Study: Severe Morning Sickness May Mean More Complications

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According to a study of more than 1 million pregnant women, expecting mothers who experience severe morning sickness are statistically more likely to develop other serious complications over the course of the pregnancy. This research has big implications for expecting mothers in Columbus and around the nation.

Morning sickness affects most women during the few months of pregnancy. When morning sickness amounts to severe illness, it is often hyperemesis gravidarum – the condition that hospitalized Duchess Kate (formerly Middleton) for several weeks. Morning sickness severe enough to require a hospital stay generally only affects 1 percent of women – but those women are more likely to develop preeclampsia later. 

The study found that 8 of every 1,000 women with severe morning sickness later developed preeclampsia. This is slightly higher than the overall rate for preeclampsia – 6 of every 1,000. While this might not seem like a significant increase, preeclampsia is a potentially serious problem that can develop in a fatal condition.

Severe morning sickness was also associated with birth complications involving the placenta and smaller birth sizes.

All of these findings point to one important conclusion: doctors should regard severe morning sickness as a big warning sign of possible complications farther down the road. Doctors need to respond appropriately and keep a close eye on patients who may develop conditions like preeclampsia.

Source: WebMD, “Severe morning sickness linked to complications during pregnancy,” BMJ Group, Jan. 30, 2013


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