Nausea and vomiting that often accompany pregnancy are certainly not pleasant—but queasy moms might actually give birth to smarter babies, according to a new study from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Morning sickness, which affects about 80 per cent of expectant mothers, actually enhances a child’s long-term neurodevelopment, according to researchers at SickKids’ Motherisk Program. In the study, the first of its kind, 121 women were recruited and split into three groups of mother-child pairs: moms who had morning sickness and were treated with anti-nausea drug diclectin; those who had morning sickness, but didn’t take diclectin; and those who didn’t have morning sickness. Their children aged three to seven were then assessed, with controls over variables including moms’ alcohol consumption and socioeconomic status. Children of women with morning sickness scored higher on performance IQ, verbal fluency, phonological processing and numerical memory. Severity of morning sickness was a significant predictor of higher scores. Although morning sickness is a common condition, it has “yet to be sufficiently studied,” says Dr. Irena Nulman, lead author of the study and associated director of the Motherisk Program, adding that more research into the condition is needed. The study will appear in the April 23 online edition of The Journal of Pediatrics.