Is nausea during pregnancy a good sign?
Answer From Mary Marnach, M.D.
Nausea during pregnancy, also called morning sickness, might be a good sign. Studies have shown that women with nausea and vomiting during the first trimester have a lower risk of miscarriage than do women without these symptoms.
What's the connection? It's possible that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy indicate you are experiencing the climb in hormones needed for a healthy pregnancy.
Research suggests that nausea and vomiting in pregnancy might be due to the effects of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Pregnant women begin producing HCG shortly after a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining. Women with severe morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum) have higher HCG levels than other pregnant women do. In addition, women pregnant with multiples, who are more likely to experience morning sickness, also have higher HCG levels. Similarly, estrogen, another hormone that increases during pregnancy, is associated with an increase in the severity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
However, high pregnancy hormone levels aren't consistently associated with nausea and vomiting.
It's also possible that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are signs of viable placental tissue.
Keep in mind, however, that a lack of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy isn't cause for concern. Some women with healthy pregnancies never experience morning sickness.
May 24, 2019
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 189: Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2018;131:e15.
- Smith JA, et al. Treatment and outcome of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 1, 2019.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Months 1 and 2. In: Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2016.
- Hinkle SN, et al. Association of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy with pregnancy loss: A secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2016;176:1621.
- Smith JA, et al. Clinical features and evaluation of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 1, 2019.