Scientists Have Found A Solution To Morning Sickness And Vomiting In Pregnant Women
Date: December 14, 2023
Pregnant women enduring severe morning sickness, known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), may find relief soon, thanks to a groundbreaking study by scientists from Cambridge University, Scotland, America, and Sri Lanka.
Understanding the Culprit: GDF15 Hormone
Researchers have identified a hormone, GDF15, responsible for triggering extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. This hormone affects a small part of the brain, intensifying discomfort and prompting frequent vomiting, sometimes up to 50 times a day in hypersensitive individuals.
Professor Stephen O’Rahilly of Cambridge University highlights the significance of a mother’s sensitivity to GDF15, stating, “The more sensitive the mother is to this hormone, the more sick she can be.” This newfound knowledge opens avenues for potential preventive measures.
Impact on Pregnancy Health
The study reveals that low pre-pregnancy levels of GDF15 make women more susceptible to severe symptoms during the first trimester. HG can lead to complications such as dehydration, weakness, mental stress, and vitamin deficiencies, affecting not only the mother but also posing a threat to the life of the fetus.
Personal Struggles and Urgent Need for Solutions
Women affected by HG, like Susie Wirral and Vivian Kumar, share their harrowing experiences. Susie considered abortion due to the intensity of her symptoms, while Vivian, who faced 10 episodes an hour, emphasizes that HG is not just morning sickness—it lingers and profoundly impacts daily life.
Vivian Kumar expresses gratitude for the support of her husband and mother, acknowledging that without them, she might not have had the courage to persevere.
Towards a Solution: Blocking GDF15 Hormone Receptor
The researchers propose blocking the specific receptor in the mother’s brain where the GDF15 hormone acts as a potential treatment for HG. This targeted approach could offer a safe and effective solution to alleviate the disorder.
Overlooked Problem and Call for Attention
HG has long been neglected as a health problem, according to Charlotte Howden, CEO of Pregnancy Skin Support, a charity aiding women affected by HG. She appreciates the dedication of researchers, emphasizing the need to address this issue that has been overlooked for too long.
Practical Advice for Pregnant Women
Dr. Farisa Waqar, a gynecologist in Islamabad, recommends that pregnant women suffering from morning sickness use medication or try ginger to alleviate symptoms. Importantly, she advises against delaying breakfast, emphasizing the importance of waking up early, having a meal, and then resting if needed.
As scientists delve deeper into understanding the relationship between GDF15 and hyperemesis gravidarum, there is newfound hope for developing targeted interventions to alleviate the suffering of pregnant women facing severe morning sickness.