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Journal of Perinatal Medicine

Official Journal of the World Association of Perinatal Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Dudenhausen, MD, FRCOG, Joachim W.

Ed. by Bancalari, Eduardo / Chappelle, Joseph / Chervenak, Frank A. / Genc, Mehmet R. / Greenough, Anne / Grunebaum, Amos / Konje, Justin C. / Kurjak M.D., Asim / Romero, Roberto

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Volume 34, Issue 2


Is the nausea and vomiting of early pregnancy really feto-protective?

M. Margaret Weigel / Monica Reyes / Maria Elena Caiza / Nora Tello / Nancy P. Castro / Sara Cespedes / Sylvia Duchicela / Miriam Betancourt
Published Online: 2006-03-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/JPM.2006.021


Background: Health care providers and popular press articles frequently advise women that nausea and vomiting of early pregnancy (NVP) portends a favorable fetal outcome.

Aim: To investigate the claim that NVP protects against adverse fetal outcomes and improves placental and fetal growth.

Methods: Data were collected on a prospective cohort of 849 Ecuadorian prenatal patients beginning in early gestation until postpartum. A questionnaire collected information on NVP and other maternal characteristics. Fetal outcomes and placental characteristics were examined using anthropometry and physical examination. Multivariate statistical methods controlled for potential confounders.

Results: Women with nausea only (AOR=0.45; 95% CI=0.22–0.94) or nausea with vomiting (AOR=0.66; 95% CI=0.46–0.99) had significantly decreased miscarriage risk although the strength of the protection appeared less than that reported for other populations. NVP was not associated with low birth weight, preterm delivery, congenital anomaly, or other outcomes excepting slightly increased mean infant thigh skinfold (P=0.024), mid-upper arm circumference (P=0.049), and placental weight (P=0.034).

Conclusions: The data did not support the common belief that NVP protects against multiple adverse outcomes. Placental weight was slightly increased in women with NVP but this difference was not reflected in higher birth weights or other types of fetal growth except of marginally increased limb fat.

Keywords: Fetal growth; miscarriage; morning sickness; pregnancy outcome

About the article

Corresponding author: Dr. M. Margaret Weigel, PhD University of Texas at El Paso Department of Health Promotion College of Health Sciences 1101 North Campbell Street El Paso, 79902-0581 Texas/USA Tel.: 1-(915)-747-8308 Fax: 1-(915)-747-7207

Received: August 9, 2005

Accepted: November 14, 2005

Published Online: 2006-03-07

Published in Print: 2006-04-01

Citation Information: Journal of Perinatal Medicine, Volume 34, Issue 2, Pages 115–122, ISSN (Online) 1619-3997, ISSN (Print) 0300-5577, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/JPM.2006.021.

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