Dietary and clinical impacts of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2010 Feb;23(1):69-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2009.01019.x. Epub 2009 Nov 23.


Background: Nutrition during pregnancy is important for the health of both mother and infant. Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) may alter food intake but the dietary and clinical consequences of NVP are poorly understood. The present study aimed to identify the differences in dietary intakes and clinical characteristics of women with NVP compared with those without.

Methods: Women with (n = 134) or without (n = 53) NVP were studied in each trimester of pregnancy. The babies were studied at birth, and at 1 and 6 months. The presence of nausea and vomiting was established by interviews using standard questions. Daily intakes of foods and nutrients were assessed from 3-day food diaries. Weight gain during pregnancy and weights and lengths of the infants at birth and at 1 and 6 months of age were recorded.

Results: In the first trimester, intake of meat products and thus protein in women with NVP was lower both quantitatively (P = 0.007) and as a proportion of energy (16.4E% [interquartile range (IQR) 14.9-18.4]) compared to non-NVP [18.3E% (IQR 16.3-19.8), P = 0.003]. The proportional intakes of carbohydrates were higher in NVP subjects [50.1E% (IQR 46.7-53.6)] than in non-NVP [46.8E% (IQR 43.6-51.9), P = 0.008]. Dietary and total intakes of vitamin B(12), total intake of magnesium and dietary intake of zinc were lower in women with NVP. Changes in diet remained throughout pregnancy. Women with NVP had shorter pregnancies [39.9 (95% CI 39.6-40.1)] compared with those without [40.4 (95% CI 40.1-40.8) weeks, P = 0.018], but neither pregnancy weight gain nor infants' weight and length differed.

Conclusions: Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy modified dietary intake and has potential clinical impacts as suggested by the altered pregnancy duration. In view of the programming effect of early nutrition, these alterations may carry long-term health consequences.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Body Size
  • Deficiency Diseases / etiology
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn*
  • Meat Products
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Morning Sickness* / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Pregnancy*
  • Weight Gain
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Micronutrients