Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy is Highly Heritable

Abstract

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) affects about 70 % of all expectant mothers and commonly impacts their physical health and psychosocial functioning. The aim of this study was to estimate the heritability of the presence, duration and severity of NVP. The sample consisted of 1723 women (M age = 41.78, SD = 11.67) including twins in both complete and incomplete pairs and their sisters from two cohorts participating in the NVP Genetics Consortium. The sample comprised 159 monozygotic and 140 dizygotic complete twin pairs, and 69 twin-sister pairs. We applied an extended twin design using OpenMx and Mx for secondary analysis. Individual differences in NVP were best explained by additive genetic and unique environmental effects. Heritability estimates were 73 % (95 % CIs = 57–84 %) for presence, 51 % (95 % CIs = 36–63 %) for duration and 53 % (95 % CIs = 38–65 %) for severity of NVP. The genetic correlation between duration and severity was almost perfect. Our results show that genes play an important role in different aspects of NVP and justify the importance of searching for genetic variants.

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Acknowledgments

The GSA group is grateful to the twins and siblings of twins for their participation. We are indebted all GSA staff, past and present. MTR is grateful to the twins for their participation in the Murcia Twin Registry. We are grateful to Nicholas G. Martin for his comments on previous versions of this work and to Baptiste Couvy-Duchesne for his support in the data analyses.

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Correspondence to Lucía Colodro-Conde.

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Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. Data collections were approved by the relevant Ethics Committees in each of the participant institutions (Ethics Committee of the Åbo Akademi University and Committee of Research Ethics of the University of Murcia) and follow the relevant national regulations regarding data protection. The Helsinki Declaration, as well as applicable institutional and governmental regulations concerning the ethical use of human volunteers, were followed during all the phases of this research.

Funding

The GSA data collection was funded by The Academy of Finland [Grant Number 138291]. The MTR is funded by Fundación Séneca - Agencia de Ciencia y Tecnología de la Región de Murcia, Murcia, Spain [08633/PHCS/08, 15302/PHCS/10] and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation [Grant Numbers PSI2009–11560]. The NVP Genetics Consortium is supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council [Grant Number APP1084325]. This work was also supported by Fundación Séneca - Agencia de Ciencia y Tecnología de la Región de Murcia, Murcia, Spain [19151/PD/13 to L.C.C.] and by The Academy of Finland [284385, 274521 to P.J.].

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Edited by Yoon-Mi Hur

Appendix: Questionnaire

Appendix: Questionnaire

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Colodro-Conde, L., Jern, P., Johansson, A. et al. Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy is Highly Heritable. Behav Genet 46, 481–491 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-016-9781-7

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Keywords

  • Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
  • Morning sickness
  • Twin study
  • Heritability
  • Women’s health
  • NVP Genetics Consortium