The upside of morning sickness: it may mean a healthier pregnancy

Feeling nauseous and vomiting during pregnancy may be good news for your unborn baby, say researchers in a new study

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Pregnant women who get morning sickness may end up having a healthier pregnancy and birth. So suggest Canadian researchers in a new study that seems to confirm the longstanding old wives’ tale that morning sickness indicates a ‘strong’ pregnancy.

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Obviously, that’s great news for all of us whose early pregnancy was mainly spent cradling the toilet bowl – but it’s not necessarily a reason to panic if you’re pregnant and not queasy at all.

The researchers found that, for pregnant women who experience nausea or vomiting, there’s a positive ‘protective effect’ on their rates of miscarriage, birth defects, and premature birth.

The reason for this, suggest the researchers, could be that these women may have higher levels of ‘favourable’ pregnancy hormones – and it’s that higher hormonal mix that triggers the about-to-vomit feelings.

Of course, it’s perfectly possible to have a completely healthy pregnancy and give birth to a completely healthy baby without having a microsecond of nausea.

In fact, the researchers, who analysed data from 10 separate studies of 850,000 pregnant women, say they hope people focus more on the fact that their findings can simply reassure pregnant women who are feeling worried about the effects of morning sickness on their health – and that of their unborn baby.

“Women with moderate to severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy often experience major negative impact on their health and quality of life,” writes lead researcher Gideon Koren of the University of Toronto in the journal Reproductive Toxicology. “Our analysis indicates that reassuring these women that their severe symptoms may confer favourable outcomes is logical.”

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Read more:

* When does morning sickness start?

* How long can morning sickness last?

* Kelly Clarkson: morning sickness ‘all day and all night’

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