Morning sickness is linked to a lower risk of miscarriage, study suggests
Scientists have found a silver lining for pregnant women grappling with the worst of morning sickness: new research suggests dizziness, nausea and vomiting in the early days of pregnancy may be linked to a lower risk of miscarriage.
The medical community hasn’t been able to explain why women deal with morning sickness, but their guess is that it protects a growing baby from toxins and other disease-causing germs in food and drinks.
There’s a longstanding idea that nausea and vomiting also indicates that an expectant mom is still going through a healthy pregnancy.
American scientists out of the National Institutes of Health wanted to know if these symptoms affected pregnancy outcomes. Turns out, they do.
“Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy can be difficult for many women. Our findings should be reassuring to women experiencing these symptoms, as the risk for a pregnancy loss is greatly reduced in women with these symptoms,” Dr. Stefanie Hinkle, the study’s lead author and NIH staff scientist, told Global News.
But it doesn’t mean that expectant moms who aren’t grappling with bouts of morning sickness should be worried.
“It is important for women who do not have these symptoms to understand that not all pregnancies are the same and everyone is different. Just because they do not have symptoms, does not mean that they will go on to have a loss,” Hinkle said.
Morning sickness typically crops up in the first trimester and subsides by the fourth month of pregnancy.
Hinkle examined the health data of nearly 800 pregnant women who kept daily diaries about their health, documenting when they felt nauseous or threw up from the second to eighth week of their pregnancies. After that, they filled out monthly questionnaires about their symptoms, right up to week 36.
Hinkle says her study is the first to obtain “such detailed information” on morning sickness symptoms in these early weeks of pregnancy. In other studies, scientists relied on women’s memories looking back on their pregnancy or miscarriage.
Out of 797 women, 188 pregnancies ended in loss. By the two-month mark, 57 per cent of women felt regular bouts of nausea, while another 27 per cent reported nausea and vomiting. It was the latter group of women that was 50 to 75 per cent less likely to encounter a miscarriage compared to their peers who didn’t deal with any sickness.
The findings even applied to women who already had one or two pregnancy losses: if they were nauseous and vomiting with the subsequent try, they were less likely to have a miscarriage, too.
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Younger moms, in general, tend to experience more frequent morning sickness. Aside from that, there are no similarities between women who tend to deal with the illness.
Hinkle said her next steps are to better understand the mechanisms behind this link between nausea and a reduced risk of pregnancy loss.
Her findings were released Monday morning.
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.