Ask most pregnant women how they're feeling in their first trimester, and besides elated to be expecting, they may tell you that they're sick as a dog. Up to 85 percent of pregnant women experience morning sickness, likely as a result of rapidly rising levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is released by the placenta. Still, as common a symptom of early pregnancy as morning sickness may be, no one's jumping with joy that they're having to contend with it. But apparently, the sicker you are, the more ecstatic you ought to be. No, really!
New research has found surprising upsides to morning sickness: Pregnant women who suffer from the symptom are less likely to miscarry or have a premature birth. Their babies have fewer birth defects and -- get this -- even score higher on IQ tests. Who knew?!
The findings, published in this month's issue of the journal Reproductive Toxicology, are based on a systematic review of 10 different studies involving hundreds of thousands of pregnancies. (It's worth noting the review didn't look at severe morning sickness, otherwise known as hyperemesis gravidarum -- just "normal" morning sickness.) Turns out, those higher levels of hCG mean a better outcome for the fetus and decrease some of the risks during pregnancy, according to the lead study author Dr. Gideon Koren, a pediatrician at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the founder of its Motherisk Program. Interesting, right?
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As for the brainy benefits: One small study Koren used for the review, which involved 45 children whose mothers suffered from morning sickness, found the kids scored higher on IQ tests than those whose mothers had a nausea-free pregnancy. Nice!
That said, moms can rest assured that annoying queasiness and all the other unsavory symptoms that come with morning sickness aren't all for naught! In fact, it's for the greater good, and they likely signal that you're perfectly well -- and your little one will be even better off too boot. Not to mention that it's pretty intensive but helpful training for when we're exhausted for our kiddos in the years to come!
Does this make you feel better about morning sickness?
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