Breakthrough Discovery: Hormones Responsible for Severe Pregnancy Sickness Unveiled

Scientists claim a significant advancement in understanding hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), an extreme form of pregnancy sickness affecting one to three in 100 pregnancies. The breakthrough reveals that babies produce a hormone, GDF15, which can induce severe sickness, paving the way for potential preventive measures.

Key Findings:

GDF15 Hormone Impact: The study, led by Prof. Sir Stephen O’Rahilly from the University of Cambridge, suggests that the degree of sickness in mothers is linked to the amount of GDF15 produced in the womb.

Sensitive Reactions: Mothers more sensitive to the GDF-15 hormone experience heightened sickness during pregnancy.

Potential Treatment: The research identifies exposure to GDF15 before pregnancy as a potential treatment avenue. Blocking the hormone from reaching a specific brain receptor in the mother offers a potential, safe treatment for HG.

HG’s Devastating Impact:

HG poses serious threats to both mother and foetus, with potential dehydration requiring ospitalization.

Women experiencing HG may endure up to 50 bouts of sickness daily, impacting their daily lives and well-being.

Notably, high-profile figures like the late Princess of Wales faced HG during pregnancies, drawing attention to the condition.

Personal Stories:

Susie Verrill: The mother-of-three recounts her traumatic HG experience, highlighting the consideration of termination due to the severity of symptoms.

Vivienne Kumar: A mother from Bedford describes HG as debilitating, revealing the profound impact it had on her daily life and emotional well-being.

Blocking hormone access to a specific brain receptor presents a potential and safe treatment for HG in pregnant women.

Hope for the Future:

The research offers hope for effective preventive measures and treatments for HG.

Prof. Sir Stephen O’Rahilly underscores the importance of this discovery in guiding efforts to prevent extreme pregnancy sickness.

Therefore, the identification of the GDF15 hormone’s role in hyperemesis gravidarum marks a significant step towards understanding and addressing this challenging condition, potentially transforming the lives of pregnant women who experience severe sickness.

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