Researchers behind a new study are calling for a change to the term “morning sickness,” after finding that nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy can occur at any time during the day.
Led by researchers at the University of Warwick, the new study looked at 256 pregnant women who were asked to keep a diary recording their symptoms of nausea and vomiting for every hour in the day, from the day they found out they were pregnant until the 60th day of their pregnancy.
The researchers then used the diary entries to calculate the chance of experiencing these symptoms at each hour throughout the day.
The findings, published in the British Journal of General Practice, showed that 94.2 percent of participants experienced at least one of the two symptoms during the study, and 58 percent experienced both.
The team also found that although vomiting and nausea were more common in the morning, particularly between 9 am and 10 am when 82 percent of women felt nauseous and 29 percent experienced vomiting, the women were also highly likely to experience the symptoms throughout the daytime. In fact, despite the term “morning sickness,” many women reported that they still experienced vomiting even into the evening.
The results also showed that the later the week of the pregnancy, the higher the chance of experiencing symptoms, with the probability of experiencing nausea at its highest in weeks five, six and seven, while vomiting was at its highest in week seven. However, as the researchers only looked at the first seven weeks of pregnancy they cannot comment on the likelihood of having these symptoms after that point.
The researchers are now calling for a change to the name “morning sickness” to describe these common pregnancy sickness symptoms.
“Morning sickness is widely used by the general public, media and even healthcare professionals but it doesn’t give an accurate description of the condition,” said researcher Professor Roger Gadsby. “If a pregnant woman experiences sickness in the afternoon she may feel that this is unusual and wrong, or if she experiences no vomiting but feels nauseated all day she might think she is not covered by the term ‘morning sickness.’ And those women who experience severe symptoms feel it trivializes the condition.”
“Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) can have a significant negative impact on the lives of sufferers,” continued Prof Gadsby. “It can cause feelings of depression, of being unable to look after the family, and of loss of time from paid work. Very severe NVP called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is the commonest cause of admission to hospital in the first trimester of pregnancy.”
“The continued use of the term ‘morning sickness’ could imply that symptoms only rarely occur in the afternoon and evening so that sufferers will have significant parts of the day symptom-free. This study shows that this is an incorrect assumption and that symptoms, particularly nausea, can occur at any time of the day,” concluded the researchers.