Morning sickness is probably one of the worst things about pregnancy. There’s always the worry that your baby might not be getting the nutrients it needs. After all, if you can’t keep food down, how can the benefits of that food get to the baby? Actually, it looks like there’s no need to worry. Research has shown that women who suffer morning sickness during pregnancy may be more likely to have a child with a high IQ. This knowledge could potentially make it slightly more bearable when you’re leaning over the toilet bowl.
Morning sickness is one of the most common symptoms associated with pregnancy. Despite the name, it can happen at any time, day or night. It’s usually actually one of the first signs of pregnancy and lets up around 14-16 weeks. That being said, some women can manage to dodge having any sickness at all. As horrible as it can be, morning sickness is really a good sign for pregnancy. It means that hormone levels are high enough to sustain the pregnancy.
Morning Sickness – The Science
Studies have demonstrated a link between pregnancy sickness and a lower rate of miscarriages and other pregnancy complications. This time, researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, looked at the effects of pregnancy sickness to see if anything happened with the brain of the babies. They were specifically looking at long-term neurodevelopment (the development of things like intelligence, behavior, memory, and attention). They studied the children of 92 Canadian mothers who had either had nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, and 29 who had not. (2) (3) (4)
Morning Sickness – The Findings
Rather than falling behind the rest, the children with mothers who suffered pregnancy sickness actually came out on top. Researchers claim that pregnancy sickness has an enhancing effect on later child outcome. They measured the IQ of all of the children in the study and found that those with mothers who had suffered from morning sickness had higher IQs than those who hadn’t. They also scored higher on memory and language skill tests. That’s not to say that if you don’t have morning sickness your child will be less intelligent. All of the children in the study scored within the normal range of IQs. Not only did they find a link between pregnancy sickness and IQ, but they also suggested that there was a correlation between the severity of sickness and intelligence. (1)
Although morning sickness is usually a good sign, it isn’t always harmless. There is a severe type of pregnancy sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum, which can be dangerous to both mother and baby. This is characterized by frequent vomiting that does not get better with medication. The frequency is greater than the typical morning sickness. It can be dangerous because the unrelenting vomiting can cause both the mother and baby to lack the necessary nutrients they need to survive. It can cause muscle weakness, severe fatigue, and dehydration, all of which impair the body’s ability to function well. (6) The Duchess of Cambridge (in the UK) suffered from this during all three of her pregnancies. (7) Be sure to seek medical help if your morning sickness is of an unbearable level.
Doctors still don’t know exactly what causes morning sickness, but they think that it might have something to do with hormone levels in the body. (5) They theorize these are the same hormones that protect against complications. Unfortunately, there’s no brilliant cure for morning sickness. Hopefully knowing that it could be a sign that your child will have higher intelligence can ease the discomfort.