'Morning Sickness' Can Strike At Any Time. Just Ask A Pregnant Woman

Researchers have called for the use of “nausea and vomiting in pregnancy” – or NVP –instead.
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When you’re pregnant, you can be bent over the loo with nausea and sickness at any time of day, which is why researchers have described the phrase “morning sickness” as “misleading” – and called for change.

The scientists, from the University of Warwick, suggest we scrap the phrase altogether and instead refer to “nausea and vomiting in pregnancy” or NVP.

The researchers call for the change in a study published in the British Journal of General Practice, which is the first research to analyse the likelihood of these symptoms occurring at different times of the day.

The study shows that while the most likely time for pregnancy sickness to occur is in the morning, a significant number of women can experience symptoms at any time of the day.

The researchers used data from daily symptom diaries kept by 256 pregnant women to gather their results.

While vomiting was most common between the hours of 7am and 1pm, nausea was common throughout the day and many pregnant women report vomiting as a symptom even into the evening. The most common hour for participants to experience nausea and vomiting was between 9am and 10am – 82% experiencing nausea and 29% vomiting at this time.

“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 Professor Roger Gadsby from Warwick Medical School.

“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 trivialises the condition.

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) can have a significant negative impact on the lives of sufferers, Professor Gadsby added. “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 is the commonest cause of admission to hospital in the first trimester of pregnancy.”

It is estimated that the annual costs of managing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy to the NHS in England and Wales are around £62m.

The study authors said: “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.”