Science Confirms What We've Always Known: Morning Sickness Is a Good Sign

Are you struggling with morning sickness? If so, take comfort in this: It can actually be a sign of a healthy pregnancy.

Morning Sickness 9-5
Photo: Danielle Guenther Photography

Any woman who has ever dealt with morning sickness will tell you: There is absolutely nothing pleasant about the round-the-clock nausea, food aversions, and frequent vomit breaks that characterize the early part of pregnancy for so many women. But if you're among those who suffer from morning, ahem, all-day sickness, we have some good news for you: A 2016 study confirms that there are some pretty amazing benefits that come along with these icky side effects.

The idea that morning sickness could indicate a healthy pregnancy is nothing new—people have speculated that pregnant women eliminate toxins from the body in order to keep their babies safe from their effects—but it's great that we've finally seen some scientific grounding to support the idea that morning sickness could actually do some good. For this particular study, researchers observed about 800 pregnant women who had suffered miscarriage in the past, making note of their morning sickness symptoms. Of the women surveyed, 188 suffered miscarriages during the trial. According to the findings (which were published in JAMA Internal Medicine), women who experienced morning sickness by the eighth week of pregnancy were 75 percent less likely to miscarry.

"It's a common thought that nausea indicates a healthy pregnancy, but there wasn't a lot of high-quality evidence to support this belief," epidemiologist Stefanie N. Hinkle, Ph.D., said, according to Science Alert. "Our study evaluates symptoms from the earliest weeks of pregnancy, immediately after conception, and confirms that there is a protective association between nausea and vomiting and a lower risk of pregnancy loss."

But does this mean women who don't experience morning sickness are in danger? No! For one thing, the women involved in the study had already suffered miscarriages before the trial, so it's possible that they don't necessarily represent the average woman. It's also important to remember that these studies measure statistics, not cause-and-effect. And of course, you have to keep in mind that, while morning sickness can be a good sign during pregnancy, this issue isn't black and white, and lack of nausea is definitely not a sign that anything is going wrong in your pregnancy.

"Not all pregnancies are the same, and every individual is different," Hinkle told The Atlantic. "So just because they do not have symptoms, does not mean that they will go on to have a loss."

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