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A hormone produced by the fetus could explain nausea

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec18,2023

A hormone produced by the fetus could explain the nausea

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Up to seven in ten pregnant women are affected by nausea and vomiting.

Agence France-Presse

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A hormone produced by the fetus may be the cause of the nausea and vomiting that many women experience during pregnancy, a major discovery that could pave the way for treatments.

Up to seven in ten pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting. In some women – between one and three in 100 – these symptoms can be serious. This is called hyperemesis gravidarum and is the most common cause of hospital admission in women during the first three years. month of pregnancy.

Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William, suffered from it in particular during her three pregnancies.

According to the results of a study, recently published in the journal Nature (New window) (in English), involving scientists from the University of Cambridge and researchers from the ;Scotland, the United States and Sri Lanka, these ailments, serious or not, are caused by a hormone produced by the fetus – a protein known as GDF15.

To arrive at this observation, the researchers studied data from women recruited in a number of studies and used a combination of approaches: measurements of hormones in the blood of pregnant women, studies on cells and mouse.

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They showed that the intensity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is directly linked to the amount of GDF15 produced by the fetal part of the placenta and sent into the bloodstream as well as to sensitivity to #x27;effect of this hormone.

Notably, the team found that some women have a much higher genetic risk of hyperemesis gravidarum, associated with lower levels of the hormone in the blood and tissues outside of pregnancy. /p>

Similarly, women with an inherited blood disease, beta-thalassemia, which induces naturally very high levels of GDF15 before pregnancy, experience no or very little nausea or vomiting.

The baby growing in the womb produces a hormone at levels the mother is not used to. The more sensitive she is to this hormone, the sicker she will be, summarized Professor Stephen O'Rahilly, co-director of the Wellcome-Medical Research Council Institute of Metabolic Sciences at the University of Cambridge, #x27;one of the authors of the study.

This information gives us a clue as to how we might prevent this from happening, he continued.

Co-author Dr. Marlena Fejzo of the University of Southern California, whose team had previously discovered the genetic association between GDF15 and hyperemesis gravidarum, had suffered from this disease herself. When I was pregnant, I could barely move without being sick, she testified. I hope that now that we understand the cause, we are closer to developing effective treatments.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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