For many, pregnancy and discomfort seem to go hand in hand – at least for a portion of the nine months. One of the biggest symptoms moms-to-be complain about is morning sickness. The nausea, fatigue, and vomiting often experienced in the first trimester can seem endless! Knowing it subsides in the second trimester can offer some encouragement, but there’s something else that might help part those dark clouds of queasiness. According to a studyconducted by researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, morning sickness signals a variety of positive outlooks for the unborn baby.

Compiling data from 850, 000 moms-to-be and 10 previous studies looking at the possible benefits of morning sickness, the study found many benefits to unborn babies. These benefits include lower incidents of birth defects, and a lower risk of miscarriage and premature birth. Read more about the findings here.

Dr. Gideon Koren, the study’s lead author, concludes in the journal of Reproductive Toxicology that “women with moderate to severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy often experience major negative impact on their health and quality of life. Our analysis indicates that reassuring these women that their severe symptoms may confer favourable fetal outcome in their unborn babies, is logical.”

These results in no way mean that no morning sickness signifies something wrong with the pregnancy or the baby. Rather, this information is meant to bring some positivity to women who have spent much of their pregnancies clutching toilet bowls and reaching for saltine crackers.

What other unfavourable pregnancy symptoms might also be signs of a good pregnancy? We’ve listed some of them below:

Sore, swollen breasts – When you’re pregnant, your breasts grow in size due to increased levels of progesterone and estrogen. This is a good thing because it means your breasts are making room for your developing milk ducts.

Increased urination – Frequent urination is an inconvenient side effect of pregnancy, but it’s a necessary one. The cause can be blamed on both the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) hormone and a growing uterus. Both are signs of a healthy pregnancy.

Food aversions – As with many pregnancy side effects, gagging at the sight of certain foods can be blamed on hormones. Sometimes, the body (with some hormonal help) knows what’s good and bad for you during pregnancy. This is why many women often find themselves steering away from foods like coffee, alcohol, and tuna to name a few.

Braxton Hicks contractionsBraxton Hicks contractions are sporadic uterine contractions that are usually harmless. They often begin as early as six weeks, but most women won’t notice them until mid to late pregnancy (if at all). Why do they occur? This is your body’s way of preparing for the real thing! Think of it as a dress rehearsal for show time. Normally lasting between 15 – 20 seconds, Braxton Hicks contractions are simply training your body for the day of real labour.

Heartburn – Feeling the effects of heartburn can be caused by the extra production of the hormone progesterone.  Progesterone helps to relax the muscles of the uterus as well as other muscles that can slow down digestion and allows stomach acids to be pushed up through the esophagus. Heartburn can also be blamed on the growing baby which may crowd the abdominal cavity and send stomach acids up to the esophagus. Here are some tips to alleviate heartburn.

While all of these pregnancy symptoms can mean a normal, positive pregnancy it’s important to seek the advice of your doctor or midwife if you have any questions or concerns.