Morning Sickness Makes For Brighter Kids

That morning sickness you are dealing with may be cause to celebrate. Researchers at the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto say that morning sickness could make for brighter kids.
A new study appearing in The Journal of Pediatrics shows that that queasy feeling enhances children’s long-term neurodevelopment.

This is the first study that assesses the direct impact of morning sickness on children’s neurodevelopment. Past studies have suggested that there are benefits to morning sickness but the long-term effects for children had not been investigated before.

Sick Kids reports:

“Our findings suggest an association between NVP and improved neurodevelopment in the offspring,” says Dr. Irena Nulman, lead author of the study. “NVP is a widespread and puzzling physiological phenomenon that has yet to be sufficiently studied,” adds Nulman, Associate Director of the Motherisk Program, SickKids Associate Scientist and staff physician in SickKids Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Associate Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto.

The participants of the study were recruited using the Motherisk’s NVP hotline database. The researchers used 121 women who called the hotline from 1998 to 2003. The participants were spilt into three groups of mother-child pairs: mothers who experienced morning sickness and were treated with diclectin (a drug used to treat nausea and vomiting during pregnancy); those who experienced morning sickness and did not take diclectin; and those who did not experience morning sickness.

The children aged three to seven were then given standardized age-appropirate tests to measure their intelligence and behaviour. Other outside factors were figured into the study including mother’s IQ, number of cigarettes smoked per day, alcohol consumption and socioeconomic status.

The findings showed that all of the children in the three groups had normal ranges for neurodevelopmental outcome. What was surprising though was that children whose mothers had morning sickness scored higher on performance IQ, verbal fluency, phonological processing and numerical memory. The use of diclectin did not make a difference in the intelligence of the children. The severity of morning sickness did make a difference along with maternal IQ.

Sick Kids reports:

“The results from this study emphasize the need for further scientific investigation into the physiological basis of NVP, in order to provide safer management and more successful pregnancy outcomes in the future,” says Dr. Gideon Koren, principal investigator of the study, Director of the Motherisk Program, Senior Scientist at SickKids and Professor of Paediatrics, Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto.


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