When Morning Sickness Gets Complicated

Posted on Aug 17, 2012 | Blog Posts, Morning Sickness News Category | | Print This Article

In most cases, morning sickness is just a normal part of a healthy pregnancy. Estimates regarding the frequency of morning sickness in pregnancy range between 50% and 75%. Some doctors go so far as to say that morning sickness is actually a sign that things are progressing normally through the early stages of your pregnancy.

As long as it’s fairly mild, morning sickness isn’t anything to be concerned about (we know, when you’re the one ralphing, “mild” is a relative term). Severe morning sickness, however, can be an indicator of problems to come and should be discussed with your doctor as soon as possible.

A recent study has shown that women whose morning sickness is severe enough to interfere with their ability to live normal lives are more likely to experience a number of complications later in the pregnancy. These include:

  • Preeclampsia (high blood pressure). In the study, women who experienced severe morning sickness were 31% more likely to have high blood pressure later in the pregnancy.
  • Preterm delivery. Women who experienced severe morning sickness were 23%

more likely to have their babies before the 34th week of their pregnancy.

  • Low weight gain. Women who experienced severe morning sickness had double the chance of low weight gain.
  • Low birth weight. Women who experienced severe morning sickness had a slightly higher chance of delivering babies with low birth weight (10% as opposed to the overall average of 8.4%)

The exact reason that severe morning sickness is linked to these problems is not known. Many theorize that it may be more because of malnutrition than the morning sickness itself.

In any case, if you experience severe morning sickness, be sure to inform your doctor. You may also need to take additional steps to make sure that you are getting adequate nutrition and hydration. If you are not sure whether your morning sickness symptoms qualify as “severe” (severe is also a relative term when you’re the one experiencing the symptoms), err to the side of safety and let your doctor know.

Severe morning sickness, as it was defined for the study, affects between 6-7% of pregnant women. Hyperemesis gravidarum, an especially severe and persistent type of morning sickness, occurs in about 1% of pregnancies.




photo by: erik langner

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