It may not be the prettiest part of pregnancy, but all that rushing to the closest trash can to throw up, thanks to the good ol' morning sickness, is actually good for your baby. Yes! Nausea and vomiting means fewer miscarriages and birth defects, along with smarter kids.
Of course, nobody likes the feeling of a queasy stomach—whether it’s after a loop-de-loop amusement park ride, during flu season or following a night of a little too much of your favorite libation.
But for pregnant women who experience morning sickness (a misnomer, because pregnancy-related nausea can occur during any time of the day), it’s especially tough.
That’s because not only do you feel bad quite literally, but you also feel bad emotionally—because you worry whether your developing baby is getting enough nutrients.
Q: I just found out I’m pregnant, and virtually everything I smell makes me sick to my stomach. Is it all in my head?
I was one of those people who watched Princess Kate marry Prince William live (at 2 a.m. West Coast time) because I’m enamored with the fantasy of the royals. And, I was thrilled to hear this week that Kate is pregnant—but even the palace isn’t immune to the trappings of early pregnancy.
Poor Kate. Not only did she spend four days in the hospital for hyperemesis gravidarum, but she had to reveal her pregnancy to the world—quite possibly before she wanted to.
When it comes to pregnancy counsel, female family members, pregnant friends and even experienced moms don’t always know best. Yet many expectant women are more apt to listen to those sources than they are to follow medical advice, a 2010 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found.
Aversions (and Cravings)
Being repelled by certain tastes and smells is common. “Your digestion is slowing down, so some formerly appealing foods become intolerable,” explains certified nurse-midwife Lisa Kane Low, Ph.D., R.N., a faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. Ignoring an aversion may only make you feel sicker, so don’t feel you have to eat something just because you think it’s good for you.
It seems counterintuitive, but researchers keep finding reasons to give morning sickness a high-five. The nausea and vomiting of pregnancy correlate with lower risks for miscarriage and, later in life, breast cancer. And in one recent study, the offspring of moms who had morning sickness scored higher on IQ tests. “Morning sickness indicates that proper hormones are being made by mom and baby, that the baby’s growing and developing,” says Laura Riley, M.D., a fetal/maternal medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “I see it as a good sign.”
Tanya is 12-weeks pregnant with her third child. She can’t keep a single thing down before two o’clock in the afternoon. It was the same with her first two pregnancies and while the nausea and vomiting are no better this time, her attitude is greatly improved. "I was so freaked out with the first baby because I was sure something bad would happen to one of us. With the second one, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to take care of my firstborn or that he’d see me vomit. With this one? Eh, it’s nausea. I barf. I’ll get over it."
If nausea, heartburn or other annoying symptoms are plaguing your pregnancy, you might turn first to natural remedies, assuming they’re safer than prescription or even over-the-counter options. But that’s not necessarily true. Certain herbs, for example, can cause uterine contractions that could lead to preterm labor.