Pregnancy & Birth

Morning sickness study: what your nausea does for your baby

New research suggests morning sickness could make your baby smarter

Morning sickness research

Kelly Clarkson, Mila Kunis and the Duchess of Cambridge all battled nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness, surely one of the grimmer aspects of pregnancy. But a new Canadian study suggests that the upside could be that the babies of morning sickness sufferers could be healthier and smarter.

When reviewing 10 earlier studies of 850,000 women researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto found that mothers who went through morning sickness produced bigger, healthier babies and had a reduced miscarriage risk. Women over 35, who have a higher miscarriage risk, were found to have a lower risk if they experienced morning sickness. The condition was also linked to improved infant development and a drop in birth defects.

The researchers found women who didn’t experience morning sickness were at least three times more likely to miscarry in the first 12 weeks than women who did. Some 6.4 per cent of mothers who had morning sickness had premature births, compared with 9.5 per cent for mothers with no nausea or vomiting. The risk of birth defects was also reduced by up to 80 per cent. The children also scored higher on IQ tests when aged between three and seven years.

Lead author Gideon Koren told the journal Reproductive Toxicology, “Women with moderate to severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy often experience major negative impact on their health and quality of life. Our analysis indicates that reassuring these women that their severe symptoms may confer favourable fetal outcome in their unborn babies, is logical.”

Midwife and M&B expert Megan Baker adds: "Remember to keep the claims in perspective; plenty of women have trouble-free pregnancies and produce intelligent kids!"

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