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Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is an extreme form of morning sickness marked by excessive vomiting, dehydration, and weight loss during pregnancy. Each year tens of thousands of women in the US alone suffer from HG and its debilitating effects. A joint study by UCLA and the University of Southern California in 2011, however, shows that pregnant women are not the only victims from this terrible pregnancy complication.
The article was published in the August 2011 issue of the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.
A summary of the findings is as follows:
16 percent of children who were exposed to HG in utero had depression, compared to 3 percent in the non-exposed group.
8 percent of the exposed children were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, compared to 2 percent in the non-exposed group.
7 percent of the exposed group suffered from anxiety in adulthood, compared to 2 percent in the non-exposed group.
Overall, the adults who were exposed to HG in utero were significantly more likely to have a psychological and/or behavioral disorder than non-exposed adults.
The researchers linked the issues of the now grown adults to their mothers’ prolonged malnutrition and dehydration during fetal brain development. As is widely known, the first trimester is absolutely critical in the long term development of offspring.
The fourfold higher risk for lifelong neurobehavioral disorders is startling, and it further underlines the importance of treating HG for the continued health of the mother as well as the child.