's pregnant. (The player always knows that she is—a lullaby chime plays after the couple "woohoos" to let you know.) Sims 2 actually covers this semi-realistically; Sims can have morning sickness at any time of the day, and the severity of it varies from Sim to Sim. There are Sims who were only sick once, Sims who were sick several times in a row (resulting in a strange green gas coming from the toilet), Sims whose sickness waxed and waned, and Sims who simply felt nauseated.
    • The Sims 3 is similar, the mother-to-be will randomly get a "nauseous" moodlet (caused by "Unknown Circumstances"), and then usually throw up when the moodlet expires.
  • In The Walking Dead, Christa experienced nausea when Lee dug up the dead dog, and she ended up vomiting. Lee also mentions she's been throwing up a lot. The fans of the game were unsure if she was pregnant of not, until "All that Remains" came out, when it showed her heavily pregnant arguing with Omid about baby names. There is 16 month time skip after Omid's death,and it shows a no longer pregnant Christa with Clementine, but no baby. It can be assumed the baby did not survive birth, as Christa would likely be dead if she had miscarried.
  • This appears in almost all Harvest Moon games. Either the female protagonist or the wife of the male protagonist will get an event where they faint or mention feeling ill. After visiting the doctor, they learn that they're pregnant.

  • In Breaking Cat News, Georgia experiences morning sickness while pregnant with her son, but since the cats are unfamiliar with human pregnancy, they assume she has a hairball.
  • In Candi, a storyline, starting here and continuing for the next four strips, lampshades this trope and reveals that Candi is lactose intolerant.
  • According to Ship of Count Your Sheep, Laurie learned she was pregnant with Katie by throwing up her lunch.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Fenton starts realizing that Lindesfarne's experiencing this instead of a wicked hangover when he remembers that she had been the designated driver.
  • A Modest Destiny here (and the previous page).
  • Spoofed in this strip of Questionable Content.
  • Shortpacked!:
    • With Amber's pregnancy, Willis managed to avoid having the readers catch on right away by giving a plausible explanation (nasty old pizza boxes) for the first bout of nausea.
    • With Robin's pregnancy, due to her Super Speed, she experiences pretty much an entire pregnancy's worth of morning sickness in one day. There was enough vomit to cause a tidal wave.
  • In Sore Thumbs, Harmony showed signs of pregnancy in this.
  • In S.S.D.D an arc where Anne thought she might be pregnant started with her throwing up, after asking Richard if they were ever going to get married.
  • In the Arthur, King of Time and Space contemporary arc, Guenevere responds to Arthur's proposal by throwing up.
    Arthur: Is that a no?
    Guenevere: That's a "Yes, and before I start showing might be best".

    Web Original 
  • In chapters 20 and 21 of We're Alive, Lizzy has a tendency to start throwing up during stressful situations. She's revealed as pregnant in chapter 30.

    Western Animation 
  • Lana gets seasick (while in a submersible) in the season 4 finale of Archer. Sure enough, she's pregnant.
  • In one episode of Family Guy, used to depict how typically clueless and self-centered Peter is, he flashes back to "all the difficulties" he had when Lois was pregnant. Cue him slumped on the bed, watching TV, while Lois loudly throws up and cries in the adjoining bathroom. He looks irritated, and turns the TV up.
  • Episode six of Moonbeam City reveals that Dazzle and Pizzaz had became pregnant during a weekend tryst, but that Pizzaz later lost the baby. Never told about the pregnancy, Dazzle is slapped incredibly hard by a heartbroken Pizzaz ("That's ENOUGH!!") when he unwittingly mentions her symptoms to everyone, musing "Maybe she was sick..."
  • A Funny Background Event in the Moral Orel episode "God's Chef" has all the neighborhood women experiencing morning sickness to show that Orel's mistaken belief that he's supposed to be God's chef caused him to impregnate the neighborhood women.
  • This happened in Rugrats when it's revealed Didi is pregnant with Dil. They initially thought it was seasickness because they were on a cruise, and didn't find out until they visited the ship's doctor.
  • The Simpsons: Marge's pregnancy tests in different episode flashbacks.
    Homer: Back then, there was no way to tell if a woman was pregnant.
    [Gilligan Cut to Homer calmly walking to his bathroom, only to be forcefully pushed aside by Marge as she runs past; muffled vomiting sounds ensue]

    Real Life 
  • Not only can morning sickness occur at any time of the day, it can also happen if a woman is not pregnant. Some women even have the misfortune to experience this if a heavy period is screwing with their blood pressure.
  • Morning sickness can actually be serious enough to pose a medical threat to the mother-to-be, as Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, found out the hard way. During her first pregnancy, she wound up in the hospital for three days. And it was even more serious with her second and third pregnancies, as evidenced by the fact that it even happened in the first place — hyperemesis gravidarum is typically a disorder of first pregnancies. With her second pregnancy, it lasted even longer than when she had it previously, and in both instances, it made her ill enough to cancel her public appearances.
  • Gal Gadot was pregnant towards the tail end of production on Justice League and developed a similar condition to Kate Middleton’s. She and one of the girls on her hair and make up team devised a system involving a bucket for when she needed it.


Example of: