Severe morning sickness 'may be marker of preterm births'
Morning sickness might be an indicator of more serious later-pregnancy complications, including preterm delivery, in some women, researchers say.
In the study, women who reported nausea and vomiting in pregnancy that interfered with their ability to live normally were 23 percent more likely to deliver their baby before 34 weeks, and 31 percent more likely to have high blood pressure or preeclampsia, compared with women who said their morning sickness did not substantially affected their lives.
Women with life-affecting morning sickness were also about twice as likely to have low weight gain during pregnancy.
The findings underscore the importance of recognizing morning sickness and managing it, said study researcher Dr. Gary Stanziano, of Alere Health, a company that produces health care products and offers a program to treat morning sickness.
"This should not be a condition that's taken lightly," Fox News quoted Stanziano as saying.
About 50 to 60 percent of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness during pregnancy, Stanziano said. About 1 percent have a severe, persistent form known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which can lead to malnutrition.
While the immediate effects on mothers are easy to observe, few studies have investigated the impact of nausea and vomiting on the later stages of pregnancy, and delivery.
Stanziano and colleagues analyzed information from 81,486 women enrolled in an Alere maternity education program who delivered between 2004 and 2011.
After delivery, the women were asked whether they had experienced nausea and vomiting during their pregnancy that affected their ability to do their job or their daily activities.
About 5,200 women, or 6.4 percent of those surveyed, reported nausea and vomiting that affected their quality of life. About 1,800 women of these said they did not require any interventions, while about 3,300 required hydration or pharmacological treatments.
Of those who said the nausea and vomiting affected their quality of life, 23 percent had low weight gain for their pregnancy, compared with 13.7 percent of women who did not have such sickness.
In addition, about 10 percent of those who got sick had infants who were small for their gestational age when they were born, compared with 8.4 percent of those who didn't have nausea and vomiting.
Researchers aren't sure why women with severe morning sickness saw these effects but poor nutrition and too little weight gain in pregnancy may contribute to the risk, Stanziano said.
The findings of the study were presented last week at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting in Dallas.