Approximately 60,000 pregnant women are hospitalized each year due to hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), an extreme form of nausea and vomiting that endangers their lives and often forces them to reluctantly terminate their pregnancies.
And for women with sisters, mothers and grandmothers on either side of the family who have experienced extreme morning sickness during pregnancy, the risk of HG may be heightened, according to a new study led by researchers from UCLA and the University of Southern California.
Researchers traced both the maternal and paternal family histories of women with HG and found not only that the condition could be genetic but that women with sisters who had HG could have a more than 17-fold risk of experiencing the debilitating condition too.
The findings are published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
"Pregnant women with a family history of extreme nausea in pregnancy should be aware that they may have it too, and health care providers should take a family history of nausea in pregnancy at the first visit with an obstetrician," said lead author Marlena Fejzo, an assistant professor of hematologyoncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and an assistant professor of maternal and fetal medicine at Keck School of Medicine of USC. "The high familial prevalence strongly suggests a genetic component to this condition."
Researchers surveyed about 650 participants for the joint study on the genetics and epidemiology of HG. Women who had been diagnosed with HG and treated with IV fluids were asked to recruit, as a control, a friend who had at least two pregnancies lasting more than 27 weeks and who had not had HG. The researchers then compared the family histories of extreme nausea in the women with HG with those of the controls. Of the 650 participants, 207 women with HG and 110 controls had at least one sister who had been pregnant.
|Contact: Enrique Rivero|
University of California - Los Angeles