Nausea, vomiting, a constant queasiness… pregnancy sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), can leave even the most enthusiastic mum-to-be feeling miserable. For years, the cause of this debilitating condition has remained a mystery, leaving women searching for answers and relief.
But new research has finally cracked the case, revealing a key player in the puzzle – and offering a glimmer of hope for future treatments.
What is GDF15
The culprit? A hormone called GDF15. Produced in abundance by the developing placenta, this little molecule might be why your stomach does somersaults. Scientists discovered that women with HG have higher levels of GDF15 in their blood, and the more you have, the worse the symptoms. But it’s not just the absolute amount that matters. Turns out, your individual sensitivity to GDF15 plays a starring role as well.
Think of it like this: GDF15 as a pesky alarm clock constantly blaring in your brain, telling you to stop eating. Some women have brains with built-in snooze buttons for this alarm, making them less affected by GDF15’s nausea-inducing tunes. Others, however, have super-sensitive ears, amplifying the alarm into a full-blown symphony of sickness.
Hope on the Horizon
The good news is, that this newfound understanding of GDF15 opens the door to possible treatment. Imagine being able to “snooze” that internal alarm before you even get pregnant, or gently turn down the volume during pregnancy itself. Researchers are now exploring ways to achieve this, offering a ray of hope for future mums battling HG.
While we haven’t reached the finish line yet, this breakthrough marks a significant leap forward in the fight against pregnancy sickness. Even though the nausea might feel overwhelming now, remember: understanding the cause is the first step towards finding a cure. With dedicated research and a lot of hope, that horizon of morning sickness relief might be closer than we think.
And in the meantime, remember you’re not alone. Sharing your experiences and seeking support from other expecting mothers can be a source of great strength and comfort during this challenging time. Our private Pregnancy Facebook Groups are filled with Aussie mums who are in the same boat. Come join us for some support and connection during this challenging time.