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Exploring the Relationship Between Morning Sickness and Hormones


Morning sickness, a challenging aspect of pregnancy, may finally have a breakthrough solution thanks to new research that links it to a specific hormone. This finding has the potential to alleviate the significant economic burden associated with morning sickness, making it a win for women and the economy.

The Impact of Morning Sickness on Working Women

For countless women, the onset of morning sickness during the early stages of pregnancy can disrupt their workday. It is estimated that up to 70% of women experience nausea and vomiting in the first trimester. A smaller number of women suffer from a severe form of this condition called “hyperemesis gravidarum” (HG).

Identifying the Root Cause

A recent study conducted by the University of Southern California and the University of Cambridge has revealed that pregnant women’s sensitivity to a particular hormone produced by their unborn child is responsible for their nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. This breakthrough in understanding paves the way for future treatments for morning sickness.

The Costly Burden

A Positive Outlook

Finding effective treatments or potential cures for morning sickness and HG could have both immediate and long-term financial benefits. While it is challenging to quantify the exact economic impact of these conditions, Fejzo asserts that the implications for household finances and the overall economy could be tremendous.

The Economic Toll

One study from 2013 estimated that the economic cost of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy was over $1.7 billion in 2012. This calculation took into account expenses related to drug treatments, hospitalizations, and the lost time of both caregivers and workers. Adjusting for inflation, this amounts to approximately $2.2 billion in today’s dollars.

In conclusion, understanding the underlying causes of morning sickness and developing better treatments could relieve significant financial and personal burdens for women. This research marks an exciting step towards finding a solution to a problem that has been largely underestimated in its impact on women’s lives.

The Impact of Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

A 2013 study highlighted the significant impact that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can have on both women and their partners. According to the study, women with normal levels of these symptoms missed an average of 23 days of work, while their partners lost over three days on average. This doesn’t even take into account the potential loss of productivity while on the job.

Furthermore, the stakes are even higher for women experiencing Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), a severe form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Job loss due to HG is quite common for both women and their partners.

Exploring Potential Treatments for HG

In an effort to address this issue, researcher Fejzo is planning to conduct studies in the coming year focusing on potential treatments for HG. These studies will target patients currently experiencing this debilitating condition.

The Path Towards Improved Quality of Life

The findings of a recent study published in the medical journal “Nature” offer hope for future treatments that can enhance the quality of life for pregnant women both at home and in the workplace. Additionally, new federal laws have been put in place to protect pregnant women at work.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: A Step in the Right Direction

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which came into effect in June following its passage in December, solidifies legal protections for pregnant women. While previous laws already prohibited pregnancy-based discrimination and firing, this new act emphasizes that employers must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant women. These accommodations can include closer parking spots and flexibility in work schedules.

Dina Bakst, co-founder and co-president of A Better Balance, a legal advocacy organization instrumental in advocating for the law, underscored the importance of employers fulfilling their legal obligations. She emphasized that regardless of a cure for morning sickness, employers are still obligated to provide accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.

Bakst also highlighted the availability of a free legal helpline offered by the organization, where callers can seek assistance if they believe their employers are unfairly treating them due to morning sickness or related pregnancy issues.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has effectively put an end to the inhumane treatment of pregnant workers, Bakst added, providing much-needed protection and support.

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