How to understand the cause of pregnancy sickness

We think we have found a cause of pregnancy sickness, and it may lead to a treatment

Pregnancy sickness, also known as morning sickness, is a common condition experienced by many pregnant women. It is characterized by nausea and vomiting, typically occurring during the first trimester of pregnancy. While the exact cause of pregnancy sickness has remained elusive, recent research has provided new insights that may lead to a potential treatment.

The Role of Hormones

One of the leading theories regarding the cause of pregnancy sickness is the role of hormones, particularly human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen. These hormones are produced in large quantities during pregnancy and are believed to play a significant role in the development of pregnancy sickness.

Studies have shown that women with higher levels of hCG and estrogen are more likely to experience severe pregnancy sickness. Additionally, the timing of hormone surges aligns with the onset and peak of symptoms. This suggests a strong correlation between hormone levels and the occurrence of pregnancy sickness.

The Vomiting Center in the Brain

Another key finding in understanding the cause of pregnancy sickness is the involvement of the vomiting center in the brain. The vomiting center, located in the medulla oblongata, is responsible for triggering the reflexes that lead to nausea and vomiting.

Research has shown that certain hormones, including hCG and estrogen, can directly stimulate the vomiting center, leading to the characteristic symptoms of pregnancy sickness. This provides a physiological basis for the link between hormone levels and the onset of symptoms.

Potential Treatment Options

With the newfound understanding of the role of hormones and the vomiting center in pregnancy sickness, researchers are now exploring potential treatment options. One promising avenue is the development of medications that target the vomiting center and inhibit its activity.

By blocking the signals from hormones like hCG and estrogen, these medications could potentially alleviate the symptoms of pregnancy sickness. However, further research is needed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of such treatments.


The discovery of a potential cause of pregnancy sickness and the subsequent development of treatment options offer hope for pregnant women who suffer from this condition. While more research is required to fully understand the mechanisms involved and to develop safe and effective treatments, these findings represent a significant step forward in improving the well-being of pregnant women worldwide.