Nausea, vomiting takes a toll on pregnant women

The presence of early pregnancy nausea and vomiting, and the severity of these symptoms, may exert a significant negative impact on a woman’s health-related quality of life, a study shows.

It is important to report early pregnancy nausea and vomiting to physicians, and for physicians to treat these symptoms of early pregnancy, Dr. Anick Bérard told Reuters Health.

Bérard, of the University of Montreal, in Quebec, Canada, and colleagues assessed the physical and mental impact of nausea and vomiting among 367 women receiving prenatal care at two hospital clinics between 2004 and 2006. The women were no more than 16 weeks pregnant at the time of their first prenatal visit.

During the first three months of pregnancy, 78.5 percent of the women reported nausea and vomiting (about 52 percent mild, 45 percent moderate, and 3 percent severe), the investigators report in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

As expected, average physical and mental quality of life measures were significantly lower among women reporting nausea and vomiting compared with women not experiencing these symptoms. The investigators also found lower quality of life among women with more severe symptoms and those who used non-drug methods for nausea and vomiting relief.

Early pregnancy exercise was associated with higher mental health-related quality of life and older age with lower physical health-related quality of life.

The investigators call for further research of early pregnancy nausea and vomiting, and studies to specifically evaluate measures for early management of these symptoms.

SOURCE: BJOG, November 2008.

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