MAY 04, 2016 2:11 PM PDT

The Healthy Upside to Morning Sickness

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Researchers estimate that as much as 75 percent of all pregnant women experience morning sickness. In fact, for some women, morning sickness may be the indicator that they're pregnant.

Despite being called ‘morning sickness,' this pregnancy discomfort can happen at any time during the day, though many pregnant women report symptoms in the morning. Some mothers-to-be report nausea or vomiting brought on by specific foods or smells, especially during their first trimester. But researchers say this condition may actually protect the mother and baby.

The baby is very small during the first trimester. Even at the tail end of this gestation period, around week 14, the baby is only the size of a lemon. To protect the delicate fetus, the mother's body is especially sensitive to stimuli that may be harmful. This means that even trace amounts of certain foods or smells can trigger a reaction to prevent the fetus from exposure to toxins. As the baby develops, the sensitivity is lowered, which is why most morning sickness symptoms go away at the end of the first trimester.

Researchers say a modest amount of morning sickness is actually a good sign that mother and baby are doing well. And in fact, they found that pregnant women who don't experience morning sickness at all have a higher risk of miscarriage.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 09, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 09, 2019
Can Scientists Revive the Northern White Rhino Population?
The Northern white rhino is already on the brink of extinction with just two living females in the world today. Sudan, the last surviving male of the speci...
DEC 17, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 17, 2019
What to Expect From Boeing's Starliner Spacecraft
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program sports two major contenders for sending astronauts to the International Space Station from American soil for the first...
DEC 22, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 22, 2019
How Astronomers Measure Distances to Stars
Extra stellar systems are so far away from our own that we couldn’t even hope of developing a tape measure long enough to determine how far away they...
DEC 31, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 31, 2019
There's More to a Cat's Whiskers Than You Think
Cats may be enjoyable pets, but their true roots go back to incredibly predacious creatures with bodies that have been evolutionarily adapted for hunting p...
JAN 23, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 23, 2020
Meet SF6, Our Frenemy in Fighting Climate Change
Sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, is a non-flammable, non-toxic, synthetic gas. First discovered back in 1901, this odorless and colorless gas is commonly used...
FEB 16, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 16, 2020
These Jellyfish Deliver Stings Without Touching You
Most people are accustomed to thinking that if you avoid a jellyfish’s tentacles while swimming in the ocean, then you won’t be stung. For the...
Loading Comments...