Anyone who has been pregnant — or knows someone who is pregnant — can attest that pregnancy is synonymous with morning sickness (formally known as hyperemesis gravidarum.) According to the National Institutes of Health, 85 percent of pregnant women suffer from morning sickness. The notorious sickness is believed to be caused by a hormone – human chorionic gonadotropin – which is released by the placenta during pregnancy.
But now researchers have found an interesting correlation with morning sickness: those who suffer from it have a lower risk of miscarrying and having a premature birth. The study — which was published in the August issue of the journal Reproductive Toxicology — reviewed hundreds of thousands of pregnancies (more than 850,000 pregnant women) from ten different studies to come to the conclusion. What’s more, those with morning sickness will have children with fewer birth defects and even higher scores on IQ tests.
“Life can be miserable when you have severe morning sickness,” said lead author Dr. Gideon Koren, a pediatrician at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the founder of its Motherisk Program, to Today. “Some of the women have such severe morning sickness that they even consider termination of a wanted pregnancy, so the ability to tell them there is light at the end of the tunnel, if scientifically correct, is a big tool for us.”
In their study, the researchers looked for correlations between the common signs of morning sickness (read: nausea and vomiting) and premature births, miscarriage rates, birth weight, congenital abnormalities (i.e. cardiac defects and cleft palate), and long-term child development. The scientists found that women without morning sickness symptoms were three times more likely to suffer from a miscarriage, and in women aged 35 and older, morning sickness has a “protective effect” on their pregnancy.