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Trends & Times

The Upside Of Morning Sickness

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Dr. Koren: I am Dr. Gideon Koren, and I am director of the mothers program in Toronto and a professor at the University of Toronto. 

Ditmire: Dr Koren and his colleagues see up to 200 pregnant women each day. 

Dr. Koren: About 80 percent of women have morning sickness.

Ditmire: Which is usually nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite that during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Dr. Koren: Very typically morning sickness finish by 12 or 13 weeks and many people say to women: you know it will go away. This is another error because many times it continues… estimated 25 percent of women will suffer even beyond 16 weeks and as I’ve said the minority will suffer up till the time of birth.

Ditmire: Dr. Koren wanted to find some silver lining in those symptoms so… 


Dr. Koren: We found studies from all over the world, from Britain to Italy to Sweden to Canada and the United States. And they show that if you put it all together the women with morning sickness have less miscarriages they lose less of their pregnancies. To miscarriage quite importantly they have less malformations.

Ditmire: Dr. Koren suspects hormone levels have something to do with it. 


Dr. Koren: Women with morning sickness severe enough to go to whole pregnancy report that only when the placenta is delivered and leaves the body, symptoms go away within seconds to minutes. It suggests that it  all has to do with hormones secreted by the placenta.

Ditmire: This good news combined with safe available prescriptions might help ease that sour state of mind or stomach.


Dr. Koren: There are several medication groups that have shown to be safe during pregnancy....In Canada, there's a medication called diclectin. In the United States, approved by the FDA, is called Diclegis. These are safe drugs taken by many women. They will take away the morning sickness. And it will not do any harm to the baby


Ditmire: Should a woman be concerned if she does not have morning sickness?

Dr. Koren: No, I should say that all of the babies did well. I do not believe there is a reason for women who do not have morning sickness as to be concerned. We use it more on the flip side, telling women that if you have morning sickness there will be some light at the end of the tunnel.