RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Maternal susceptibility to nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: is the vestibular system involved?

Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy shares many characteristics with motion sickness, a vestibular dependent phenomenon. A number of physiologic changes that occur in normal pregnancy are also known to accompany nausea and vomiting in patients with motion sickness and certain vestibular disorders. This chapter summarizes some shared features of both phenomena. The unmasking of subclinical vestibular disorders may account for some cases of hyperemesis gravidarum. Hormonal effects on neurotransmitter function may also play a role in nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and in some vestibular disorders; however, the specific neural mechanisms of nausea and vomiting have not been identified. Until the neurochemical processes underlying these phenomena are understood, prevention and management will remain in the domain of astute, but so far limited, clinical observation.

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