New research has found not treating severe morning sickness could make maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet difficult for pregnant women, lead to a lower quality of life, and give birth to an underweight child.
In the case of severe morning sickness, pregnant women may not be able to eat, leading to nutritional imbalance and thereby significantly influencing the health of the fetus, it said.
|Professor Han Jung-yeol|
“Morning sickness signals a healthy pregnancy, but severe symptoms could lead to irregular nutrition. Morning sickness could also interfere with the intake of folate medications and thereby increase congenital disabilities as well as the chance of giving birth to underweight babies,” said a professor who led the study.
Professor Han Jung-yeol from Cheil General Hospital and his team aimed to evaluate the quality of life in 472 pregnant women before and after they experienced moderate to severe morning sickness over a six-month period. There have been relatively few studies on morning sickness despite eight out of 10 expectant mothers experience symptoms, according to a hospital spokesperson.
The study showed around 7 percent of studied subjects had severe morning sickness while 63 percent had moderate morning sickness that needed medical intervention. The severity was measured on the Pregnancy Unique-Quantification of Emesis scale, which measures the length of nausea, and the frequency of vomiting and dry heaving.
As for the quality of life, pregnant women who had severe morning sickness said their quality of life fell by 70 percent. Those who experienced moderate symptoms also said the quality of their life dropped by 50 percent.
Morning sickness often starts at six weeks into pregnancy, peaks at nine weeks and goes away by the 14th week in 90 percent of pregnant women. Around 10 percent of expectant mothers continue experiencing symptoms after the 14th week.
To manage morning sickness, pregnant women should eat small amounts throughout the day, and avoid spicy and fatty foods that could cause vomiting. If symptoms worsen, the hospital recommended medication such as pyridoxine and doxycycline as well as inpatient treatment with IV fluid or other therapies.
“Since a fetal imbalance can negatively affect neurological and psychiatric development as well as adolescents' diabetes, active management and treatment of severe morning sickness are necessary,” Han said.
The study was published in the January in the English edition of the Korean Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s Obstetrics & Gynecology Science.