Guess What, Pregnant Women? All That Puking May Actually be a Good Thing

Guess What, Pregnant Women? All That Puking May Actually be a Good Thing
Photograph by Highwaystarz-Photography via iStock.

No pregnant woman will ever enjoy puking her guts up every morning, but a new study may offer some relief: It found that morning sickness might actually be a sign of a healthier pregnancy. Researchers at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) recently shared that women who experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are less likely to have a miscarriage.

For the study, using data from a study on the effects of aspirin on reproduction, the NICHD researchers looked at 797 pregnant women who tracked how often they felt nauseous or vomited during their second through eighth week of pregnancy. While 188 of the women miscarried, the researches found that the women who felt nauseous or vomited were 50 to 75 percent less likely to miscarry.

The release about the study says that researchers haven’t discovered yet exactly what causes morning sickness, but it references a study from 2000 that suggests it helps the body to expel any chemicals that might be dangerous to the mother or the embryo. According to that study’s hypothesis, morning sickness vomiting is kind of like a self-cleanse to get out any caffeine, alcohol, or toxins that have been ingested and could hurt the fetus. Which would help make sense of the fact that those who frequently vomit during the first few months of pregnancy are less likely to miscarry, as their bodies are playing defense for them.

This study probably won’t make vomiting every morning any more pleasant, but at least it may be a bit of good news to those stricken with morning sickness.

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Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.