Your Hellish Morning Sickness Is Actually a Really Good Sign, Says Science

woman with morning sickness

Pregnant and puking? Well, if it makes you feel better, new research says morning sickness actually bodes well for your baby.


According to a study just published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, moms-to-be who feel super sick to their stomach are significantly LESS likely to experience a pregnancy loss.

Since it's hard to read while heaving, we'll break the research down for you.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health tracked the symptoms of 797 women from the start of their pregnancy. Among those women, 24 percent -- 188 pregnancies -- ended in loss. But the women who experienced nausea were 50 percent less likely to lose their baby. And if vomiting was a symptom they experienced, that number rose to 75 percent.

Those findings don't surprise Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and women's health expert at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.

"Nausea is considered a classic symptom of pregnancy, and although it's considered 'morning sickness,' it can occur during the morning, noon or night, and affects about 80% of all pregnant women," she explains.

Women with even mild stomach upset and vomiting experience fewer miscarriages and stillbirths than women with zero symptoms, Dr. Ross adds, "So for me, when a woman is really nauseous and has occasional vomiting,  I know she is probably carrying a healthy pregnancy."

So the obvious next question is: Why?

"The actual causes remain a mystery," admits Dr. Ross, "but theories includes hormonal levels, imbalance of blood sugar levels, and psychological factors."

Another thought is that morning sickness protects the fetus. If you eat something that your body senses could be even remotely toxic to your growing baby -- ie, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and even some chemicals in strong-tasting veggies -- it's sending that sucker straight back out.

Weirdly, some women may also be predisposed to spending a majority of their first trimester kneeling over the toilet. "Women who've had morning sickness are more likely to have it in subsequent pregnancies," says Sarah Yamaguchi, MD, OB/GYN at Good Samaritan Hopsital in Los Angeles. "It also seems like women who get more motion sickness are more likely to have it."

Bing pregnant with twins or other multiples ups your chances of feeling crappy. And if your mom spins tales about how miserable she was in HER pregnancy? Prepare yourself. "That makes it more likely for you to have it, too," Dr. Yamaguchi adds.

More from CafeMom: 5 Morning Sickness Cures That Will Have You Feeling Like Your Old Self

Now that you're up to date on the latest morning sickness science, it's time for a primer on how to deal with it.

Eat small, frequent meals. "Keep some crackers at your bedside and eat one before getting out of bed in the morning," suggests Dr. Yamaguchi.

Try a natural cure. Anti-nausea wrist bands may help, as can acupuncture, Dr. Yamaguchi advises. "You can also try ginger supplements or candy."

Take it easy.  "I tell my patients that they may need to take time off from work," says Dr. Yamaguchi. Don't stress if you can't keep down your prenatal vitamins or usual kale spinach smoothie right now. "It will end eventually," Dr. Yamaguchi reassures. "Morning sickness tends to peak around 9 weeks and drastically improve by 12 weeks."

Don't tough it out alone. If you feel utterly miserable, call your doctor. Signs for concern, says Dr. Yamaguchi, are if you're unable to tolerate liquids, aren't able to pee, or are losing weight. Also if you're vomiting up blood.

Otherwise, relax! Sure, you feel like s**t now, but when your new baby arrives, all that time in the bathroom will be worth it.


Image via LarsZ/Shutterstock

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