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Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: Blooming or bloomin’ awful? A review of the literature

Wood, Heather; McKellar, Lois V.; Lightbody, Margaret


Heather Wood

Margaret Lightbody


Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) is a normal, commonly experienced affliction of early pregnancy. Despite this, its impact on women's lives is not necessarily minimal. For some women, the implications of NVP are substantial with multi-faceted effects, hindering their ability to maintain usual life activities, and particularly their ability to work. In an effort to understand the effect of NVP, several researchers have developed NVP measurement tools, which enable an understanding of NVP's effect on quality of life (QOL).

This paper seeks to provide a review of the literature to explore the impact of NVP on women's quality of life, particularly their ability to maintain social and professional commitments.

Medline, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Ebsco, Science Direct, Health Source, Academic Search Premiere, Cochrane databases were extensively searched using Boolean operators with various combinations of relevant terms: nausea, vomiting, pregnancy, emesis, quality of life, QOL, NVPQOL, PUQE, SF-12, SF-36 and limited to those published from 1999 onwards. Papers were scrutinised to include those discussing the impact of normal NVP on women's lives, particularly their QOL with careful exclusion of those addressing hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

NVP has a significant effect on women's QOL and therefore their ability to maintain day-to-day activities as well as work capacity. This has implications for the woman, her partner, her family and her employers.

It is important that all maternity care workers consider the impact of NVP on the woman's QOL and that care is given not to minimise this experience. Further research is warranted which considers ways in which women can best manage this experience in relation to social and professional commitments. Given the authors were able to identify only one Australian study in this area, published in 2000 and utilising non-NVP specific QOL measurement tools, there exists scope for additional local studies using NVP-specific QOL tools to determine the impact of QOL for Australian women and therefore Australian society.


Wood, H., McKellar, L. V., & Lightbody, M. (2013). Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: Blooming or bloomin’ awful? A review of the literature. Women and Birth, 26(2), 100-104.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 2, 2012
Online Publication Date Nov 28, 2012
Publication Date 2013-06
Deposit Date Sep 14, 2022
Journal Women and Birth
Print ISSN 1871-5192
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 2
Pages 100-104
Keywords Nausea, Vomiting, Pregnancy, Quality of life
Public URL