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April 17, 2014

Generational link found for hyperemesis gravidarum

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Women whose mother suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum are three times more likely to suffer from the extremely serious and severe form of morning sickness, Norwegian researchers have found. The team from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health noted that hyperemesis was previously thought to be caused by psychological issues, “such as an unconscious rejection of the child or partner.”
Against that background, the researchers investigated the records of 2.3 million births from 1967-2006.


The authors studied hyperemesis gravidarum patterns in more than 500,000 mother-and-daughter units and almost 400,000 mother-and-son units.
The results showed that if a mother had hyperemesis, her daughter was three times more likely to develop the condition. However, there was no increased risk to the female partners of sons whose mothers had suffered from the illness.
From their findings, the researchers concludes that the study provided a new perspective about the causes of hyperemesis and “a better understanding of the psychological consequences of experiencing severe nausea and vomiting could be helpful for clinicians who treat and counsel women with hyperemesis gravidarum.”
They added that “it is possible that the risk is caused by environmental factors that are shared by mothers and daughters.”
BMJ Online, available at http://www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.c2050 and http://www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.c2178