Morning sickness: a mechanism for protecting mother and embryo

Quarterly Review of Biology Vol/Iss. 75(2) University of Chicago Press Published In Pages: 113-148
By Flaxman, Samuel M., Sherman, Paul W.


Pregnancy sickness is characterized by nausea, vomiting, and food aversions during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester. Previous work has asserted an adaptationist explanation for this phenomenon: pregnancy sickness protects the embryo from the toxic compounds found in many foods via expulsion (i.e., vomiting) of potentially dangerous foods and by encouraging aversions to foods likely to harbor toxins or pathogens. The authors reexamine 27 small-scale societies previously investigated by Minturn and Weiher (1984) for evidence of pregnancy sickness and food aversions in light of the fetal protection hypotheses.

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:erik.ringen