Pregnant women hear everything right from ‘The way your tummy looks, it’s definitely going to be princess,’ ‘Your baby is going to pop out with lots of hair, don’t worry! Your heartburn is an indication,’ ‘Baby’s heartbeat under 140? It is a boy, my dear,’ to ‘If you have vomiting or nausea, the chances of a miscarriage are unlikely.’ While others face outright rejection as myths, the last one may be scientifically true (even this was ridiculed to be false until now) which comes as a warm welcome to all the superstitious and myth-believing candidates out there!
Are You Pregnant with Morning Sickness?
Pregnancy brings about enormous changes physically and mentally. The first few months (first trimester) might make the pregnant lady feel miserable with nausea, vomiting and other food choices taking a toll on the pregnant woman’s health. More than three-quarters of women complain of nausea with/without vomiting in early pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting that occur during pregnancy is called as ‘morning sickness’ and is named so as most of the symptoms begin in the morning and decrease/resolve as the day progresses. In general, both these symptoms diminish mostly after the first trimester but rarely, some women experience it even until their due date (extremely rare).
Morning sickness affects quality of life of pregnant women as it affects their daily activities and diminishes well-being. Despite being present unanimously in most pregnant women researchers are still inconclusive on the causes. They put forth their theory that this is one way of protecting the developing fetus against toxins and disease-causing organisms in foods. It might also occur due to the increased hormone levels in the body.
To bring some integrity and justice to the long-believed myth regarding morning sickness, a group of NIH researchers have gathered some of the most convincing evidence to date that nausea and vomiting, common symptoms of morning sickness, may indicate something critical and important-a reduced risk of miscarriage.
Reduced Risk of Miscarriage
Women experiencing morning sickness in their subsequent pregnancy after a series of miscarriages in earlier pregnancies were 50-75% less likely to miscarry than those without any signs of nausea or vomiting. The exact cause and the underlying reasons are not clear, but the facts do support the belief that morning sickness might be the result of biological factors that increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
The study followed-up on 1,228 women who suffered from one or two previous miscarriages and tracked them for up to 6 menstrual cycles as they tried to conceive. The average age of these women was between 18 and 40 years. Of the 1,228 women a total of 797 women became pregnant and these women were requested to maintain a daily diary of their pregnancy which contained details of whether or not these women suffered from nausea and vomiting. Between the 12th and 36th week, the remaining number of pregnant women (almost a quarter of them miscarried by the end of the first trimester) were given monthly questionnaires to describe their symptoms.
Based on the data in hand, researchers found that 20% of women started feeling nauseous only after two weeks of pregnancy and the numbers climbed to around 84% by week 8. Of these, almost 27% women suffered greatly from vomiting episodes. The risk of miscarriage reduced by 50% when women experienced nausea alone and reduced by 75% when nausea was coupled with vomiting. Although researchers are still not clear about the reason behind morning sickness and reduced pregnancy risk, they feel that nausea and vomiting might be signs of increased pregnancy hormones or the presence of a healthy placenta to nourish the developing fetus.
One needs to remember that nausea and vomiting might be good signs of pregnancy, but they are not confirmed tickets for a healthy pregnancy. Also, there is no need to panic in the absence of these two symptoms and rush up to the conclusion that your pregnancy is at risk. For any concerns or queries regarding your pregnancy, its always recommended to consult your doctor. Ensure a healthy pregnancy, stick to your healthy weight gain limits and eat nutritious foods before, during and after pregnancy to deliver a healthy baby. Get in touch with a nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com to help you select the most-healthy foods that should be consumed during pregnancy.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.