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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.

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 While unpleasant and generally untreatable, there is good news- morning sickness is usually a positive indication that an early pregnancy is progressing just fine. 

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