A myth about the benefit of morning sickness during pregnancy could prove true for some women, as new research out today shows that nausea and vomiting in the early stages of pregnancy are associated with a significantly reduced risk of miscarriage.
The research, from the United States’ National Institutes of Health, found that pregnant women who suffered nausea and nausea with vomiting were 50-to-75 per cent less likely to lose a pregnancy.
The study comes as a relief to all women who endure the pain and discomfort of morning sickness for the sake of their baby: an estimated 80 per cent of all pregnant women, according to researchers.
“Our study confirms prior research that nausea and vomiting appear to be more than a sign of still being pregnant and instead may be associated with a lower risk for pregnancy loss."
The news also validates many an urban myth about the benefits of morning sickness, providing solid evidence that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy has an upside.
“Our study confirms prior research that nausea and vomiting appear to be more than a sign of still being pregnant and instead may be associated with a lower risk for pregnancy loss,” the study reads.
“These findings indicate a protective association of maternal nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy with the risk for pregnancy loss and may provide reassurance to women experiencing these difficult symptoms in pregnancy.”
The study, published in theJAMA Internal Medicine journal, examined the relationship between nausea and vomiting and pregnancy loss by tracking the health and wellbeing of almost 800 pregnant women using diaries and questionnaires.
Researchers analysed daily data on the women from the second week of gestation through to week eight, and analysed their symptoms each month thereafter.
At week two of gestation, nearly 18 per cent of women reported nausea without vomiting and almost three per cent of women reported nausea with vomiting.
These proportions grew to over 57 per cent and around 27 per cent of women by gestational week eight, the study reports.
“Among women with one or two prior pregnancy losses, nausea and nausea with vomiting during pregnancy were associated with a 50 per cent to 75 per cent reduction in the risk for pregnancy loss,” the researchers conclude in the report.
“Nausea and vomiting symptoms were common very early in pregnancy.”
Pregnancy myth proven
Numerous urban myths have claimed that a mother’s morning sickness might improve an unborn baby’s chance at life and boost their health.
“Many theories have been proposed regarding the potential mechanism for an association between nausea and vomiting and pregnancy loss,” the study reads.
“First, symptoms may be part of an evolutionary advantage to change one’s dietary intake, increase consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods, or avert intake of potentially teratogenic substances [toxins that cause birth defects].
“Another possibility is that nausea and vomiting are markers for viable placental tissue. Thus, less nausea and vomiting may identify failing pregnancies, with lower hormone levels leading to nausea and vomiting.”
However the authors state that prior to this study, there was little evidence available to validate these claims.
On other hand, they say, this study is reliable despite a few limitations.