What's Good About Morning Sickness?
Pregnancy is an exciting time for most women, but it is often interrupted by strange
and unpleasant bodily changes. One of the most notorious is morning sickness.
While unpleasant and generally untreatable, there is good news about morning
sickness: morning sickness is usually a positive indication that an early pregnancy
is progressing just fine. Dr. Donnica discusses what morning sickness
is, how to manage it, and how to know if it's a warning sign of a more severe
condition. . . or a multiple blessing.
Recent reports about morning sickness discussed
the conclusions of two Cornell University evolutionary biologists that the reason
for morning sickness relates to survival of the fittest, not just of the unborn
child but also of the pregnant woman. After evaluating nearly 80,000 pregnancies,
and the experiences of those pregnant women with morning sickness, food cravings
and food aversions, they concluded that morning sickness (which they termed
"nausea and vomiting of pregnancy" or "NVP") actually helps to protect both
mother and fetus from exposures to infectious organisms and toxic chemicals
that could result in complications to the mother or her child.
From the perspective of women pregnant today, evolution is interesting, and
they may be aware that their reproductive efforts are an evolutionary contribution,
but they are much more concerned with the biological facts of morning sickness
than the evolutionary findings. They need information telling them what to
do about morning sickness instead of why they have it. Yet it may be very comforting
to consider that "morning sickness" is not a sickness at all: it is a normal
symptom of early pregnancy associated with healthy levels of the pregnancy hormone
HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin). Women with morning sickness can be reassured
that this is associated with a reduced risk of miscarriage and a greater chance
that the pregnancy will have a healthy outcome.
Most, but not all women get morning sickness. If you don't have it, it does not mean there is something wrong with your pregnancy. You could just be lucky.