Turns out morning sickness might not be such a terrible thing.
A study released on Monday by the National Institute of Health revealed that nausea and vomiting, symptomatic for most women in their first trimester of pregnancy, actually might help protect fetuses.
Morning sickness typically occurs within the first few months of a woman’s pregnancy (timing varies depending on the woman, however) and can result in nausea and vomiting, typically within the morning hours of the day.
Prior to the study, one proposed benefit of morning sickness was that it was the body’s way of rejecting toxic or potentially dangerous organisms in food or drink in order to protect the fetus.
“It’s a common thought that nausea indicates a healthy pregnancy, but there wasn’t a lot of high-quality evidence to support this belief,” stated Stefanie N. Hinkle, Ph.D., the first author of the study and a staff scientist in NICHD’s Epidemiology Branch.
“Our study evaluates symptoms from the earliest weeks of pregnancy, immediately after conception, and confirms that there is a protective association between nausea and vomiting and a lower risk of pregnancy loss.”
Dr. Hinkle and her colleagues conducted a trial in which they prescribed women who had experienced one or more pregnancy losses (the study does not confirm if the women were high-risk) daily low doses of Aspirin. The Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction (EAGeR) trial was first conducted to test whether or not low daily doses of Aspirin could help prevent women from experiencing a pregnancy loss in the future. A low dosage of aspirin is said to help women who are at high risk for Preeclampsia.
During the trial, Dr. Hinkle asked 800 women to keep daily diaries noting whether or not they experienced vomiting or nausea in the second week through the eighth week of their pregnancies. The women also completed monthly questionnaires until the 36th week of pregnancy.
Post-trial, 797 women reported positive pregnancy results while 188 reported pregnancies that did not go full-term. Meanwhile, 57.3 percent of women reported experiencing nausea by the eight-week, while 26. 6 percent of women wrote they experienced both nausea and vomiting. Compared to those who had not reported any symptoms, researchers concluded that the women who did experience symptoms were 50 to 75 percent less likely to lose a pregnancy.
“The benefit of this study is that now we can actually tell patients that there’s evidence for this, that they’re not feeling miserable for no good reason,” Dr. Leena Nathan, an OB/GYN in Westlake Village, California, told CBS News.
“It actually demonstrates the pregnancy is progressing,” Dr. Nathan continued. “It’s a really important step forward, just so we can understand more about pregnancy – especially early pregnancy, which is when people are most anxious.”