Study: Morn­ing sick­ness up­side is fewer mis­car­riages

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Lind­sey Tan­ner

CHICAGO — It’s dreaded by moms-to-be, but morn­ing sick­ness is ac­tu­ally a good sign — for the baby, a gov­ern­ment study shows, con­firm­ing com­mon preg­nancy lore and less rig­or­ous re­search.

Women with nau­sea early in preg­nancy were half as likely to have mis­car­riages and still­births as those who sailed through the first few months. Mis- car­riages were also less com­mon in women who had nau­sea plus vom­it­ing, although the ben­e­fit was stronger for those who just had nau­sea.

Led by re­searchers at the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Child Health and Hu­man De­vel­op­ment, the study in­volved al­most 800 women who’d had at least one mis­car­riage and then be­came preg­nant again. They were asked to record symp­toms in daily di­aries for the first eight weeks of preg­nancy and in monthly ques­tion­naires through the end of the first trimester.

Ste­fanie Hin­kle, the lead au­thor and a re­searcher at the na­tional in­sti­tute, called it the most rig­or­ous study to date on the topic but also noted that it’s un­clear if the re­sults would ap­ply to first-time preg­nan­cies. Re­sults were pub­lished Mon­day in JAMA In­ter­nal Medicine. There were 188 mis­car­riages and still- births, af­fect­ing al­most 1 in 4 preg­nan­cies, which is sim­i­lar to na­tional es­ti­mates. More than 90 per­cent oc­curred in the first trimester.

Of the nearly 800 women in the study, 443 com­pleted daily di­aries, and just over half of them re­ported nau­sea by the eighth week of preg­nancy, also sim­i­lar to na­tional es­ti­mates. About 1 in 4 had nau­sea and vom­it­ing. The re­searchers then used sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­ses to cal­cu­late that nau­sea alone, or nau­sea with vom­it­ing, was linked with a 50 per­cent to 75 per­cent re­duc­tion in the risk of preg­nancy loss.

Causes of morn­ing sick­ness are un­cer­tain, but it has been linked with high hor­mone lev­els that oc­cur early in preg­nancy.

How it might re­duce chances for mis­car­riages is also un­cer­tain.

The­o­ries in­clude the idea that nau­sea could make women avoid po­ten­tially harm­ful sub­stances that can in­crease risks for mis­car­riages.

Hin­kle said the re­sults should be re­as­sur­ing to women con­cerned morn­ing sick­ness could be harm­ful. But she said un­af­fected women shouldn’t be alarmed.

“Ev­ery preg­nancy is dif­fer­ent, and just be­cause they don’t have symp­toms doesn’t mean they’re go­ing to have a preg­nancy loss,” Hin­kle said.

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