Severe Morning Sickness During Pregnancy Associated With Higher Risk Of Autism In Child

woman sick over toilet

A rare type of morning sicknesses that lasts all through pregnancy has been linked to a higher rate of autism in babies. Hyperemesis gravidarum, which occurs in less than 5% of all pregnancies, is connected with autism risk, although scientists are not sure exactly how.

Most women suffer "morning sickness" during the first trimester of pregnancy. Not quite true to its name, nausea can strike at any time of day, and often all day long. However, it usually does not last all pregnancy long.

Regular morning sickness peaks around the twelfth week of pregnancy, and its silver lining is that it indicates a healthily progressing pregnancy. However, in some women nausea lasts much longer than the first third of the gestational period and it is extremely severe.

A rare condition called hyperemesis gravidarum causes terrible nausea throughout the whole pregnancy that prevents an expecting woman from keeping down adequate amounts of food and water. New research indicates a connection between hyperemesis gravidarum and babies born with autism.

READ MORE: Babies Born By C-Section Are '33 Percent More Likely To Develop Autism'

Close-up Of A Young Woman Vomiting In Toilet Bowl
Credit: iStock

A study conducted at Kaiser Permanente research and published in the American Journal of Perinatology suggests that women who suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum in pregnancy are at an increased risk of having a baby with autism.

According to the study's results, mothers diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum were 53% more likely to birth a child who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

The study also found that think link was more prominent when the mother was diagnosed with severe morning sickness in her first and second trimesters. For some reason, the link was weaker when she was diagnosed in her third trimester. Although this might seem to suggest that medication taken by the mother might have been the culprit, the study ruled out that possibility. There did not seem to be any connection between any medication taken for hyperemesis gravidarum and autism in the child.

Scientists hope to learn more about the link between this pregnancy condition and autism spectrum disorder.

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