Did you know extreme morning sickness is associated with developmental problems in children? According to a recent UCLA study, women suffering from severe nausea, queasiness, vomiting and the like are three times more likely to give birth to children with attention disorders, speech delays and similar development problems. This is especially true for women who experience these symptoms very early in their pregnancy.

Study author Marlena Fejzo of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine added that their findings emphasize the need for pregnant women experiencing these extreme symptoms to get nutritional support without delay.

“An encouraging finding is that we did not find any association with medications to treat this disorder and neurodevelopmental delays, so I speculate that the neurodevelopmental outcomes are more likely caused by nutrient deficiency early in pregnancy rather than medication,” she said.

Medically known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), extreme morning sickness marked Duchess Kate Middleton’s two pregnancies. While the causes are unknown, symptoms can become so violent, at its most severe, that women suffer blown eardrums, cracked ribs, detached retinas and torn esophagi, Ms. Fejzo reported. Symptoms can last for months or during the entire period of pregnancy.

For this study, Ms. Fejzo and her colleagues looked at around 300 children born to 200 moms suffering from extreme morning sickness from 2007 to 2011. Thereafter, they compared the data to that of about 160 children born to 89 HG-free mothers. The result revealed that the prevalent developmental disorders among children born to HG mothers included learning and speech problems as well as attention and sensory disorders.

“There is an urgent need to address whether aggressive treatment that includes vitamin and nutrient supplementation in women with early symptoms of severe nausea and vomiting decreases that risk of neurodevelopmental delay,” Ms. Fejzo commented.


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