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Back away from the Benadryl, mama. When morning sickness gets bad, a lot of women reach for allergy medication to help them sleep through the nausea. New research from the University of California, Los Angeles says moms should find another way to deal. Those who took antihistamines to get through morning sickness had higher occurrences of premature babies or babies with low birth weights. This is the first study to make that connection.

Over six years, researchers followed 254 women with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), the same debilitating morning sickness that landed Dutchess Kate Middleton in the hospital. HG can make some women so sick, they need to be hospitalized for dehydration or even cracked ribs and torn esophagi from constant violent vomiting. There is no known cause for HG, though doctors do know between 0.2 and 2 percent of women struggle with the condition during their pregnancies. The HG patients were compared to 308 women who had mild or no morning sickness at all. The study observed the effects of treatments women with HG used.

Many women resorted to allergy medication to help them sleep through the night. Doctors were surprised to find that women who used antihistamines like those found in over-the-counter allergy medications like Benadryl and Unisom were more likely to experience negative birth outcomes. Further, the medicine didn’t actually do much to alleviate symptoms of HG. The study’s offers continue to study HG to discover possible treatments and the effects of HG on children later in life. Until a treatment is developed, doctors encourage mothers to be careful about what they put in their bodies.

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