Recurrence of hyperemesis gravidarum across generations: population based cohort study

BMJ. 2010 Apr 29;340:c2050. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c2050.


Objective: To estimate the risk of hyperemesis gravidarum (hyperemesis) according to whether the daughters and sons under study were born after pregnancies complicated by hyperemesis.

Design: Population based cohort study.

Setting: Registry data from Norway.

Participants: Linked generational data from the medical birth registry of Norway (1967-2006): 544 087 units of mother and childbearing daughter and 399 777 units of mother and child producing son.

Main outcome measure: Hyperemesis in daughters in mother and childbearing daughter units and hyperemesis in female partners of sons in mother and child producing son units.

Results: Daughters who were born after a pregnancy complicated by hyperemesis had a 3% risk of having hyperemesis in their own pregnancy, while women who were born after an unaffected pregnancy had a risk of 1.1% (unadjusted odds ratio 2.9, 95% confidence interval 2.4 to 3.6). Female partners of sons who were born after pregnancies complicated by hyperemesis had a risk of 1.2% (1.0, 0.7 to 1.6). Daughters born after a pregnancy not complicated by hyperemesis had an increased risk of the condition if the mother had hyperemesis in a previous or subsequent pregnancy (3.2 (1.6 to 6.4) if hyperemesis had occurred in one of the mother's previous pregnancies and 3.7 (1.5 to 9.1) if it had occurred in a later pregnancy). Adjustment for maternal age at childbirth, period of birth, and parity did not change the estimates. Restrictions to firstborns did not influence the results.

Conclusions: Hyperemesis gravidarum is more strongly influenced by the maternal genotype than the fetal genotype, though environmental influences along the maternal line cannot be excluded as contributing factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum / genetics*
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Norway
  • Pedigree
  • Pregnancy
  • Recurrence
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult