News and reviews > Latest News > Latest pregnancy news > Morning sickness seen as protective mechanism

Morning sickness seen as protective mechanism

New research has led doctors to believe morning sickness acts to protect both mother and unborn child
For many years the precise reason for morning sickness in pregnant women has eluded doctors. However new research carried out in the US suggests that it may actually protect both mother and unborn child.

Previous theories on the reason for morning sickness proposed that it was either a reaction to the mother and child sharing nutrients or that it assists in healthy pregnancies.

However, biologists and authors of the new study Samuel Flaxman, and Paul Sherman point out that other mammals do not experience the same phenomenon and therefore discount the nutrients sharing theory and many women do not experience morning sickness at all and still give birth to healthy babies so discount the second theory.

The two researchers believe that morning sickness is in fact a natural method to protect mothers and their developing foetuses from any dangers that the body senses as it often occurs is when a women smells, tastes, or sees certain foods such as meats and vegetables, along with alcohol and smoke from cigarettes.

They highlight the fact morning sickness is often triggered when food is eaten that contains harmful pesticides or when alcohol is taken in by the mother.

Dr Flaxman told LiveScience: "To say that morning sickness is uncomfortable is a real understatement, and a lot of people are looking at ways to deal with it. But if nausea and vomiting truly serve a useful function, then one has to look more carefully at strategies for dealing with these symptoms."

Chat or Ask a Question:

If you have a question about this article or something else, visit our friendly forums & ask the AskBaby community.

Chat about morning sickness seen as protective mechanism with our friendly community...

Your Comments:

We'd love to hear your comments on this article...

Login to add your comment:

Email: Password:
Not yet a member? Join thousands of other parents and parents-to-be... Sign Up Now!
Forgot your

The one good thing about the truly awful morning (or all day, for that matter) sickness I've had in last 13 weeks has been that it has constantly reminded me that I'm pregnant and need to take care of myself.
by Dalkydalk 1st Nov 2010, 9:05am
I think it may be due to a change in hormones/blood pressure. Otherwise why would it happen first thing in the morning to a non smoker who doesn't drink and hadn't eaten since 7pm the night before. I was really ill with my 1st, only mildly ill this time round so am assuming my body is coping better this time round.
by Rarasully 11th Oct 2010, 9:03am
I'm 8 weeks pregnant and haven't had any sickness at all, felt silight nausea afew times. When my sister was pregnant with a girl she was absolutely fine, no morning sickness whatsoever, but a very different story when pregnant with a boy. So it could be related to the sex of the baby....
by 2x2 14th Sep 2010, 9:53am
I am 11 weeks pregnant and he dotor prescribed Vomifem for me. It actually helps a lot!
by Louisa1985 14th May 2010, 5:41pm
to mcleod.... hi i've experienced exactly the same as you. this is my third pregnancy and my first two (girl and boy) i was not really sick at all compared to this. i'm now 11/12 weeks and the nausea has turned into feeling sick whenever i'm hungry and if i don't eat something quick, i'm then ill! and that something has to be something i fancy.
by Mummyellie 11th Jan 2010, 3:21pm
im 7 weeks pregnant and eperienced nausea for a few weeks now and the past week i cant seem to keep a great deal down i feel tired because of it this is my third child and never experienced any of this with my son or daughter.anyone else experiencing this?
by mcleod 14th Dec 2009, 10:07am
I m 7 weeks pregnant and already experiencing morning sickness, infact it is all day sickness bec I feel nausea throughout the day. This is my 3rd baby and I felt exactly the same during my otherpregnancies. I have 2 girls. Do you think that morning sickness is related to the sex of the baby?? I have friends who have boys and didnt experience any morning sickness!! Mariel
by girlboy 28th Aug 2009, 8:25am
i'm 36 weeks pregnant and havn't suffered any sickness only slight nausea once or twice, my theory is that you repell what the baby has enough of and crave what the baby is lacking in, although this 'sickness is protection' theory baffles me slightly, doesn't the placenta naturally repel illness and things that could potencially harm the baby? mabe i've just missed something though, still, if there's any new info on pelvic/lower back pain i'm highly interested! agony is the key word! xx
by weespro21 24th Jun 2009, 9:59am
this is nalini, i am perganent but for me there is no morning sickness pls tell me this is happen for anybody
by nalini 2nd Feb 2009, 10:49am
I wonder what I'm protecting myself from when I haven't even got out of bed in the morning, unless I've developed a reaction to my OH!!
by Vanessa606 1st Dec 2008, 9:28am