Morning sickness may be sign of a bright baby

SICK of morning sickness? Take heart: it may be a sign that your child is developing a high IQ.

Irena Nulman and colleagues at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, contacted 120 women who years earlier had called a morning sickness hotline. Thirty did not have morning sickness, but the researchers asked the rest to recall the severity of their sickness, and gave the children of all the women, now aged between 3 and 7, a standard intelligence test. Those whose mothers had nausea and vomiting during pregnancy were more likely to get high scores than those whose mothers did not (The Journal of Pediatrics, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.02.005). The reported severity of the vomiting also correlated with the IQ scores.

Morning sickness, which affects most pregnant women, is thought to be a reaction to the hormones human chorionic gonadotropin and thyroxine, which are secreted at unusually high levels during pregnancy to maintain a healthy placenta. Now Nulman speculates that these hormones, which are higher in women who experience morning sickness, may protect the fetus’s developing brain.

Her team found that taking the morning sickness drug Diclectin had no effect on the IQ scores.

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