The morning sickness fairy comes for most pregnant ladies. Some are struck hard, while others only suffer through a few bad days. As I repeatedly told my partner my first trimester, I’d rather eat a live cricket than feel nauseated all day. If you’re looking on the bright side though, you might ask, does morning sickness mean my pregnancy is healthy?
According to a 2016 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, morning sickness is associated with reduced pregnancy loss. Just how strong is that association, though?
Emily Oster broke it down in her book Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong — And What You Really Need To Know. Reviewing previous studies, Oster found that the link between morning sickness and a healthy pregnancy is actually quite significant, and noted a study in Human Reproduction that found women who didn’t experience morning sickness during the first trimester had a 30 percent risk of miscarriage, while women who did experience morning sickness had only an eight percent risk. That’s a big difference, and a big deal. (Keep in mind here that everyone’s different, and no study can tell you how your pregnancy will proceed. In other words, if you’re not feeling sick, don’t panic.)
If you are feeling a lovely shade of pregnancy green, however, you’re not alone. Almost 90 percent of pregnant women experience some nausea according to Oster, but it tends to fade as the first trimester ends. Oster also reported that morning sickness has nothing at all to do with mornings and cited a study published in Gastroenterology Clinics of North America that concluded 80 percent of women reported feeling sick all day.
Yep. All day. Because morning sickness is the honey badger of pregnancy.
Interestingly, morning sickness remains a bit of a medical mystery. Scientists have floated many probable theories, but no one knows for certain what causes it. According to Mayo Clinic, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a likely culprit, but your body is basically a steaming cauldron of hormones in that first trimester, so you’re bound to feel a little queasy. Whatever the cause, first trimester nausea is a powerful signal that you’re now sharing your body with a tiny growing creature. Like many aspects of pregnancy, morning sickness may be miserable. If your symptoms are severe, or you’re vomiting multiple times a day, call your doctor. Otherwise, hang on and try to enjoy the ride. There are a lot of aches and pains involved in making a person, but the science is definitely in: morning sickness is a reassuring sign that your pregnancy is on the right track.