Study suggests nausea in pregnancy has health benefits
Mothers who suffer morning sickness may have a healthier pregnancy with a lower chance of miscarrying, according to a study. The research also suggests babies born to moms who had nausea and vomiting during pregnancy may be more intelligent.
Experts say morning sickness may be triggered by high levels of hormones, which could indicate a healthier pregnancy.
Canadian researchers looked at 850,000 pregnant women from 10 studies in five countries and found that women not suffering from morning sickness were between three and 10 times more likely to miscarry in the first three months of pregnancy compared with women who experienced nausea and vomiting. Babies born to mothers who had morning sickness were also less likely to have birth defects, be born prematurely, or have a low birth weight. They also scored higher on IQ tests between the ages of three and seven.
The study found:
Mothers who suffered nausea had fewer premature births—6.4 percent compared to 9.5 percent for healthy mothers.
The risk of miscarriage was also more than three times higher in women who did not experience morning sickness.
Women 35 and older seemed to benefit most from what researchers called the “protective effects.”
The risk of birth defects was reduced by between 30 percent and 80 percent.
The benefits were greater with moderate to severe sickness compared with mild illness.
“The present analysis reveals a consistent, favorable effect of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy on rates of miscarriages, congenital malformations, fetal growth, prematurity and better developmental outcomes on standard psychological tests,” said lead author Gideon Koren of the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto. He also noted that “women with moderate to severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy often experience major negative impact on their health and quality of life” and suggests that doctors reassure the women that their “severe symptoms may confer favorable fetal outcome in their unborn babies.”