For expectant mothers who suffer from morning sickness, there may be rewards beyond the bundles of wiggling joy to make up for gut-churning gestations.
A new study out of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children found babies whose mothers experienced morning sickness later tested a few IQ points higher than the children of kids whose mothers had nauseous-free pregnancies.
“In a very popular way it kind of says that this suffering is for a good cause,” said Dr. Gideon Koren, a top Sick Kids pediatrician and the senior study author. “So it’s very reassuring to know that your severe experience right now is likely to have a good outcome.”
Indeed, Koren says, the worse the morning sickness in the mothers, the more pronounced the child’s intelligence boost became.
“More severe morning sickness as we measure the symptoms predicted better brain development,” said Koren, who heads the hospital’s popular Motherisk program.
The Sick Kids study, which was published in the Journal of Pediatrics, looked at 121 women who were divided about equally into three groups.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research scientist Anick Berard had some halting praise for the study, but took issue with its small sample size and key IQ conclusion.
“I think, first of all, it’s a beautiful study, I will not say otherwise,” said Berard, a University of Montreal pharmacology and pregnancy expert.
“I think (however) it has limitations and I think the conclusions are stretching it a little bit to my taste,” she said.
Study children, who came from both Canada and the U.S., were brought to Sick Kids for IQ testing.